If you were around during the classic era of flight simulation video games, you may remember how the flight simulator joystick was little more than two buttons on top of a control yoke. This was all it took to play games like X-Wing or Flight Commander, as one button usually controlled speed while the other controlled a weapon system, and your plane or starship could only go in one of four directions: up, down, left, and right. Today, the complexities of new flight simulations make joysticks far more complex. You can integrate joystick flight simulator controls within the keyboard of your computer, or even tie them to voice-activated software for even more hands-free operations. Some companies produce pedals in order to further free up valuable hand space for the controls.
Today’s Flight Simulator Joystick
Modern flight simulations are so precise that commercial and military pilots can train on them. Gone are the days of one-button operations: now a joystick may have half a dozen controls that all work in harmony. Controls that are even more complicated can be integrated into a complete flight yoke, similar to that of an actual aircraft. The choice between a joystick and a yoke comes down to personal preference: a joystick is more simplistic and comfortable, while the yoke is more realistic and comprehensive. You are capable of controlling pitch, yaw, trim, and throttle with a yoke, while a flight simulator joystick may only offer acceleration and deceleration.
Flight Simulator Joystick: Saitek Joystick
This is not to say that a joystick is easy to use. The radical new designs and options make it far from a simple choice. A Saitek joystick, for instance, is one of the most popular choices for gamers and flight enthusiasts due to the ability to use each control to a finely tuned response. The Saitek X52 Flight Control system is the most advanced flight system controller in the entire world, making it a must-have for diehards or training outfits that require the highest degree of realism. The throttle and stick of the Saitek X52 are actually two separate components, to be used in tandem as a real aircraft would. You can even combine this product with Saitek foot pedals to leave your fingers free for tasks that are more specific.
When looking for the best flight simulator joystick, think about whether you need a simple or complex rig. Some gamers prefer the old-school approach, but others need a modern and realistic feel, although the price of some advanced joysticks is considerable.