View Full Version : Flightsticks, my experience and reflections

02-06-2006, 08:32 PM
Having played this game for several years now, I'd like to share my experience up to my current status. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
When I started, I had an old TopGun USB flight stick and it served me well playing such games as the FreeSpace series of games, MechWarrior series, etc. When I first started playing the Original Il2 game, it was unlike any I experienced before. But I also remember the frustration of the difficulty flying the planes as it required precise control that my flight stick was not capable of for the following reasons. For the first time I discovered my Topgun stick was wearing out and never realized that before it would do this. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

So off to the store to purchase another one and this one was a TopGun II USB, nearly the same one I already had. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
Needless to say, it worked well but well for only a year's worth of Flying on the Il2 series of games! Frustrated my flying was getting more erratic, I first thought it was the game's updates. But flying the game on my Dad's system who just happens to have the same setup convinced me my stick was once again going wacko. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-mad.gif
So there I sat, wondering what my next move should be. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif
Should I try another $50 USD Topgun II fighterstick and hope it last longer. Or should I try something new?
Time to do some internet research and investigating! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif
Reading back on some threads here and elsewhere, I discovered that many others have had experiences nearly as I did which is comforting somewhat! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/34.gif
But the underlying thing I found out was most ended up purchasing a much more expensive flight stick than what I was willing to do. To their credit, they also felt happy and glad they did due to several things. But would I be also?

One was the better control over the flight of the aircraft. Another was more features such as more controls for trimming of the rudder, trim tabs, etc the "Normal" flight stick I always had. Lastly, they also said they lasted much longer. Years for some! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif
So I did the math in 5 seconds and determined that I would SAVE money in the long run purchasing something more substantial than what I previously had.
So what to get now?

Well, there were several quality brands out there, two of them became my selected choices.
CH Products and Seitek was the other.
Browsing a major electronics store, I came upon the CH Fighterstick for $99.00 USD and thought this would be good. So I made my purchase and made a beeline for home! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
Loaded it up and got in IL2 and BAM! No rudder control! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif
Reading the instructions (Ya know, the wordy stuff we all like to read sometime later when we are bored) and discovered it's NOT a TWISTY! STICK! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif
And to add insult, NO Throttle like my TopGun II had! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif
Double OOPS! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

After my head quit hurting from all that self inflicted banging, I put the stick away for later when I could afford the rudder peddles and throttle which would be another $99.00 or so! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-mad.gif
Anyhow, one day very close to Christmas, having gotten everyone in family taken care of, I saw the Saitek X52 in another major store.
Pondering what to do, and well getting the itchy finger to fly again, I went ahead and purchased that just because it was a Twisty AND also had a throttle too! It WAS Christmas afterall! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif
Leaving the store with a $126 USD hole in my wallet, I made (another) beeline for home! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Installed software, installed USB connection and lookie at them purdy blue lights on the stick and throttle! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif
Man was that a good omen or what? First off, I got the Saitek program software launched in anticipation of configuring my stick in about 5 min or so. WRONG! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif
Once I opened it up, I was confronted with more squares and rectangle boxes than I ever seen! OOPS! Plan B! (makes mental note to configure this at a later date!)
After clicking off the program, I went ahead and launched IL2 just to see if it would work anyway. Once loaded, I got in a quicky secession and flew my favorite Rusky plane I knew so very well, the La-7. Uber or not, it's what I like to fly so stick your opinion up your left nostril! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/mockface.gif

Once launched, the plane flew kinda funny and noticed it wanted to roll to the right. So after some 20 min of configuring the flight stick, this 44 year old kid was grinning ear to ear! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif MAN! what fun I was having flying under bridges, between smoke stacks! and even went through a flight hanger screamin like a cowboy about to wet in his pants! YEEEEEEHAWWWWWWW!
It's all FUN again! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

So, after spending all that money was it worth it?
I'm pretty sure you know that by now. What about the CH Fighterstick I have? I'll get the throttle and peddles later when I'm rich and see how that works out. Expensive? Of course it is, but then you MUST ask yourself, how much fun do you want to have and for how long? If your like me and addicted to this game, then you already know the answer. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
So my recommendation is if you care and are tired of the frustration of your flying skills consider purchasing a better flight stick setup. You'll be glad you did!
This is my opinion and I'm stickin to it!

02-07-2006, 04:59 AM
Good story. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif A testimony to the utmost importance of a good stick.

The people who don't know about the frustration caused by a misbehaving stick, simply don't know how lucky they are.

02-07-2006, 05:16 AM
Couldn't agree more. When I started playing this Sim a little over a year and a half ago I had started out with a hand-me-down Cyborg 3D, now wait it gets better it was GAMEPORT! and thoroughly worn out too boot. I would regulary pull it a apart clean the pots etc, and continue to fight with it(literally) while I flew trying to avoid the looming cost of replacement knowing full well I was addicted to this sim now and no cheap replacement would suffice. In the end I did settle on the X-52(cost be dammed) as I was trained on the twisty rudder and Man those pretty blue lights sure looked attractive.
I couldnt be happier with my purchase and now I fight the enemy not my stick.(okay I fight the wobbles but NM thathttp://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif )

TgD Thunderbolt56
02-07-2006, 06:33 AM
Good story and I'm sure reflective of what many have had to endure to satisfy their flight-sim habit. Funny thing is, though, that there have been myriad threads here regarding stick performances/differences and some light reading/research through these forums (look at Tully's sig) could have likely saved you some self-inflicted headaches.

IMO, your best bet would be to return the X52 and go ahead and spring for some rudder pedals (that'll still leave you with $20 or so to put towards a throttle if you're frugal! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif). Combined with the Fighterstick, you're more than on your way to consolidating the best flight controller you'll ever use...and likely the last.


02-07-2006, 10:00 AM
Whoa, I thought the CH Fighterstick had both a throttle and a twisty rudder. I was thinking about ordering one. I am rethinking that decision now. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

02-07-2006, 10:33 AM
I would just add pedals to your X-52 and lock the twist.I would like to get pedals in the near future to do just that with.

02-07-2006, 11:16 AM
When you have the cash get a set of CH pedals and you have the perfect set up. I had CH fighter stick and pedals for some four years. I added last year the x45 throttle in the mix and is great. The hardware and software works happy together. I was thinking to get CH throttle but i like the rotaries on the Saitek throttle for prop pitch and trim.
My pedals were died slowly so I went and got a new CH set last night. Happy camper again. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

02-07-2006, 12:15 PM
I've been flying with a topgun fox 2 pro for about two years with it. Lately I noticed all kinds of wobbles and stallouts! I decided to open the bottom of the stick and sprayed a goodly amount of electronic cleaner on the potentiometer. Result: Just like brand new! Sometimes no matter how good the stick they will need a cleaning.

02-07-2006, 03:19 PM
Just out of interest, Im still useing the original Thrustmaster WCS mk2 I brought for $500NZ 11 or 12 years ago, it gets massive amounts of use and abuse (still ripping it off the desk when things get hairy) it is gameport, as is the FLCS that is equally as old. Ive tryed the newer sticks - Cougar, X52, and to be honest theres no way Ill change untill absolutly forced too, totally dependable, accuret HOTAS system. I consider myself very lucky, and very satisfied with the original purchuse.

02-07-2006, 05:14 PM
and go ahead and spring for some rudder pedals (that'll still leave you with $20 or so to put towards a throttle if you're frugal! Cool).

Mmm, get the CH Rudder Pedal, take the $20 and enjoy some beer. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif And mod one old Top Gun in throtle.

I love these mods. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif