the Art HOTAS Systems
We're seeing flight combat simulators such as A-10 Warthog
and Ka-50 Black Shark push the
limits of realism and aircraft control. We've also seen the development of more
sophisticated H.O.T.A.S flight control systems to meet the need
for more sophisticated flight controls.
Pioneering manufacturers in the field included CH Products, Thrustmaster
and Suncom. They developed the first HOTAS (Hands On
Throttle and Stick )systems. Newer companies like Saitek have entered the game in
the last decade.
Some of the early controllers included the ThrustMaster FLCS
and the Cougar. CH has the Fighter Stick, Combat Stick and
the Pro Throttle combo. Suncom brought us the split throttle SFS
system. Saitek introduced the X36, X45 and the X52 as inexpensive HOTAS systems.
CH Products Fighter Stick and Pro
Today there is a selection of sophisticated top of the line controllers that
offer features only dreamed of by gamers a decade ago. These
controllers offer style, functionality and innovation to the
point of being nearly exact copies of the real systems used in
modern combat aircraft.
Below is a quick line up of the latest and greatest in the elite
group of advanced HOTAS systems.
One of the early contenders in the new breed of controllers is
the Thrustmaster Warthog.This unit is a replica of the A-10
Warthog aircraft HOTAS system. It offers features like toggle
switches mounted on the throttle, a lighted panel, removable
stick, a split throttle and a ton of programming options. Many
of the newer systems have based their design on these features and
more. Check out a video overview this HOTAS at
Logitech introduced the G940 system shortly after the
Thrustmaster Warthog was released. An interesting feature
included on this system is Force Feedback. The kit also includes
rudder pedals as well as the split throttle and lighted panels.
Here's a video overview at:
The Saitek X65F has many features of the Warthog including
the split throttle. The throttle also includes array of switches
which can be programmed to carry out an indefinite number of
functions. The ground breaking technology included in this stick
design is that the stick is force sensitive in that it doesn't
move. the stick reacts to the pressure applied to it just as the
stick does in the F-16 and f-22 combat aircraft. Here's a video
Saitek X-55 Rhino
The newest addition to this elite group of controllers is the
Saitek X-55 Rhino. Shipping of this new HOTAS system is expected
in April of 2014. Some of the innovations for this system
include separate sets of springs for stick feel. Hall sensors
are used in this stick as with the other sticks instead of
regular potentiometers. These pots work on a magnetic principal
and eliminate jitter and the need to replace or take the
potentiometers apart for cleaning as they age.
These are the top contenders for elite HOTAS systems currently
available. The prices reflect the status of these units but they
are still affordable for the serious simmer looking for ultimate
realism. Generally these units are made of metal instead of
plastic and should last a lifetime. They are adaptable to any
type situation. The feel and look of the units give pride in
Stat of the Art Flight
Flight yokes play a
major role in General Aviation in that almost all general
aviation aircraft use a yoke for flight control although there
some that use a center of side mounted stick.
There are several
relatively inexpensive yoke choices for the flight simmer with the three general choices
being the CH Pro Yoke, the CH Eclipse and the Saitek Pro Flight
or Pro Flight Cessna yoke.
CH Flight Sim Yoke
CH Eclipse Flight Sim Yoke
Saitek Pro Flight Yoke
Saitek Pro Flight
This elite class of
yokes offer realism and design that match their real life
counterparts. They're often constructed of metal and have
precision made parts that emulate the movements of the real yoke.
These yokes attempt the feel of the real aircraft yoke.
Most of these yokes feature metal casting and are made from
aluminum or other metals. They use ball bearings and metal
bushing for smoothness in control movement. the prices reflect
Cirrus Cessna Yoke
ACE 737 Yoke
Although these elite examples of controls
are not needed to enjoy your flight simulator. It does show what
is available for the demanding flight simulation enthusiast who
demands the utmost in realism when price is no object. Pricing
for the common HOTAS systems range from $100 to$200 with the
elite systems running from $200 to $400. The common yokes range
from $100 to $200 with the elite yokes ranging from $300 to
That's the rundown of the elite
peripherals in the HOTAS and yoke categories. Next time we'll
cover some of he throttle units available for in the elite
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