While training in the Diamond DA-20, I’ve become very accustomed to using the control stick over a yoke. Since I built my home sim, I have been using a Saitek AV8R joystick rigged to the seat to act as the control stick, but it’s a very weak representation of the real thing. At the I/ITSEC show I recently attended, I noticed that most of the professional military simulators are using the HOTAS Warthog joystick with great success. The AV8R joystick I’m using is just too loose, there’s no spring action and it feels cheap. Although the HOTAS Warthog joystick is overkill for my needs, it works great, feels right and is way easier than trying to finish my own prototype. So, time to upgrade.
I had been experimenting with my own joystick modification, mostly to build much more tension into the design, so they stick would auto-center. This prototype is pretty ugly but it worked pretty well. Although, my fabrication skills don’t go much further than this, so it’s destined to be an ugly hack. I began with a Thrustmaster joystick base, removed the handle and extended it using some scrap tubing. After some careful soldering of way too many wires, it all came together and actually worked. From there, I had to figure out how to add tension to it, so I used some bungee cords. Using the Glowforge, I cut some wood panels and built a simple platform to limit the movement and give the bungees something to attach to. See pictures below.