For when you feel the need for speed, this specialised flight simulator controller is the real deal (Kelly McGillis not included).
Tom Cruise has a lot to answer for. Thanks to his performance as Maverick in Top Gun, there's a whole generation of thirty-somethings who secretly dream of becoming fighter pilots. Sadly, their chances of becoming a pilot are only slightly worse than their chances of making out with Kelly McGillis. However, Thrustmaster is giving wannabe pilots the next best thing with this 100% accurate HOTAS (Hands On Throttle and Stick) replica of the A-10C aircraft.
It's designed specifically for use with the flight simulator DCS A-10C (available here
). Based on our time with this game, it's fair to say it's the most accurate combat jet simulator ever made, with nearly every switch, weapon system and avionics suite present and correct. It's a highly-complex cockpit to learn, and, after reading the 700-page manual, it’s become clear that the only way to fly it is with this amazing HOTAS kit.
Built from incredibly sturdy steel, this kit could withstand a direct hit from a Maverick missile and still keep on flying. It's literally festooned with dozens of switches, sliders and hats, allowing virtual pilots to control nearly every function of the A-10C without taking their hands off the HOTAS. Gone are the days of joystick programming - just plug it in, and the game automatically detects it.
Our only problem with the stick is the absence of a set of pedals, as well as no force feedback - both features that would have been really nice to have at this price point. Regardless, this is still the ultimate gadget for the sim pilot in your life - buy this as a gift and you can expect brownie points until the real A-10C has long been mothballed.Available from Thrustmaster, retailing for $699.95.APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)