It's all about having the right flight sim hardware…

What Flight Simulator Controls Can I Buy?

If you are wanting to take your flight sim experience to the next level, there are many ways that you can upgrade your hardware and increase the realism of the game. You might want to consider buying various flight simulator controls such as a control yoke or rudder pedal or going that step further and adding instrument panels, flight management computers and more! The choice is pretty much endless, and just depends on the depth of both your enthusiasm, and your pockets!

CH Products, Saitek, Elite and Precision Flight Controls are the big names in flight sim hardware and all produce great quality products to suit a range of budgets. Obviously the quality does vary dependant on the price, with the more expensive controls providing a more realistic experience for the virtual pilot.

Other Flight Sim Controls

Ok so you’ve got your control yoke and rudder pedals and are ready to take it to the next step. If I were you I would think about adding instrument panels or radio stacks to your setup so that you can control more systems in a lifelike manner. A radio stack typically contains different types of displays that show radio frequencies with their associated controls, to VOR and ADF displays and dials. If you only fly planes in flight sim then you’ll probably get a lot of benefit from having a radio stack and it will probably sharpen up your multitasking skills considerably. Well, that is if you actually pretend to change radio frequencies etc.. or join a pilot / ATC network such as VATSIM. Here’s a Saitek radio control panel from Amazon:

Saitek Pro Flight Throttle Quadrant

Another flight simulator control you can add to the mix (sorry no pun intended!) is the Saitek throttle quadrant complete with propeller pitch, mixture and throttle levers. These can be mounted side by side if you wish to manage twin engines (or even four engines!) independently. Not only will this make it feel more like a real plane, but again it allows you to more easily practice techniques that are valuable in real-world flying.

Saitek Pro Flight Switch Panel Controls

If you’re looking to up the realism to another notch then you might want to invest in another flight simulator control, the Saitek switch panel. This has thirteen buttons that control things such as your master switch, fuel pumps, de-ice, pitot heat and all your lights. There is even a landing gear lever so you can raise or lower your landing gear without having to touch the keyboard. A magneto selector ensures you have full engine control for starting or stopping the engines.

The Saitek Pro Flight Switch Panel can be mounted either next to your other flight simulator controls, or on top of the Saitek control yoke if your desk space is limited. It comes with mounting screws so you can attach or detach the control. For desk-mounting it comes with Velcro straps so that you can fix it to the desk. Velcro does have the disadvantage however that the control isn’t completely sturdy, and it may be liable to wiggle around a bit.

Judging by the quite simple functions of each button, I would imagine that the switch  panel is more suited to simple aircraft types, and you would still need to reach for the keyboard or mouse on more complicated planes.

Overall this is a great addition to your hardware for flight sim and will prove valuable at maximising your experience.

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