Flight Simulator X (FSX) is one of the most recognized flying simulators out there today. A couple of years ago, it was the #1 simulator you can get. Today, people all over the world still use it to fly their dream airline or fighter jet.
To play FSX, you do not need any other equipment. Just a proper computer is needed and you are all set. However, if you ask anyone that plays FSX, using a joystick (or yoke) is much better.
How To Fly Without It
In FSX, they are two ways you can control your aircraft.
FSX is set up so that if you press and hold down on an arrow button, the plane will turn based on the settings. For the default settings on a plane, the up and down arrows control the elevator, while the left and right arrows control the ailerons. The left rudder is 0 and the right rudder is enter. The problem using these controls is that they do not go back to the neutral position when the button is released. Imagine trying to turn your aircraft using this method. This is torture!
Another option is to use your mouse. This is better and easier to use than the keyboard controls. However, it takes away the “feel” of the aircraft. It can get really difficult to control if your screen is not fixed, which is never used by flight simmers.
These options should only be used if you do not have a joystick. What I am I trying to say? GET A JOYSTICK!
What Does A Joystick Do?
Some aircraft in the real world have a joystick so that pilots can make accurate controls. Helicopters, fighter jets and some commercial airliners have joysticks in their cockpit. For a simulator, this is what you want. The aim is to replicate as much as you can from the real aircraft.
A joystick used for flight simulator controls the elevators, ailerons and rudder. Depending on how you move it, you can change all three axes at once! Imagine doing this with a keyboard. Not very practicable!
How Does A Joystick Help?
A joystick allows you to be in control of your aircraft. For example, you are flying a plane and want to land at an airport. To get a good landing, you must be constantly be making adjustments as you fly. What is easier? using the keyboard arrows or a joystick?
I promise you that your landings WILL improve when a joystick is used. It is much easier to make the necessary corrections using this device than if you did not have it. You are going to wish you had it if your winds are set to high!
Why You NEED A Joystick
Let us say that you got FSX so that you can practice before you start flight school. If that is the case, then you need a joystick!
Flight training is not cheap. Improving your skills before you start your lessons can make training quicker, meaning you will save money. You will likely not improve your flying skills if you use a mouse or keyboard to fly in FSX. A joystick is your best bet.
Most joysticks today have additional functionality. Almost all have a lever for thrust and buttons for trim. Having these options will enhance your flight simulator experience.
Time To Take Control
FSX is not the only flight simulator out there. X-Plane, Prepared 3D and more recommend using a joystick. Once you start using a joystick, you will not like to use the keyboard or mouse to control your aircraft ever again!
Do you have a simulator? What hardware devices do you have? Let me know in the comments below!