Microsoft Flight Simulator was a runaway hit when it launched on PC in 2020, drawing many people into the flight sim genre for the first time and receiving widespread acclaim from critics (it received a 9/10 in GameSpot’s own Microsoft Flight Simulator review ). Now, Microsoft Flight Simulator is finally making its way to Xbox Series X|S on July 27, and it’s getting major performance updates on the PC side the same day. With all of that news, there’s sure to be plenty of people jumping into the game on Xbox for the first time or returning to it on PC, and some of those people may be looking to upgrade their experience with a flight stick. Though there are plenty of flight stick options out there from brands like Logitech, Thrustmaster, and Hori, the options for Xbox Series X are still somewhat slim, but we’ve rounded up the best flight sticks (and other peripherals) that will make your Microsoft Flight Simulator experience better whether you choose to hop in on Xbox or PC.
Most of the products here are HOTAS (or Hands-On Throttle and Stick), the industry standard for joysticks, and they’ll simply give you much greater control over your flight experience and significantly heighten the immersion as well. It’s best to stick with reputable brands like those mentioned above, even though some flight stick options can cost hundreds of dollars, because you can be sure of the flight stick’s quality and durability.
Due to the release not only of Microsoft Flight Simulator but also Star Wars Squadrons (and just general product shortages), 2020 was a difficult time to pick up a new flight stick as many of the top ones were completely sold out online, but thankfully, we’re starting to see stock stabilize with plenty of options available to buy now. Microsoft also recently announced a range of new peripherals officially licensed for Xbox that’ll work with Flight Simulator, and we’ve included some of those here as well.
Releasing this week on July 27, the Thrustmaster T.Flight Full Kit X is a great all-around option for those jumping into Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox Series X|S. The bundle gets you the T.Flight HOTAS One, Thrustmaster’s entry-level flight stick that’s been a popular option for some time now, along with the T.Flight Rudder Pedals (TFRP).
The T.Flight HOTAS One features a compact design with a detachable throttle and joystick along with five axes, 14 action buttons, a rapid-fire trigger, and a multidirectional hat switch for navigation/panoramic view. It also has actual Xbox buttons to let you easily navigate menus and more, and the device will be recognized and configured instantly when you plug it into your console. The rudder pedals enhance your flight experience further by giving you precision control over the rudders and breaks. They’re designed with industrial-grade aluminum slide rails that give you a wide range of smooth movement.
For those who don’t want to go all-in at once with the T.Flight Full Kit X, you can pick up the HOTAS One flight stick separately for $90, which has all of the aforementioned features designed specifically for Xbox and PC. Though rudder pedals greatly increase the immersion and level of control you have in a flight sim, beginners looking to try out the genre for the first time may want to start with a standard joystick like the HOTAS One.
This one’s hard to find in stock, but it’s still worth mentioning here–the Hori Ace Combat 7 HOTAS Flight Stick for Xbox is another great option for Microsoft Flight Simulator. The Designed for Xbox product retails for $200 and features a separate joystick and throttle with full HOTAS controls. You can adjust the sensitivity of the joystick and resistance of the throttle to customize your flight experience, and this set has an integrated 3.5mm headset jack as well.
If you’re looking to emulate the cockpit of a Boeing aircraft, then Logitech’s Flight Yoke System for PC is a good one to go with. It has a flight yoke and three-lever throttle as well as 25 programmable buttons, five axes, and an integrated USB hub.
This brand-new flight control system from Turtle Beach is officially licensed for Xbox Series X|S and PC and was designed specifically for Microsoft Flight Simulator. It features a true-to-life 180-degree yoke with built-in rudder controls, a modular throttle quadrant with an integrated trim wheel and custom levers, and a management display that gives you real-time alerts and other details as you fly. It connects easily via USB and releases in Fall 2021 for $350.
An upgraded version of the original X52, Logitech's G Saitek X52 Pro flight control system comes with a separate joystick and throttle and features illuminated buttons as well as an upgraded LCD display that shows in-game data. It also has a precision dual-spring centering mechanism that ensures the joystick returns to neutral position when let go, and its progressive throttle includes a tension dial for adjusting resistance. The handle is also very adjustable with five positions and contoured finger grips to customize your grip style. Though not compatible with Xbox at this time, the Logitech G Saitek X52 Pro is another great option for Flight Simulator on PC.
Microsoft Flight Simulator originally launched on PC, and controlling it with a mouse and keyboard will likely feel more natural than a controller. For that purpose, Microsoft recommends the Razer Turret, a wireless keyboard and mouse set that connects to your Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One with a 2.4GHz connection and adaptive frequency technology. The mouse pad is actually built-in and slides out from the right side of the keyboard, while the mouse boasts Razer’s 5G advanced optical sensor with a 16,000 DPI. The keyboard has a tenkeyless design with Razer mechanical switches. The Razer Turret works with a handful of other Xbox games as well, so you can potentially get plenty of use out of it beyond just piloting in Flight Simulator.
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