Different Parts of a Flight Setup

  • Joystick/Flight stick

The main stick is the module that controls the pitch and roll of an aircraft, some will include yaw if the stick is able to be twisted. The stick in a flight setup is the most important part of the setup. You want to think about how many buttons and hat switches you want on the stick itself, also if you want a two-stage or one-stage trigger. Ergonomics are important as well, some sticks may be better suited for use in the right hand. If you’re left handed you probably want to find an ambidextrous flight stick. It's a good idea to look for reviews that talk about the durability of the stick itself, as it is the central piece of the flight setup and would make the other parts worthless if it wasn’t working.

  • Throttle

The throttle is an additional module that allows for accurate analog input of the percentage of throttle you want. It also adds additional buttons to the left hand. Again, if you are left handed you may have difficulty finding an ambidextrous throttle module and might want to learn to use the stick with your right hand.


HOTAS is an acronym for Hands On Throttle And Stick. Simply put, it means that that throttle module and stick module come together in a single package. This is often the best way to purchase both the stick and throttle if you don’t already have one of them. Purchasing a HOTAS set makes it easier to install drivers for one product, and more reliability with software recognition in games. It’s also more appealing aesthetically to have a matching stick and throttle.

  • Pedals

The pedals are a seemingly insignificant part of a flight setup but they are the final piece to allowing a user to be fully immersed in the flight setup. The pedals have two methods of motion. The pedals press down individually just like a car, but they also slide forward and back. The pedals are held in sync with each other. For example, if you press one pedal to slide forward, the opposite pedal will slide backwards. It’s a good idea to look into the durability of the pedals as well because you will at times be aggressively pushing on them with your foot and they must be durable enough to withstand the force. 

Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS Controller

Thrustmaster   T.16000M FCS HOTAS Controller

Flight stick featuring H.e.A.R.T magnetic precision technology + twcs (Thrust master weapon control system) throttle. 4 independent axes of motion. Stick twists for rudder control. 14 action button...

A mid-level HOTAS setup, with ambidextrous ergonomics available in the box. A lot of extra buttons on the stick module and a decent amount of switches on the throttle.

Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog Joystick

The joystick features 19 action buttons, along with a "Point Of View" hat. An added detail, pressing on the joystick's buttons and triggers requires pressure identical to that required in an actual airplane. The throttles feature a total of 17 action buttons, a "Point Of View" hat and a "mouse hat / slew control". Built with industrial metal and weighs over 14 pounds total, ensuring that it grips whatever surface you place it on. Unrivaled precision using 16-bit calculation of both throttle and joystick positioning.

This joystick is top of the line. It very expensive but it has been the king of high end flight setups for years.

CH Products Fighterstick USB

The FlightStick looks and feels just like a real jet stick, built with potentiometers rated to 2 million cycles, sturdy base and fire buttons rated to 10 million shots. 3 axis and 24 buttons (three...

A well-built and customizable joystick, part of the CH Products set, other parts of the total HOTAS set sold separately.

CH Products Pro Throttle USB

What is the best Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) you can get your hands on? Survey says Pro Throttle USB! This is a must-have add-on for all armchair pilots. Our highly anticipated Pro Throttle...

An individual throttle module for users of the CH Products flight stick. Although, it can be used in tandem with any other flight stick.
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