How to Joystick / Throttle / Hotas?

Hi there,
I’m looking to buy me a higher-end non-foot-pedal setup for space flight, space trucking and occasional flight simming with very occasional VR use.

I’m currently eyeing this combination:

Gladiator NXT Evo:

Gladiator NXT Evo Omni throttle (basically the same stick, just angled):

This detachable Mount combination:

I’m unsure on the throttle, still considering the classic Thrustmaster Warthog as side-companion, not only for economics but also better “compat” with long form flight sims:

Also another option would be this Virpil Throttle:

What are your opinions? I have no clue and was still working and oiling a very crunchy Saitek 2000s stick and finally decided I have enough.

All I know from reading people discussing HOTAS setups on forums, whatever you will buy won’t be good enough, and this X,000$ setup is actually what you should have bought.

No idea about the Gladiator stuff (I just have an old X52 Pro, nothing special), but people seem to love the Virpil stuff so you probably can’t go wrong with that.

I guess it’s fine here?

I’m primarily looking for opinions on either a throttle unit or the dual joystick-y solution. I’m a bit torn but think any of it will serve me well.

Seems overkill TBH, considering you called out space flight vs. serious flight sims. I think I would go (note: I’m also working with an old X52, which is fine but not great) with a simpler setup for a space sim because the dogfighting and control complexity isn’t there, and then if the serious sim bug grabs, you won’t be out that much stepping up. But then you mentioned other uses, including flight sims, so it sounds like you’re on the peak of the “buy once, cry once” distribution curve. Maybe look at what is recent and relevant and retains value if you want to resell? Those are quality pieces of mechanical work so they won’t lose value as rapidly as most other computer gear. Again, still using a 15yo HOTAS just fine, I just wish the springs were better tuned.

X52 and X52 pro is good and cheap. Probably worth picking that up and figuring out how serious you are into sims.

You can always sell it used for 50-70% for what you bought it and upgrade later.

Sir, have you heard the good word of the Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback 2?

This one looks to be in terrific shape…

I can recommend VKB, they make quality products. I’ve owned a Gunfighter Mk 2 with the space combat grip for years, and I love it. I believe the Gladiator uses the same grip, while the base uses the same contactless sensors as the Gunfighter.

I use a Winwing throttle, which I can also recommend. It’s well-made, and big. The Virpil throttle might be a better fit for my small hands, but they didn’t have a USA distributor when I was shopping around, and shipping cost from the EU was expensive.

edit: I have the Winwing Orion 2 throttle with the F/A-18 grip. Link to their site:

I’ve owned an X36 and an X52, and I can agree with the second part of your statement.

2nd edit: I always liked the design of Saitek’s hardware, it was the build quality that disappointed. They felt cheap, some of the hats were flaky in operation, and the pots started spiking early and often. It’s a shame too, because there are so few good options for a mid-priced setup.

Aha! Good interjection! Scowering the local trade markets, I can find the Virpil throttle and a Gladius Joystick in essentially new condition, little age and invoices for roughly 20% off!

On the rest, I’m way past the “cheap-ish” Hotas combo will do, I just held back the last years until there’s enough on the stockpile to fill a years worth of on-and-off playing.

Still uncertain on Dual-Stick or Stick + Throttle combos, @J_Thomas may have some thoughts to be shared.

Oh yea. I have/had this bad boy for 20-ish years and it’s plastic rubbing on plastic rubbing on plastic on off-centered sticks with a good amount of wobble.

Still big fun.

Stroke of luck, I got this for 30% cheaper and without shipping from a private seller. 7 months old, basically unused, but a bit dusty:

Pinging @schurem

Nice, those vkb sticks are very good sticks. The very best this side of the boutique metal hotas sets that cost as much a stwo months rent.

Of the throttles you mention, the virpil one is the best. The warthog one is fine, better than it’s companion stick which, for its price point, frankly sucks.

You might also look into winwing, a chinese hotas builder. They are said to be very well engineered and built. I am contemplating replacing my warthog with their orion2 throttle with F15 handles.

Nice! The beautiful thing about quality is . . . it’s quality, so it lasts.

Oh yes, the expensive boots theory definitely holds for HOTAS.

Small update: I got a Tobii Eyetracker, the joystick and tomorrow arrive some mounts. Still looking for thorttles, but probably will bite the bullet with the Verpil one.

But g’damn, Flight Sims with eye tracking and proper joysticks (actuation is so buttery smooth compared to my crunchy saitek one) hit on a whole new level.

Tobii works with Truck Sim too. And Farm Sim, for that matter, but it doesn’t really make sense for how I play that.

Have you ever tried VR?

I was for most of my career a VR, AR and XR developer as well as other tech in the scope of building permanent media installations, actually.
That’s one of the reasons I don’t own VR devices as I always had some provided to me.

I’m currently waiting on everything arriving (mounts and still picking a throttle) and once that settles, I’m likely going to lease a VR headset temporarily.

VR is very cool but I have some issues of feeling incredibly lonely after some time in it due to it’s very clean and lonesome nature as well as I get spatial issues lasting half a day. Takes a few hours to wear off that I don’t bump into door frames and such anymore.

You don’t get that with a flight (or space) sim. You get wtf-awesome immersion. Try it… you’ll love it :D

As for the loneliness, there’s machines out there that are much better when operated by a crew, such as an Apache or a strike eagle. Back-seat driving (or front seat in the apache) doesn’t require a hotas, and xbox controller often will do, so maybe an idea for local multiplayer if you happen to have a fellow nerd nearby.

This is a replica of the apache gunners’ controls. You can see how an ordinary gamepad can come pretty close.

Missed this earlier, sorry. I’ve been interested in a dual-stick setup before, but not enough to spring for the second stick.

If your old stick still works, you may want to play around with dual sticks right now to get a handle how it works for you, and try different control mappings for the axes.

If you decide on as HOSAS setup, I would recommend another VKB stick for the left hand, assuming you would want to use one of the axes for throttle control. You can remove the spring from the Y-axis cam to stop the stick from self-centering, and tighten the damping on the dry clutch so that the stick will remain where you position it instead of flopping around. See this Youtube short for an example of what I mean: