The Basics of Hardware for Flight Simulation

The world of flight simulation can be very complex. There are endless combinations of software, hardware, and community resources available, enabling you to customise your virtual experience from nose to tail. Simming hardware provides another dimension to your FSX: Steam Edition experience, but if you’re new to the hobby, the idea of using such seemingly complicated equipment can be quite intimidating.

Saitek’s Pro Flight Yoke System

Saitek’s Pro Flight Yoke System

A lot of simmers prefer flying with yokes and joysticks to flying with a keyboard as it more accurately simulates flying. Joysticks have the advantage of being interchangeable with a variety of other software, although are not as used in real-world aviation as often as the yoke.

Aside from the main steering mechanisms, most yokes and joysticks come buttons you are able to customise in-game to save you using the keyboard to trim, adjust flaps, switch landing gears on and off, change camera angles, etc.

The throttle is the other most commonly seen piece of desktop kit. They can also come already included in joystick/yoke units. The throttle is the lever that controls the flow of fuel to the engine, so the more power you give the throttle, the faster your ascent, descent, or taxiing speed.

The A321 uses a side stick instead of a yoke

The A321 uses a side stick instead of a yoke

Lastly, rudder pedals keep your feet busy when it comes time to turn or taxi. During flight, they are used to swing the aircraft left or right.

When the yoke is used to bank the aircraft left, the nose of the plane will go to the right. Rudder pedals are used to keep the nose pointing in the direction of the turn. After turning, the opposite pedal is used to straighten out the aircraft.

In smaller aircraft, rudder pedals are also used to steer aeroplanes on the ground.

The above examples are nowhere near the extent of what hardware is available for flight simulation. From basic desk set-ups to entire home cockpits, there is something out there for every level of interest. Remember, the possibilities are endless!

Top image credit: A.A. Wilson. Used with permission.

FSX Admin

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