Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has reignited peoples passion for simulated flight. With stunning visuals and detailed physics and aircraft interaction it’s easy to see why. To get the most out of this game you need an analogue flight stick. A flight stick gives you precise control over the flight controls of the aircraft. You need at least 3 degrees of freedom (Pitch, Roll and Yaw) for basic control but all of our recommendations offer at least 6 axes of control. That means controls like your throttle are also analogue and fall easily to hand. A host of other buttons are customisable and allow you to find your perfect control scheme. Logitech and Thrustmaster are the major players in this market with products from entry-level to high-end flight sticks. However serious Sim enthusiasts can pick from a number of more boutique manufacturers offering flight sticks built to replicate the real thing.
In the article we’ll recommend the best flight sticks for MS Flight Simulator 2020 at every price point, but hurry because stock is limited and everyone wants one!
Best Flight Sticks for Flight Simulator – Our Recommendations
Best Budget Flight Stick: Thrustmaster T Flight Stick X
If you’re just looking for your first flight stick then you won’t go wrong with the T Flight Stick X from Thrustmaster. This is an entry-level flight stick but more than capable of full control of Flight 2020 (indeed it’s the stick we use at the Premium Builds Lab). It has an adjustable return spring, 5 axis control including Z-axis twist on the stick to control yaw and a throttle slider. There’s an 8-way thumb hat which is invaluable for looking around in the cockpit. The default FS2020 profile loads automatically in-game, meaning the buttons are correctly mapped with minimal fuss. Internal memory stores your custom presets so the stick is always ready to go. You can adjust the spring tension with a simple twist control on the base. Whilst this flight stick lacks premium button feel, it’s a perfect introduction to the proper way to control a flight sim and includes every vital feature to get you flying. There’s also a larger ‘HOTAS X’ version with a separate throttle handle rather than the slider in the base if you prefer a more hands on flying experience.
Best HOTAS Flight Stick: Logitech X56 Pro HOTAS Controller
HOTAS stands for ‘Hands on Throttle and Stick’ and indicates a combination of flight stick and large throttle control handle with additional buttons and controls. The Logitech X56 Pro takes control to the next level and includes 13 axes, 189 programmable controls and high quality components. With separate throttle and stick you gain complete control over the aircraft, and 4 spring return strengths allow you to tune the stick to your preferred feel. The throttles can be split to gain finer control over multi engine aircraft. Importantly there are 2 analogue hat sticks to give you full control over your point of view. They also prove invaluable in games like Elite:Dangerous where analogue control over your ship in six degrees of freedom is essential. Logitechs software gives you an intuitive GUI to configure the stick to your liking and even add macros, a necessity with so much customisation available. Using the myriad button and toggles to their fullest will let you intuitively control your aircraft, adding to the feeling of immersion in Microsoft Flight 2020.
Best Replica Flight Stick – Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog
What could be more satisfying than a flight stick replicating the controls of one of the most fearsome aircraft ever devised? The HOTAS Warthog is a direct copy of the A-10 Thunderbolt flight controls, so whilst you may be flying a virtual Cessna over a faithful rendering of the Mid-West, you can enjoy the same level of control as an active service pilot does in their tank killer. This flight stick has weighty metal construction and robust toggle switches and buttons: it weighs in at a meaty 14lbs. Logitech boast that the button activation weights match those on the real-life counterpart. The heavy metal base plate can bolt to a sim rig or else suckers will keep it stable on your desk in complex manoeuvres. There are 55 programmable buttons, dual throttle controls, and two POV thumb hats. Hall effect sensors ensure precise and long lived control accuracy. The switches on the throttle are backlit for ease of use in a darkened room. Overall the attention to detail and solid construction mark this out as one of the most impressive flight sticks on offer today and it will lend itself perfectly to the complexities of MS Flight 2020.
Best Enthusiast Flight Stick – VIRPIL Flight Sticks – Constellation ALPHA –R + Base + Throttle
VIRPIL have made a big splash in the sim community with their ultra-realistic and high-quality flight sticks. These precision flight sticks are made from aerospace materials and use precision gimbals and cams to mimic the feel of a real flight stick. There are 6 sticks and 2 bases to choose from to meet your preferences and combined with their throttle they offer unparalleled customisation. Even the palm rest is adjustable, whilst the stick itself is available in left and right hand version. The flight stick has a full analogue hat switch as well as several 4 way hats, plus flip triggers and uniquely offers a brake axis lever. The software is fully customisable to tune mapable buttons and sensitivity.
If you’re looking for the very best in flight sim equipment you’d be well advised to check out their offerings to configure your perfect flight stick set up.
Best Yoke for MS Flight Simulator – Logitech G Pro Flight Yoke System + G Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
For a more realistic replica cockpit a yoke offers a true hands-on experience of flight. Logitech offers the G Pro Yoke with yoke and throttle that clamp onto your desk to immerse yourself at the helm of an aircraft. With high-quality stainless steel parts for smooth operation and 15 mapable buttons, pairing this yoke with Logitech G Pro Flight Rudder Pedals brings the world to your desk. The rudder pedals offer differential toe brakes and realistic yaw control. This combination offers the most immersive set up this side of a full cockpit sim rig although you can expand this modular set up towards that with additional flight information panels and even a radio panel! There’s no need to go that far straight away though and this combination of Yoke and throttle is as close as you’ll get to the real flight controls of commercial aircraft without going off the deep end on price.