Advice - Best Stick & Throttle for Piston Warbirds Please

I have, up to now, been flying piston GA (single & twin) and for the past year with Honeycomb Alpha, Bravo and Thrustmaster for those GA with a pole. I have just started to delve into the warbird arena with the FI F6F - 5 and whilst the Honeycomb works OK it seems wrong to be operating with a yoke etc and the Thrustmaster, whilst OK for the X-Cub, Savage Cub etc I don’t think that they are up to a warbird.

I have recently got the Velocity One rudder pedals and I like those but their sticks and throttles seem to be geared to jets. I would appreciate any pointers to (reasonably priced - I’m not an oligarch :wink:) any stick or throttle combo that might fill the bill.

Why not start with what is widely considered the standard entry-level HOTAS, the Thrustmaster T16000? It’s advertised for $169 on Amazon right now.

image

The throttle and stick have enough buttons, but don’t suffer from ‘button overload.’
I used this HOTAS in DCS for a long time. When I got into MSFS I realized I wanted a setup more suited to helicopter flying. While the T16000 would work, I want something better (and unfortunately, WAY more expensive :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) for that application.

I still fly warbirds and military jets in MSFS using my Alpha/Bravo. As you said, it doesn’t ‘feel right.’

Once I get a good flightstick for helicopter use, I can transition to it for stick-based airplanes. I can use my Bravo for those throttles (having 6 axes is nice) but will eventually add a collective/throttle just for helicopters.

The only other stick I’d recommend is the VKB Gladiator. Is in the same price range as the TM T16000m but its got the quality of something higher end. It’s probably got more buttons than you’ll ever need, but it’ll last a bit longer than the TM T16k. The twist axis gave out on me after a year or so which made using the rudder with the stick useless. Now I’m a shameless vkb fanboi

Paired with the TWCS throttle (same as in the pack mentioned above) and you’ll have a decent HOTAS. I did end up upgrading to a VKB STECS throttle, however that

might be a little too much for what you intend to fly (they offer a throttle box with warbirds in mind though)

As a rotor head myself, I’ve found the Gladiator I mentioned is good. You have the option of removing the internal springs so the stick will remain in the position you leave it, making it handle more like a helicopter cyclic. And if you’re REALLY bougie (and made of money), you’d get the Virpil collective

2 Likes

I mean it all depends on your budget. At the moment, the Virpil range seem to be really popular but they’re also expensive. I guess you get what you pay for.

If you want something more entry level, the Thrustmaster hotas mentioned above is also an good shout. I still have mine and it’s in good working order. I remember when I bought it, it also came with rudder pedals, but I believe there is also an option to buy without the rudder pedals.

A more middle of the road setup is the Thrustmaster Warthog hotas which is also pretty decent for the money

For anything piston, I’d recommend having something with enough axes to control prop and mix without having to reach very far. The L’tech X52 has three analog axes attached to the throttle lever - two rotary and one slide. I use the rotaries for prop and mix, and the slider controls the airbrakes when I fly the Honda.

Yes, I know that the X52 has gotten some bad reviews, but I just bought one to replace my original Saitek unit that finally just wore out after 20+ years of service. The fit and finish of the replacement is just as good as the original was when I first pulled it out of its box.

I noticed you mentioned turtle Beach I just recalled if I hadnt gotten VKB I probably would have gotten this

Its cheaper than a warthog but step up from the TM and LTech options. Definitely promising for the mid-end market. It’s got split throttle which you can set up another for mixture or feather. These types of throttled are certainly made for ED, DCS, SC but they should be versatile enough for even yoke-based planes. I fly hotas in a 737 all the time with no “not feeling right.”

I just pretend everything I fly is a right seated airbus :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

Thank you folks, I appreciate your help, that has focused my attention instead of looking around too broadly.

As I said, although not specifically, I already have the Thrustmaster T1600 and TWCS throttle (the one that you show Begotten Poet) and they’re fine but for me it makes the prop and mixture controls very artificial and not easy to manage accurately. A lot of the warbirds have quite accurately modelled engine behaviour and if you get things just a wee bit out you can fry the engine - especially the Hellcat apparently.

A Saitek stick alongside a Saitek PRO throttle quadrant might work, I shall have to look into that a bit deeper, at the moment I can’t see a stick allied to the PRO quadrant. They all seem to come as a kit with stick and jet type throttle. The VKB sticks, with the exception of the Gunfighter II Combat Edition, which is a bit pricey, are all Out of Stock at the factory and on Amazon. The Virpil look really good but will definitely not get a tick from the Budget Manage :wink:

My immediate and minimum cost option, as a workaround I think, is to reposition the Bravo on the left hand side of the table and pair it with a Velocity One Flight Stick whicht is reasonably priced, has good reviews and there’s 10% off at the moment too. If that works satis, then I may get another under table mount so that I can shift the Bravo from right to left (it is so much better under than on top of the desk). I will further research the Saitek option and keep a weather eye on the VKB situation. The Virpil could get me into serious trouble I reckon.

Thanks again.

Through personal experience, I wouldn’t buy anything from Logitech or Thrustmaster again, due to the poor design and build quality and longevity. All the sticks from these makers, including the expensive ones and also the Turtle Beach use a cheap plastic ball and socket gimbals, and that automatically gives you poor flying feel compared to the competition.

In this field, the VKB Gladiator stands out a mile as the entry level to high end peripherals, yet it costs less than the X56 or Warthog. The Gladiator has a much better pincer gimbal, with adjustable or removable springs and adjustable damping via dry clutches. The standard SCG grip is excellent, with plenty of hats & buttons and it also comes in left or right handed options, but if you really want the WWII option they have a suitable grip on the same Evo base. All axes are on ball bearings and use contactless sensors, even the rudder twist.

As standard it has everything you need to fly, but if you want to add axes for prop, throttle and mixture VKB offer the SEM (side extension) and THQ throttle modules, which can be mounted separately or directly on the side of the Gladiator, giving you a very capable hotas setup. As time and budget allows, you can add more modules such as the GA autopilot and there is even a WWII style throttle handle for the THQ quadrant. My Gladiator has done over 1,000 flying hours in MSFS, and it still looks and feels exactly the same as the day I got it. If you buy quality, you only need to buy once. Until you look at the Gunfighter range…

I hear what you say MagicQuasar - but currently all of the VKB sticks within my price range are out of stock, with no indication of if or when they might be back on sale again. For throttles the GNX THQ Stand Alone throttle might suffice but it certainly doesn’t look very ergonomic.

Many thanks for the advice though, which definitely helps inform my choices going forward.

I’ve tried several sticks etc., and I’ve personally found the lack of 3 long levers (throttle, prop and mixture) to be inadequate.
I eventually settled on the Turtle Beach rudder pedals, the turtle beach velocity one flight stick (Argos at £80 currently - very good price), and the Logitech throttle quadrant - I love this - 3 long levers and 6 more buttons!
I use this combo pretty much exclusively.
(I’m on pc, haven’t tested the throttle quadrant on the Xbox….edit : quadrant won’t work on Xbox).
(Available buttons are also a priority … lock tail wheel, arrestor cables etc for aircraft carriers - they quickly add up).

Edit : the throttle quadrant has detent positions for all 3 levers - work well for reverse thrust with turbo’s ).

Edit : this also gives me one of the small levers on the Velocity One flight stick as a Flaps lever.

Not sure how I missed that info in your original post. For some reason I thought all you had was a yoke, and were looking for a budget flightstick.

Argos at £80 currently

How the heck did I miss that AboardFaun!! I just ordered the Velocity One Flight Stick from Amazon and thought I was getting a great deal at £95 :roll_eyes:

So, temporarily at least, I will have a very similar set up to you but with the HC Bravo rather than the Logitech throttle. The problem with the Bravo is that it’s a big lump and will be a bit awkward on top of the desk. Still, if it works mounting it under the surface isn’t hard. I’m still getting used to the Hellcat so might as well make all the bloopers in one go.

I should have made it clear - I’m on PC as well.

Anyway, thanks mate.

No worries at all, I appreciate you taking the time to help.

You do have a month to return to Amazon……were it me, I’d get the Argos one, once I had it I’d return the Amazon and save £15.
Hellcat is great fun, maybe the one I’ve enjoyed the most (I’ve got several warbirds).

1 Like