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Best flight stick for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Amaar Chowdhury Updated on by

With the best flight stick for the Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can improve the realism of the game and your flying ability in it.

With the 2021 release of Microsoft Flight Simulator and the release of the 40th Anniversary Edition in November last year, a joystick might just be the cherry on top of the cake.

This article might seem too niche but with the recent news that Microsoft Flight Simulator reached 10 million total players, that has been proved wrong. With regular free DLC its popularity is going nowhere. Each and everyone one of those pilots could and should be playing the game with a flight stick.

Trying to fly with a keyboard and mouse is frustrating, to say the least – there’s little question as to why mechanical keyboards aren’t used in Boeing 747s.

And, if you’ve read our guide on the best racing wheels for Forza, you know just how important the right apparatus is in enjoying simulation games as much as possible. After you’ve settled on the best flight stick, you might then be interested in the best monitor for Microsoft Flight Simulator to completely immerse yourself in the game.


Using a flight stick for these games is therefore highly recommended, and we’ll walk you through picking the best one.

Best flight sticks for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Best realistic flight stick for Microsoft Flight Simulator – Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick

The Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog
Check price: Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick at Amazon

If you know your military aircraft, you’d be forgiven for thinking this flight stick was stripped from the cockpit of an A-10 Thunderbolt and that’s because it’s an identical replica.

Designed to best recreate the tactile experience of handling an aircraft, this flight stick is unforgiving and the experience will push you far out of your comfort zone.

Alongside the joystick, you’ll be happy to receive a dual throttle system and control panel.

Due to its realistic specificity, we deem this flight stick unsuitable for beginners. The price is hardly inviting either, though if you’re a seasoned veteran of the flight sim community, you’re likely to be aware of the cost of enjoying this pleasure.

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Regardless, if you’re prepared to spend big, and prepared to take the time to learn the controls, this flight stick’s realism and accuracy are huge factors weighing in favor of it.

Another compelling argument for the Warthog is the T.A.R.G.E.T interfacing software, allowing you precision and freedom in calibrating a control set best suited to the vehicle, or game, that you’re simulating.

Check the price of the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick here

Best joystick for Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox – VelocityOne Flight Control System

Check price: VelocityOne Flight Control System at Amazon

VelocityOne is a very consumer-friendly product. Noticeably, the flight stick has a much more digestible interface than the Thrustmaster Warthog.

Rather than a singular joystick, the VelocityOne’s controlled by a 180° yoke handle, providing what we think is a much more comfortable and enjoyable experience to flight sim with.

To the right of the handle is a modular throttle hub, allowing the user to customize and calibrate the physical controller to the needs of the vehicle.

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Another hugely welcome feature is the dash panel behind the controller, allowing users to receive live, physical updates on the condition of their simulated vehicle.

And then, perhaps the best design addition, there is a 320 x 230 px display on the handle. The Flight Management Display is used for, as the name suggests, flight management, and so a useful handful of information lives there.

For a more in-depth review, click here.

To check the price of the VelocityOne Flight Control System, click here.

Best flight stick for Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC – Logitech G X56

Check price: The Logitech G X56 at Amazon

At an affordable price, you can grab yourself a great HOTAS flight controller in the Logitech G X56.

Unlike the Gladiator NXT Evo, the G X56 is ready to play MFS straight out of the box. This is a huge benefit as it reduces the tedious technical floundering before you get to enjoy the sim experience.

In terms of appearance, this flight controller is my favorite of the bunch. With a sleek, matte finish, you really feel like you’re holding a quality product in your hands.

Clean bevels are finished by RGB ring lighting meaning that you can still use the controller in the dark – an optimum environment to enjoy flight simulation games.

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Further enhancing the realism are the metal knobs and dials, really emphasizing this flight stick’s attention to detail and life-likeness.

Boasting over 189 different controls, this joystick really packs a remarkable amount of quality into an incredibly affordable product.

Performance-wise, controlling the stick is smooth and comfortable, and reaching all of the buttons and triggers isn’t a difficulty due to the ergonomic design.

You can check the price of the Logitech G X56 here.

Best budget flight stick for Microsoft Flight Simulator – Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One

Check price: Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One at Amazon

If you’ve read our best racing wheels for Forza guide, you’ll know that Thrustmaster is an absolute bastion of quality with respect to making simulation controllers.

Both high-end and budget friendly, they offer a really varied product range. They are really to be trusted in their production values, so when they release a HOTAS controller in such an attractive price range, you should probably snap it up.

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Ergonomically designed, the throttle can be detached from the joystick with relative ease. This is handy if you’re trying to be economical with desk-use, which we highly recommend when playing simulation games.

The controller has been designed with Xbox consoles in mind, and so contains their proprietary buttons.

The joystick enjoys movement in five different axes, which is a sufficient range for Microsoft Flight Simulator, whilst also donning a trigger amongst other buttons.

Another great aspect is it belongs to the Thrustmaster ecosystem, which means this can be configured with Thrustmaster rudder pedals, further enhancing your immersion.

Check out the price of the Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas One.

Best branded joystick for Microsoft Flight Simulator – Thrustmaster TCA Sidekick Airbus

Check price: Thrustmaster TCA Sidekick Airbus at Amazon

You’d think we were trying to sell something, the number of times we’ve sung the name Thrustmaster in this list.

Regardless, the TCA Sidekick Airbus is an extremely affordable yet useful controller. The unusual fact that it only costs a few dollars less than the actual game is a sign you should probably start out with this. Anything more is overkill for now.

This controller is ultra-simplistic, simulating the experience of flying an airbus rather than a fighter jet. Though, that is not to say that flying an airbus is simple.

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With a price and design such as this, it is understandably aimed at beginners simply interested in the simulation experience.

Handling the joystick is a simpler experience than other complicated HOTAS controllers, so it’s definitely a trade-off that is welcomed depending on the type of in-game flying you expect to do.

As with the VKB Gladiator NXT EVO, this flight stick has a thruster wheel embezzled into the base, rather than a dedicated thruster. Saving on space, you are sacrificing a core component in the simulation experience.

However, if you do decide to follow up on this extremely budget friendly, you are guaranteed to have an absorbing experience without having to faff around with too many technicalities.

What to consider when buying a flight stick?

Flight sticks come in many different shapes and sizes: some are based on realistic flight controllers, and others are instead abstracted to the demands of video-gaming.

Ranging in prices, a flight stick’s simplicity might benefit the casual pilot – though a veteran flyer may opt for more control, and thus, more complication.

Throttle Control

It’s important to decide on what type of throttle you would like. A dedicated throttle controller (H.O.T.A.S) may benefit those with an eye on realism, though a more casual pilot may choose a joystick with integrated throttle control.


You may be wondering what this acronym means: Hands-on throttle and stick.

This is important as a dedicated H.O.T.A.S system is more complex than an integrated throttle and joystick.

Best set-up for Microsoft Flight Simulator

If you’re in the market for a new set-up to play Microsoft Flight Simulator, and you’re not sure what Flight Controller to grab, you’re also probably wondering what console or PC you need to best enjoy the game.

There’s actually a huge range of things to consider.

  • Gaming PC
  • Gaming Chair
  • Gaming Monitor
  • Sound

Gaming PC

You’re probably planning to play on a gaming PC or Xbox. If you’re in the market for a new Gaming PC, you’re in luck as Black Friday is just around the corner.

With new Ryzen 7000 CPUs and GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs soon to populate the PC hardware market, we could be seeing great Black Friday gaming deals on Ryzen CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs.

Alternatively, if you’re not looking to faff about building your own PC, you might want to grab a pre-built gaming PC, of which we have a great Black Friday selection from iBUYPOWER and Cyberpower.

Gaming Chair

A gaming chair is quintessential for your gaming set-up, especially when you’re playing a game as physically interactive as Microsoft Flight Sim. You’ll want something comfortable and easily maneuverable so you can best immerse yourself in the game.

We highly recommend anything from Secretlab’s gaming chair range.

Gaming Monitor

When thinking about a monitor for a Flight Simulator set-up, we think that looking to grab an ultrawide monitor is the most appropriate option. They are the most immersive and offer a great range of dynamic peripheral vision.

Alternatively, you could think about a regular 4K gaming monitor and positioning multiple to create a multiscreen experience.


We can recommend grabbing either gaming speakers or a quality sound bar for your flight sim set-up. A sound bar might be the best option as you can experience really immersive dynamic sound that will only complement the experience.

Alternatively, you might be interested in looking for headphones and headsets for your set up.

The best Flight Simulator controls

As mentioned above, these are our selected best Flight Simulator controls that we’d recommend to anyone looking to build an immersive Flight Simulator set-up.

We’ve recommended this selection as it covers a range of immersions, realisms, price ranges including budget and high-end, and also a range of system compatibilities.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of those rare games that invite non-gamers into the community. Often the most seasoned Flight Sim veterans are those who have sunk hours into mastering control of a Boeing 747 but have never even attempted to play another game. For that reason, we’ve made sure to devise a comprehensive list that will help out anyone.

What to do before buying a joystick?

Aside from the flight stick, you have to consider your hardware and the game’s specifications.

Rendering lifelike city-scapes for you to soar through is no small feat. Your computer’s capabilities must be adequate for you to simulate the flying experience fully.

Building your own gaming PC can be a time-consuming process, especially if you’re itching to get into the cockpit. We might recommend buying a pre-built gaming PC and if that’s the case, check out this Gaming PC deal we’ve found.

Another crucial element in the flight-sim experience is playing on a 4K gaming monitor. You may opt for ultrawide or multiple monitors.

Once your gaming set-up is configured, you’re ready to start looking for a flight stick.

Here’s an overview of our selection:

  • Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick
  • Turtle Beach VelocityOne Universal Flight System
  • Logitech G X56
  • Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best Flight Simulator controls?

What does HOTAS mean?

Hands-on throttle and stick.

How do I set up a flight stick controller with Microsoft Flight Simulator?

After plugging in your flight stick to your computer or Xbox, you will likely have to configure it. This may have to be done both in a software interface for the controller and in the game.

Is Flight Simulator better with a joystick?

Yes – not only is the game more realistic, and allows you to feel more immersed in the simulator, it is also designed to be played with one.

What is a flight stick?

Flight sticks are input gaming devices that help to simulate the flight sticks that pilots use to fly planes, allowing for quick and accurate control during flight/gaming sessions.

Do flightsticks have force feedback?

Unlike racing wheels, most flightsticks don’t have force feedback. Some flightsticks, like the Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback Pro have this feature, though it may not work on all games.

What Flight Stick is best for Xbox Series X?

If you’re playing Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox Series X, we recommend the Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas One – a brilliant value option boasting a comfortable ergonomic design, throttle and joy stick.

Is the Thrustmaster TCA officer Pack Airbus edition compatible with Xbox?

Yes, the Thrustmaster TCA officer Pack Airbus edition is compatible with Xbox as well as PC.