Joystick?

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Razor34
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Joystick?

Post by Razor34 » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:20 pm

Do you have to have the HOTAS Cougar joystick?

EDIT: Sorry I was unclear, do you have to have that joystick to fly for the vThunderbirds?
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Thumper
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Post by Thumper » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:22 pm

Every member of the Virtual Thunderbird team uses the Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar.

That being said, you don't have to have one to try out for the team, but it was one of the first things I picked up when I got serious about formation flying. The HOTAS Cougar offers so much more precision for flying tight formations. You won't believe the difference until you experience it for yourself.
RED3|madmax
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Post by RED3|madmax » Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:03 am

Hi Thumper,

I've been flying formation flying for a year now and I started with X52. After it bit time I was getting problems with rudder was out of trim...just starting to getting worn.

I saved up and bought a Thrustmaster Cougar and use pedals for rudder now.

My first impression when I took it out the box is it was stunning!

After setting it up and trying diffrent curves for formation flying. Please no disrespect here maybe I'm doing somithing wrong... but has to be the biggest waste of money I've ever spent. After about 30mins of formation flying my arm is killing and can't fly anymore, also I must be the most unstable formation pilot when we are training. I've spent the last 4 months adjusting curves and no matter what curves I use it's never as good as X52.

I've watched you guys at VFAT and your flying was nice and tight and I can't belive it's flying with the Cougar.
Now I've been told there is mod to adjust the springs which makes it easier to fly. This mod is apparently over £100 !!!!!!!

Do all the VTB use the standard Cougars are they all using the mod?

I've had a look at the Foxy software which is rather complicated but not done anything with it.

At the moment I'm saving for a X52 Pro (just the same as X52 but metal based) as it's got to stage I don't even won't to fly in training sessions now as it's not fun anymore.


Cheers

Madmax
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Lawndart
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Post by Lawndart » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:05 pm

@RED 3|madmax, appologize that it took so long for anyone here to answer your post.

Most of us started with the OOTB ("out of the box") Cougar, but have since spent many dollars on aftermarket mods designed specifically for the Cougar.

There are quite a number of mods for the Cougar, one of them being the NXT mod (spring mod) you were referring to.

Most of the VTB guys use one of the FSSB mods by Realsimulator. It is basically a force plate that measures pressure rather than movement when making inputs - making it behave very similar to the real stick in the F-16 that hardly moves either. The handle has no motion... so the stick doesn't move. For us it's all about making it more realistic, but it also has a hefty pricetag of course.

The FSSB R1 costs 320€ and the FSSB R2 450€. Throw in some additional mods such as a Hall Sensor for the throttle and rudder pedals, metal casings for the dogfight and speedbrake switches, screw kit for the handle, friction tape for the throttle etc. and my current Kitty setup runs over ~$1,000 USD in today's exchange rate (incl. the Cougar itself).

Having said that, it is not the stick that makes the pilot, but at the same time there are obviously well documented short comings in most of today's joysticks, and the OOTB Cougar is no exception. One of the main reasons I prefer it is because it's limitless as far as modding-, cockpit building- and it's the only joystick that has the potential to be "as real as it gets". Foxy is also a much more customizable programming tool, although with a steeper learning curve than most software bundeled with other joysticks. It allows the programming of macros, but takes a bit of reading up and playing around with to learn. In the end there are no guarantees that the flying will be any easier though with all this jazz. The only way to overcome that obstacle is through practice, patience and persistence, but you can rest assured that your hardware is "as real as it gets" whenever you strap the jet on.

The reason our flying looks so disciplined and precise in videos, or live at VFAT for example is mainly because an astonishing amount of practice hours accumulated over the years, and not because of any silver bullet in form of a flight controller. Although given the passion we put into our hobby most of us felt justified in spending our money on something we love to do, and spend so much time doing. Since investing in the Cougar (and mods) I haven't spent hardly another dime on my flight controller(s) for three years running now.

Choice is a good thing, and to me, the Cougar offered more options than any other joystick and ultimately the most realistic experience.

For more info on the Cougar, FSSB etc. check the MOAS thread.
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kerdougan
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Post by kerdougan » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:15 pm

I agree with Lawndart on many points but I'd like to add a few things. I started with the X52 which is really great for starting. But the real question when you buy a HOTAS is: What are you expecting from it? After a while I started to fly really well with the X52 but I didn't really "feel" the plane. You'll maybe find it strange but I like to have a plane that "talks" to me. And for that you need to feel your effort on the stick. The X52 won't allow you the do that because it's really not hard enough. That's what I was looking for with the Cougar and I found it great. I flew about 4 months with the stock version in the slot position of the Patrouille Suisse Virtuelle. It took me a while to master it but after countless hours of tries and settings I was in heaven with a fully responsive and precise stick. Sure your arm could be painful in the beginning, but with time your forearm will become stronger and it will be ok. You will really feel the plane, if it's slow you'll feel it heavier, if it's fast you feel it really light. Same thing with pulling G's.

As Lawndart said, it takes patience and determination because you'll have many occasions to hate it. But it's really worth the investment.

At the mid-season I switched to leader's left wing and I had 4 months before the next show (live in a Swiss convention). So I modded the Cougar with the FSSB, as the VTB have done. I had to restart all over again. How to set it in multiple ways, how to handle it, how to integrate it in my cockpit despite the efforts on it. It took me more than one month, but my flying never where that good.

And guess what after VFAT? With the VTB's help I found out that I had a bad setting from the beginning on my roll axis and now it's getting better and better.

So my point is: If you really want to have the best HOTAS there is AND if you really want to feel your plane AND if you have time and passion for setting it up properly, the Cougar is for you. Otherwise take an X52 Pro and it will do the job as far as it can. It's a good HOTAS, but it's not the best.
The Jet-E-Sons
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Post by Thunderbird » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:07 pm

Lawndart wrote:@RED 3|madmax, appologize that it took so long for anyone here to answer your post.

Most of us started with the OOTB ("out of the box") Cougar, but have since spent many dollars on aftermarket mods designed specifically for the Cougar.

There are quite a number of mods for the Cougar, one of them being the NXT mod (spring mod) you were referring to.

Most of the VTB guys use one of the FSSB mods by Realsimulator. It is basically a force plate that measures pressure rather than movement when making inputs - making it behave very similar to the real stick in the F-16 that hardly moves either. The handle has no motion... so the stick doesn't move. For us it's all about making it more realistic, but it also has a hefty pricetag of course.

The FSSB R1 costs 320€ and the FSSB R2 450€. Throw in some additional mods such as a Hall Sensor for the throttle and rudder pedals, metal casings for the dogfight and speedbrake switches, screw kit for the handle, friction tape for the throttle etc. and my current Kitty setup runs over ~$1,000 USD in today's exchange rate (incl. the Cougar itself).

Having said that, it is not the stick that makes the pilot, but at the same time there are obviously well documented short comings in most of today's joysticks, and the OOTB Cougar is no exception. One of the main reasons I prefer it is because it's limitless as far as modding-, cockpit building- and it's the only joystick that has the potential to be "as real as it gets". Foxy is also a much more customizable programming tool, although with a steeper learning curve than most software bundeled with other joysticks. It allows the programming of macros, but takes a bit of reading up and playing around with to learn. In the end there are no guarantees that the flying will be any easier though with all this jazz. The only way to overcome that obstacle is through practice, patience and persistence, but you can rest assured that your hardware is "as real as it gets" whenever you strap the jet on.

The reason our flying looks so disciplined and precise in videos, or live at VFAT for example is mainly because an astonishing amount of practice hours accumulated over the years, and not because of any silver bullet in form of a flight controller. Although given the passion we put into our hobby most of us felt justified in spending our money on something we love to do, and spend so much time doing. Since investing in the Cougar (and mods) I haven't spent hardly another dime on my flight controller(s) for three years running now.

Choice is a good thing, and to me, the Cougar offered more options than any other joystick and ultimately the most realistic experience.

For more info on the Cougar, FSSB etc. check the MOAS thread.
Which one is the VTB using? FSSB R1 or FSSB R2?
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Panther
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Post by Panther » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:34 pm

Some have the R1 others have the R2. I personally have the R2 mod.
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Post by Thunderbird » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:52 pm

So, is the R2 compatible with all games, including LOMAC & Falcon AF?
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Panther
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Post by Panther » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:13 pm

There is no compatibility issues with the MOD. The only difference between the R1 and R2 is, R2 is more precise (but most likely not noticeable for games), has a longer warranty and cost quite a bit more.
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Post by Thunderbird » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:25 pm

Sounds good, I think I might be getting one but I have a doubt, the OOTB comes with thrust controller right? How about the R2, does it come with the complete set?

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Lawndart
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Post by Lawndart » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:05 am

HOTAS Cougar = FLCS (Stick) AND TQS (Throttle)

FSSB (R1 or R2) = Addon/mod for the HOTAS Cougar consisting of a strain guage/force sensor that replaces the insides of the Cougar FLCS. (You must own a HOTAS Cougar unit first)!
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