Best PC Flight Control

Flight control devices are designed to let you control flight simulators and similar programs with as much realism as possible. In addition to these controllers, you can also purchase foot pedals, dashboard switches, and other hardware to complete the simulation experience. Initially, it’s best to focus on just the best control devices offering an overall realistic look and feel. The number of buttons and similar options are important, since these devices fully replace a mouse and keyboard while playing a game or enjoying a simulation. Yokes and sticks are the two primary types of flight controls available and you can find excellent examples of both designs from a variety of manufacturers.

We’ve chosen the following best PC flight controls because they offer realistic flight simulation and gameplay thanks to designs which authentically mimic the controls of an actual airplane. Both yokes and flight sticks are included, and these models have at least nine programmable buttons and switches to give you the most authentic experience currently possible. All of these include throttle controls, although some of them are a bit easier and more realistic to use than others. The type of simulation or game you prefer typically determines if you’ll want a yoke or a stick, but in either case these models offer excellent responsiveness due to multi-axis controls and the ability to stay in place during long-term use.

Saitek Pro Flight Simulator Cockpit for PC

This is a terrific flight control setup offering the realistic look and feel of cockpit navigation. It has a great yoke with 25 buttons and a POV hat switch, built into a solid quadrant that connects to the rest of the simulator. There's a separate device with levers to control throttle and other aspects of flight, along with foot pedals and 10 different flight instrument panels that create an incredibly immersive experience. Read Full Review

Why it's best:

Although there are a number of great flight control devices on the market, this one is arguably the best yoke-design model. While most of this controller is made from plastic, it has a stainless steel main shaft to ensure durability and keep it operating reliably for a long time. You get 25 buttons on the main controllers which are all programmable with the included software from Saitek, while the yoke itself has axis controls for elevation and aileron control.

The hat switch is perfect for POV control within the cockpit of your simulation or flight game. The separate three lever controller for throttle let you easily control your wing flaps and prop pitch, plus you can mount it in any location at your desk. The yoke connects to a simulation module that includes 10 flight instrument panels which relay different information while playing a flight simulator. These panels include gauges such as airspeed and attitude indicators, an altimeter, and engine gauges. All of this comes together to create a remarkable simulation of flying an airplane.

Saitek Pro Flight Simulator Cockpit for PC

Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog Joystick

If you prefer a stick rather than a yoke flight control device, then this pick is the way to go. It has 17 buttons, (including several hat buttons) and a separate throttle device. The sticks metal base is more than enough to keep this controller in place while you enjoy your favorite simulation. Read Full Review

Why it's best:

This is probably one of the best flight control sticks on the market, combining a great overall design with a multitude of input buttons to flesh out your flight simulation experience. If you're interested in a realistic experience while flying a commercial airliner in a simulation, then you'll probably prefer a controller with a "yoke" design. However, for a flight stick which simulates action in a jet fighter or similar vehicle, this is a great option.

The stick is sturdy and well-built, with a comfortable design and 17 buttons. It also includes magnetic sensors and a solid coil spring for great responsiveness and control.An eight way POV hat control gives you a cockpit view in a game or simulator as well as two other eight way hats, a four way hat, trigger, and four other programmable buttons. The included control panel provides throttle control and 15 additional buttons and switches so you don't need a mouse or keyboard.

Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog Joystick

Saitek Pro Flight X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. (Hands on Throttle and Stick) System

This is definitely an impressive flight control stick for more combat-based simulators and computer programs. It accurately recreates fighter controls through aileron and elevator axis sensors, plus numerous buttons. The separate throttle control works well for dual or single engine crafts and includes a number of additional buttons and switches. Read Full Review

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    Why it's best:

    There's definitely a lot to like about this flight control stick, starting with its axis sensors and adjustable force requirements. You can choose from four different springs which control how much pressure is needed on the stick which itself features multiple buttons, two hats, and a trigger. There's also a separate thrust control unit which has two thrust controls for dual-engine fighters, although you can lock them together for single-engine jets.

    There are numerous buttons and switches on the thrust controller, giving you total freedom from a mouse and keyboard, plus a backlit throttle base for easy readability in any setup. The flight stick and thrust control are both durably built and easy to put away when they’re not in use. It's a pretty tough call between this flight stick and the Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog, so your own personal preference will probably determine which model is better for you.

    Saitek Pro Flight X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. (Hands on Throttle and Stick) System

    Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas 4 Flight Stick for PS4 & PC

    Flight sticks can be a major investment, making them more than a little intimidating for someone interested in trying one for the first time. This is a great starter option due to the price, and it still includes a precise, sensitive stick, 12 programmable buttons, and a detachable throttle control. Read Full Review

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      Why it's best:

      The cost of a flight stick can be a serious barrier to someone interested in trying out this type of controller for the first time. However, with this model you can experience a quality flight stick without breaking the bank. The flight stick has dual sensitivity for both twisting and pushing it in any direction and is very accurate, plus it has adjustable resistance so you can get it just right for you. The throttle is detachable, ergonomic, and large enough for a realistic feel along with 12 programmable buttons.

      The hat control is perfect for panoramic view and the included trigger can be used for brakes in a commercial simulation or to fire weapons in a military title. The weighted base helps keep the stick stable during use, and this pick has a large hand rest for operator comfort in even the most intense flight situations. While this model works perfectly with a PC, it’s also compatible with the Playstation 4 video game system and includes buttons specifically for use with a PS4.

      Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas 4 Flight Stick for PS4 & PC

      Saitek Pro Flight Cessna Yoke System

      Although this is designed as a replica of the yoke in a Cessna plane, it also works great as a general use flight control device. It includes a 180 degree turn radius, an 8-way hat switch, along with a couple buttons and additional rocker switches. A three-lever flight throttle quadrant is included with this yoke that offers precise throttle controls and three more switches. Read Full Review

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        Why it's best:

        If you’re interested in a simulated Cessna flight experience, then this is probably the best option currently available, though it’s still a great choice for general use. It includes a 1:1 scale replica of the yoke found in Cessna’s light aircraft, offering an incredibly accurate experience for simulated Cessna flight. The yoke offers a 180 degree turn radius, 90 degrees in either direction, which makes banked turns easy.

        A stainless steel shaft offers excellent durability and stability, plus the yoke includes an eight way hat switch, a three-position switch, two programmable buttons, and three rocker switches. This yoke also provides a three-lever flight throttle which makes it easy to control thrust, flaps, and other flight systems. Three two-way rocker switches are included with the throttle quadrant, and both the throttle quadrant and yoke include clamps to secure them onto a desk or other surface for great stability during use.

        Saitek Pro Flight Cessna Yoke System
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        2 comments
        • DaveSmith354 DaveSmith354

        This is a good article, but is there such a thing as a collective pitch/throttle for rotary wing sims?

        Posted on 2/8/2014 8:52 am | Reply
        • DaveSmith354 DaveSmith354

        Never mind, I've found a few now (they are all pretty expensive).

        Posted on 2/8/2014 8:59 am. In reply to DaveSmith354 | Reply