Since most of us can't readily cruise the skies in a real A-10C Warthog, however much we might desire, there's always the next best thing: the HOTAS WARTHOG Flight Stick and Throttle from Thrustmaster. This carefully crafted setup has the look, feel, and usability that might just make you wonder if it was pulled from the actual jet! In total, this setup from Thrustmaster features dual throttles with a metal hand rest, a weighted control panel underneath, and a detachable joystick that has a metal handle and a weighted base. Because it is USB-powered and plug-and-play, you can immediately get started. In terms of controller configuration and as a more advanced option, you can also use the free downloadable T.A.R.G.E.T software to test out and reprogram all of the controls on these components to your exact taste. You can even program keyboard functions into the controls.
With the software and hardware components, you will have a wide array of features designed to keep your "Hands-On-Throttle-And Stick" so that your gaming experience is as realistic, immersive, and keyboard-free as you like. The joystick boasts 19 action buttons and one 8-way "point of view" hat. Each of these buttons as well as the trigger requires an amount of pressure realistic to the actual Warthog aircraft's controls.
To ensure stellar precision, the joystick utilizes a so dubbed, "H.E.A.R.T HallEffect AccuRate Technology", or a magnetic sensor system that senses the position of the joystick as you use it. While many joysticks utilize mechanical sensors that physically wear down over time and end up degrading the precision of the joystick, Thrustmaster's use of magnetic sensors prevents mechanical friction. In turn, this lack of friction means that your joystick's precision remains stellar and intact over time. The level of precision is also enhanced by the absence of any dead zones, so that even the slightest movement of the joystick results in a reaction. Beyond these features, the joystick is 16-bit, has a 5-coil spring system, a detachable metal plate for desk or cockpit use, and a detachable handle that you can switch out with the HOTAS COUGAR handle. You can also switch your HOTAS WARTHOG handle with the HOTAS COUGAR joystick base as well.
A close second to the joystick, the Dual Throttles have a total of 17 action buttons. The Dual Throttles also have 1 mouse hat with a push button and one 8-way "point of view" hat. Each of these buttons requires an amount of pressure realistic to that of the actual Warthog's controls. Much like the joystick, the dual throttles also utilize the H.E.A.R.T HallEffect AccuRate Technology for ensuring stellar precision over time and eliminating the wear of mechanical friction.
In addition, the dual throttles feature a few different systems for extended realism. There's a locking system so that you can lock the throttles together and control both aircraft motors together. You can also unlock the throttles and use them to separately control each motor. Aside from that system, the throttles allow switching between IDLE and AFTERBURNER detents with a "Pull & Push" system like that found in the actual Warthog aircraft. As you use the Pull & Push system, you can also utilize a third system with the friction wheel attached on the control panel. It allows you to increase or decrease the amount of resistance you feel when moving the throttles. If you want more or less resistance to ensure better control, give that wheel a turn.
In terms of that control panel, you will have 15 action buttons as well as one TRIM wheel at your service. Like the throttles and joystick, these buttons require an amount of pressure comparable to that of the actual Warthog's controls. In addition, the panel features 5 programmable LEDs and adjustable backlighting in case you're in low-light conditions.
All told, the HOTAS WARTHOG Flight Stick and Throttle from Thrustmaster might be the next best option to actually flying but for flight simulators, consider it your first choice.