Recent air combat sim recommendations?


I have a secondhand thrustmaster warthog set and so far haven’t done any tuning or altering to enhance its reliability because it’s just fine as it is, despite being preowned and a good ten years old.
It is heavy. The metal makes it feel very special. Like a tool, or a weapon even. Not a toy. The buttons are clicky and look like they can be relatively easily replaced if they ever wear out. This thing feels like a million dollars to me.

The alterations I am looking to do to it are:

  • an extension, if and when I get to build a home cockpit with a centermount. A taller stick makes for more precise small movements.
  • A replacement of the target designator nub by a ps/4 stick. There’s a dude in the UK selling kits to do that.
  • Regreasing the gimbal on the stick and perhaps replacing a teflon ring that may be starting to wear out.

But without those, it’s already a perfectly fine piece of kit. It’s luxurious, the thing I dreamed of since I bought my first logitech analogue stick back when I was 12.

Internally, it has the same sensors as the T1600m has, and those are fine.

For pedals I use a cheap plastic saitek set that’s a placeholder for something better. TBH I use them mostly when taxiing and on takeoff in tail sitter planes like the spitfire. It’s in the latter situation that I wish for a better set, for finer control. I suck at helicopters, and the crappy pedals might have something to do with that.


Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 stick
Saitek X52 Pro throttle
CH Products Pro Pedals pedals


@schurem, I see a lot of talk of beefing up the Thrustmaster A-10 stick, but that’s just because people never post on forums when things are working great for them. So happy to hear yours is working well for you!

I went for the t.1600m because it is the same sensors, essentially, in a more affordable package. But I wouldn’t kick an A-10 HOTAS setup out of the house for eating crackers in bed.

@Bluddy, there’s 16 buttons on the stick itself, plus a few more and a bunch of hats and a rocker on the throttle. That’s plenty for me. I occasionally miss the split throttle on the G940, but realistically I almost never used that anyway except when playing suicidal test pilot. :) I use the throttle slider on the stick as an analog speed-brake control.

If you do need more than the 30-ish functions you can get between the buttons and hats on the Stick/Throttle, the Thrustmaster software lets you set up custom configurations and macros.


Of course, if anyone is a lottery winner, here is where to shop for your controller needs:

I mean, I’m single now, so I could put this in the downstairs office and just make sure the door is closed and locked if I have a date over, but I imagine the investment would be… prohibitive. Particularly since I’m sure it’s priced for aerospace/gov’t clients.



That is the big issue with that wonderful stick in my opinion. Single hat, poorly placed buttons to accomodate the (selling point in my case) ambidextrous design, and the buttons are very flimsy and unsatisfying, compared to anything Saitek’s done in that price range.
But boy, the precision and range of movement of the stick itself is amazing!

Edit: to note, I think the buttons are supposed to be mainly on the throttle… which I didn’t buy, since it goes against the whole ambidextrous purpose.


So I got the TM TWCS throttle that goes with the T16000, and I love it. I’m using my old Sidewinder Precision Pro as the stick, which is amazing. These sticks are so comfortable and the tech is invincible. But I’m feeling like I could use more buttons – sometimes I play with only the stick, for example. The CH fighterstick looks good except for its 256 bit A2D precision. So then I got into thinking about taking an old CH fighterstick (non-USB) and modding it with an arduino board to support USB (which actually gets better precision than CH’s own USB version), and now my mind is all in the HOTAS modding scene with pots and switches and soldering and circuit boards, oh my… I’m looking for a cheap old fighterstick on ebay and not finding it yet (if the person with a bid on that one stick is here, could you please cancel it? :P)


I use a CH Fighterstick and Pro Throttle with the Frankenpotato mods. I can’t stress enough how much mileage I get from the hat switches. They’re extremely space-efficient for the number of inputs they give you.


Holy moly! This is so awesome.


I went there, then…

They are available in both right and left handed models.

Clicked anxiously, and then… my holy grail… crushed :O


Haha, that site doesn’t even list prices.

“If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”


They are listed, and quite affordable I thought (from 120$ to 180$).


Not seeing it on mobile


Seriously… sorry man.

I guess making that particular mod must be super difficult and just not worth it. You could do a HOSAS setup with a hat-rich stick for speed management, but not until this moment have I considered myself to be this lucky for being right handed.


It’s my bad, really: any pilot, virtual or not, will tell me it’s a matter of training.
For 20 years, I played using my right hand various civilian flight sims instead of combat ones, because I thought I was bad at them. Then the light came last year when I tried playing with my left hand, and managed to actually be decent at real combat flight sims for the first time.
I won’t complain: the horizon just widely opened in front of me for the last six months, in no short parts thanks to these forums! But to know, that at one point, there was a lefty’s throttle…


I bought it from someone here, I believe, although I don’t remember who. I’ve never wanted for buttons or switches, that’s for sure.

I realized today that IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad finally got a random-missions career, so I’ve spent the past hour or two zipping around the sky in my La-5. First mission: downed a 109 far from his base, spending all my ammo to do so. Second mission: ace in a day! Thanks to Germany for keeping the Ju-87 in service past its best-by date.

The Rise of Flight/nu-IL-2 difficulty settings have always been way better than DCS’s. It’s nice to be able to ease myself back in a bit.


Hmm… I am left-handed but use my right hand for the joystick. Now I wonder if I am doing it wrong, and I don’t have a left-handed joystick to really try. Do you do anything else right-handed? I also bat in cricket right-handed, for some reason it feels more natural, so maybe I am joysticking in the more optimal hand.


I do a bunch of stuff with the right hand (what I can think of now is using my mouse and… yoyoing — and I am praying Chappers doesn’t check this thread or boy are we in troubles having this sort of discussion). I discovered incidently I was better with the left hand at flight sims this year because having handed away my HOTAS, I was left with playing DOS games using the Xbox pad… and doing better than I ever did in my memories. It is then that I looked up for a lefty friendly stick, which felt much natural to me than my past right-handed ventures.
I am guessing that if you try playing a simulator with a dual stick gamepad, and find you have better sensations than using a right-handed joystick, maybe switching hands will benefit you like it did me.


I also use the mouse right-handed. Oddly my Father is right-handed and insists on a left-handed mouse.

This is not what I wanted to hear. I use the left joypad stick on gamepads, and I also can’t shoot for anything in IL-2 when using my right hand. I also only recently bought my HOTAS… which I just realised is the T16000m, which is fully ambidextrous! Time to try it out left-handed, thanks for the heads up.


Awesome to read you lefties found the good in a left hand stick. Perhaps that is why center stick cockpits abide even in an age where sidestick controllers like the F-16 and Rafale promise better ergonomics and G tolerance (to righties).

With a centerstick, you’d let go to fiddle with the throttle, or let the throttle go when doing something hard, like aiming the guns or doing formation work. I could even see how a warthog stick could work that way.