Joysticks For Flight Simulation: Using A Lever To Fly A Plane!

Saitek X45

The X45 system is clearly designed for flight simulation, with the joystick's shape being clearly reminiscent of that on a jet fighter. The whole device looks appealing in metallic blue with orange detailing. This joystick offers a plethora of buttons and two directional hats, while the throttle incorporates two wheels, mouse emulation and a rudder bar placed behind the hand-rest. The system is very comfortable to the hand, at least to start with. The traditional trigger has a smooth action, but a push-button located lower down to be used by the little finger is problematic.

In fact, it is pretty difficult to arrange your five fingers in their designated positions, making this second button difficult to activate. Furthermore, two of the buttons are easily within range of the thumb, but the second directional hat and the missile-launching button are both inaccessible without having to put yourself through highly unnatural contortions. This button is protected by a safety device which is supposed to imitate those on the launchers of real fighter planes. However, the device gets in the way during a simulation, unless it has been activated from the beginning. Either Saitek's designers couldn't avoid making their product look like a toy, or they have spent too much time watching Top Gun.