Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar: The Luxury Joystick!

Axes Galore!

Opening the Cougar control panel reveals the amazing profusion of analog axes (beyond the basic X, Y and Z axes) offered by this joystick that are essential for handling roll, pitch and engine. In addition to the microstick, which is equipped with the two axes of a standard joystick, the control column has two further analog axes on the radar range regulator button, and the directional antenna button. But since the Cougar has no rudder control, it is almost impossible to control yaw, a serious defect. It is possible, however, to attach a rudder bar to the base of the control column, using a standard 15-pin connector (of any make). This will require an additional investment of course, but there’s some good news-the rudder signal is handled electronically by the Cougar, which allows it to take advantage of the auto-calibration system shared by all the other axes. You can also calibrate each axis manually, if you aren’t satisfied with the accuracy of the auto-calibration.

But Thrustmaster does not stop there. Thanks to the control panel, you can modify the response curve for each axis separately, and adjust the neutral zones at the extremities of movement and when idling. You can then record each adjustment profile and load them depending upon the simulator in use. Even better, the response curve of an axis can be changed in real time while you are in flight. Imagine that you are getting ready to land, a maneuver that requires very delicate handling to remain level and prevent pitching and rolling. By pressing a series of keys on the keyboard, you can immediately switch to a different adjustment of the response curve on the X axes of your joystick, so that you can make tiny corrections to the roll. This is something that has never been seen before in gaming controllers !