Advanced Flight Simulation Hardware for the Enthusiasts (2021)

Flight simulation programs for the home computer has evolved significantly over the past decades. The first popular flight simulator was released for the Apple II computer in 1981 by subLogic Corporation. The graphics, sounds, and flight model were very basic compared to what is available today. Additionally, joysticks were limited to a basic 2-axis, 2-button option. Many people simply used their keyboard to fly in their simulator. Despite the lack of immersion, it was the closet way for many aviation enthusiasts of all ages to experience flight without spending thousands of dollars in flight school.

The advancement of computing power, video card performance, graphics quality, sound quality, and other technologies in the past decade have all contributed to make flight simulation very realistic and immersive today. Flight simulations today generally falls under two categories - combat simulator or general/civilian simulator.

The popular Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS) is a popular platform for study-level combat aircraft that enables you to perform realistic air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks, carrier landings, air-to-air refueling, and many other functions. On the civilian side, popular platforms include Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane and Prepar3D. In fact, the now released Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 simulates the entire Earth with such detail that you can fly VFR (visually using landmarks) from one airport to another using Bing Maps sateliite data interpolated with artificial intelligence.

To help enthusiasts maximize their flight simulation experience, we have compiled the following hardware options we feel can help elevate the realism, precision, and your enjoyment. These are our Amazon affiliate links and can be use to learn more or to make a purchase. This list offers a variety of different features, build quality, and price to provide a good selection to accommodate different needs and budget.

There are many more products in the marketplace and we encourage you to explore and research hardware that's best for you. We hope this selection exposes you to new and interesting hardware you may not be familiar with. We will update this list with new and interesting hardware as we learn about them.


Thrustmaster TCA Officer Pack Airbus Edition

Highlights

  • Airbus themed sidestick and throttle quadrant
  • Licensed by Airbus
  • Ergonomic replica of the Airbus sidestick (A320 type)
  • Surgical precision (i.e. 14-bit resolution: 16,384 x 16,384 values!) for the pitch axis and roll axis
  • Magnetic technology ensures excellent precision that won't decrease over time
  • Thrust levers similar to those found on Airbus aircraft, with thrust reverser mechanism
  • Realistic detents: Idle, Climb, Flex, TO/GA
Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick PC

Highlights

Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Dual Throttles PC

Highlights

  • Replic of the U.S. Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II throttles
  • Realistic IDLE detent with "Pull & Push" system
  • Realistic and disengageable AFTERBURNER detent with "Pull & Push" system
  • Realistic pressure on buttons and switches
  • Backlit functions
  • Metal construction with weighted base
Thrustmaster VG Thrustmaster F/A 18 Grip Add-On

Highlights

  • Designed for the most demanding flight sim community, after years of development and beta testing!
  • Feel and sensations on the 2-step trigger optimized for enhanced realism and immersion in games
  • Features 19 action buttons
  • 1:1 scale replica of the legendary McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet flight stick handle
  • Metal construction
  • Compatible with the Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar and HOTAS Warthog joystick bases (sold separately)
  • 100% Native in DCS World
Thrustmaster F-16C Viper HOTAS Add-On Grip

Highlights

  • Life-size (1:1 scale) replica of the real F-16C Viper flight stick
  • 100% metal design incorporating durable, industrial-grade materials for an authentic feel and maximum product lifespan
  • 19 action buttons in total, plus one 8-way "point of view" hat switch
  • Native integration in the game DCS World via the dedicated DCS: F-16C Viper module (game and module sold separately), and compatible in all other flight simulation games
  • Compatible with three joystick bases in Thrustmaster's flight simulation ecosystem: HOTAS Warthog and HOTAS Magnetic Base (sold separately)
Logitech G PRO Flight Rudder Pedals

Highlights

  • Professional simulation rudder pedals with toe brake
  • Individual left and right toe brakes for differential braking
  • Fluid motion for precision control
  • Adjustable tension dial
  • Non-slip foot pedals
  • Self-centering pedals
Thrustmaster TFRP Flight Rudder Pedals

Highlights

  • TFRP (T.Flight Rudder Pedals)
  • S.M.A.R.T (Sliding Motion Advanced Rail Track) slide rails system!
  • Self-centering rudder axis
  • Long range of travel
  • Versatile ergonomic design
  • Two differential brake pedals for optimized flying
  • T.A.R.G.E.T advanced programming software for PC
CH Products Pro Pedals USB Flight Simulator Pedals

Highlights

  • Realistic heel-toe differential braking
  • 3 axis of control
  • Self-centering
  • Can used for flight simulation and driving games
Logitech X56 H.O.T.A.S. RGB Throttle and Stick Controller

Highlights

  • 16-bit aileron and elevator axis
  • 6 degrees of freedom
  • Independent twin throttles
  • 4 spring options for adjustable stick tension
  • 189+ programmable controls
  • RGB backlighting
  • Stealthy new black and gray finish
Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls Yoke & Switch Panel

Highlights

  • 180° yoke rotation
  • Two vertical 2-way switches
  • Two horizontal 2-way switches
  • 8-way hat switch
  • Two buttons
  • Master, avionics, light, ignition switches
  • Solid steel shaft with dual linear ball bearing
  • Adjustable backlighting
Honeycomb Bravo Throttle Quadrant w/ Auto Pilot & Annunciator Panel

Highlights

  • 6 Commercial Levers with flaps, spoilers, and functional thrust reversers
  • 6 General Aviation Levers with Functional TOGA (Go Around) Button for multiple aircraft configurations
  • Annunciator Panel with 7 two-way programmable switches and 14 Warning Lights
  • General Aviation Flap Lever
  • Auto Pilot with backlit buttons
  • Adjustable Lever Tension
  • Gear Lever with Red/Green LED landing gear indicator lights
  • Trim Wheel
Logitech G Pro Flight Yoke System

Highlights

  • POV Hat, 14 button controls
  • 3-position mode switch
  • Three axis lever throttle
  • Stainless steel yoke shaft
  • 2-position desk clamp
MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 192-Bit HDMI/DP 6GB GDRR5 HDCP Support DirectX 12 Dual Fan VR Ready OC Graphics Card (GTX 1660 VENTUS XS 6G OC)

Highlights

  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660
  • Boost Clock: 1830 MHz
  • Video Memory: 6GB GDDR5
  • Output: DisplayPort x 3 (V1; 4)/ HDMI 2; 0B x 1
Logitech G Pro Flight Switch Panel

Highlights

  • 13 switches
  • 5-position magneto dial
  • Realistic landing gear lever with LED indicators
  • Modular and customizable for easy home cockpit builds
Thrustmaster MFD Cougar Pack

Highlights

  • Pack of 2 multi-function cockpit display panels
  • Replicas of the U.S. Air Force F-16 MFD
  • 20 buttons + 4 switches per MFD
  • Backlighting for buttons with adjustable intensity
  • Weighted, non-slip detachable base
Logitech G Pro Flight Instrument Panel

Highlights

  • Colorful 3.5-inch LCD screen
  • Toggle between 15 different displays (e.g, attitude, airspeed indicator)
  • Modular and Interchangeable for easy home cockpit builds
  • Measures 3.7" x 3.2" x 3.2" (LxWxH)
RealSimGear GNS530 Bezel GPS

Highlights

  • Ultra realistic buttons and knobs
  • 5" LCD display screen
  • Replicate of the Garmin 530
  • Change comm radio frequencies with ease
  • Realistic GPS system for your home cockpit
T.Flight U.S. Air Force Edition Gaming Headset

Highlights

  • Officially licensed by the U.S. Air Force
  • High-performance unidirectional noise-canceling microphone
  • Detachable and adjustable microphone
  • On-ear volume knob
  • Mic volume and mute controls
  • Interchangeable faceplates for customization
ButtKicker BK-GR Gamer

Highlights

  • Add a new level of immersion to your sim
  • Make your home cockpit more realistic with vibration
  • Feel the engines and runaway as you go TO/GA
  • Mounts easily to your chair or simpit
Logitech G Pro Flight Radio Panel

Highlights

  • Compact cockpit radio stack
  • COM and NAV functions
  • Twin concentric dials for quick frequency change
  • Standby switch - set standby frequencies and then set it active at a touch of a button
  • Set of switches and LED displays for controlling various aspect of flight
  • Works with your favorite flight sim
Logitech G Pro Flight Multi Panel

Highlights

  • Cruise on autopilot in real-time
  • Real-time LED displays
  • Dedicated controls for flaps, pitch trim, and auto-throttle
  • Plug-and-play installation and setup
  • Works with your favorite flight sim