GAS advice: MFG Pedals vs Virpil Throttle vs PointCTRL

Do you know the feeling when the days get short, dark and wet? I have seen some of you getting it too. When the heating goes on again for the first time in months, and preparations for the holidays start to appear…

I mean the feeling of wanting to spend an ungodly amount of money to improve the flight sim setup of course!

The contenders

I am thinking of one of the three products mentioned in the title:
MFG Crosswind pedals with damper ~ €350
Virpil T-50CM3 throttle ~ €350
PointCTRL ~ €200

Current setup

I currently use a center-mounted Virpil T-50 stick on an extension, a Thrustmaster T.16000m TWCS throttle and the old T16k stick as radar control stick and extra buttons.
Saitek Rudder Pedals.
HP Reverb G2.

At the moment I am mainly flying jet fighters but I go back and forth and fly helicopters about half the time. And then once a year I will fly a bit of Elite Dangerous for a few weeks.

Pedals

My Saitek pedals are OK really. The spring deadzone is bigger than the sensors’, which can be annoying and of course it is not very smooth. When I flew almost exclusively helicopters, this would have made a lot of sense but now that I fly mainly the MiG-15, Mirage F1, 2000C and F-14, the Saiteks are good enough really.

  • smoother and more precise rudder
  • Damper & removable spring nice for helicopters
  • con: probably require some woodwork

Throttle

The T16k is reasonably well equipped with various buttons on the throttle (3 momentary, 3x 4-way, 1x 2-way and a slider and a mini-stick with push), but it is still a single throttle, not split, and there are no buttons on the base. Some rotary encoders for the radio channels and some toggle switches would sure be nice! It is also still a bit sticky, despite adding felt to the rails contact points and setting it to the lowest resistance.

I am also happily surprised that when Virpil recently announced a pricing change, they lowered prices instead of raising them.

  • Smoother sliding
  • Rotary encoders and nice buttons on base
  • Split throttles
  • Free up T16k HOTAS to pass along
  • pro/con: adjustable detents good for jets, annoying for helicopters?

PointCTRL

I currently use a mouse on my desk to click on switches in cockpits but it is annoying and actually very hard when I have to click on something to my lower right: the arm gets in the way of the headset.
Thus PointCTRL would be really nice. The question is, how much does it complicate setting up my pc for flight sims? Wires etc.

  • Immersion
  • No more neck-breaking
  • con: Additional setup?

So what is your advice? I know @Victork2 has the Virpil throttle, @schurem has PointCTRL and many of you have MFG Crosswinds.

Initially it seemed like PointCTRL was the obvious choice and the throttle too expensive but as I’m listing all the small advantages for the throttle, they start to add up.

Btw not planning to buy right now but maybe around Black Friday or later

2 Likes

All good choices. They are that good that I wouldn’t easily recomend one over the other.

I’m leaning the throttle for two reasons: 1) the thing will allow you to play the piccolo, do HOTAS things with jets such as the hog, the viper or the hornet far better with it’s analogue slew control and antenna rotary. But I know you. You loathe things with targeting pods. You are one of those freaks who believe Real Men™ fire salvoes of rockets on a fixed depressed pipper. So perhaps this reason is not as important as it would be for some geek who gets off dropping high tech weaponry that costs as much as a house per drop on toyotas and stone age fortifications. Reason 2) is to do with the passing on of the old HOTAS. You have people around you who like the sim. They will be able to make use of it, and if not them, then someone who’s seen them at it.

Now for the sort of flying you seem to love most, the pedals would actually be the top buy. Precise rudder control makes a large difference to operating non-FBW jets at the edge of their envelopes. It also makes helos more fun. The MFG pedals are excellent. I own a used pair, and they are as good now as they were the day I got them.

The PointCTRL I must admit, I rarely use mine anymore. It is fiddly to set up and use, and often I do not have the time and inclination to get another thing right before taking off. The ring(s, I wear mine hardly on the right almost always on the left) tends to get slightly uncomfortable as well. It is hella immersive though, and precise enough to operate things like the balalaika, the hornet or the hip.

4 Likes

I had no idea the PointCTRL was so difficult to use. I can really imagine not using it much if it is a hassle to set up (or worse: flying less because it is a hassle to set up).

You make a good point about the throttle. Though the T16K also has quite some HOTAS buttons (3x momentary, 3x 4-way, 1x 2-way, 1x mini-stick with push), the Mirage 2000C and Tomcat have plenty of uses for more switches, especially toggle, rotary and mode, on the base.
Although aside from the Tomcat and the occasional Fulcrum/Flanker flight, most of what I fly is single engine. Doesn’t hurt to be prepared for the Intruder though. And yes passing the HOTAS along will be nice. I can live without simulating the fiddly radar stick of the Mirage F1 (have you looked at how it twists and moves? Crazy)

And yes I probably underestimate how much difference the pedals will make in ‘manual’ jets

2 Likes

Throttle. Every single time.

I think of losing or changing or upgrading any of my admittedly spartan set up and the one thing i absolutely cannot live without is my throttle

I can do the same stuff with my t16k pedals and stick as i can with my x56. But the one thing i would absolutely not change or be without is my throttle.

Not just for sentimental reasons (as that was a big part of buying that particular exact throttle) but its a total game changer when it comes to flying tomcats. Every single thing is easier, less forced and smoother.

The stick upgrade from 16k - x56 made a 20 percent difference in my smoothness and precision. But the throttle is totally night and day compared to the 16k throttle.

I use every single function on it. All the time. It really is that good.

Ive toyed with changing my pedals and getting a better set and i probably will at Christmas. But i absolutely NEED my throttle now.

Plus its a special one and its special to me. I even still box it up after i finish flying to keep it clean.

Get a throttle @freak seriously

3 Likes

OK I’m almost convinced. What do you do with the detents though? Especially for use as a collective in helicopters

1 Like

I’d get all three! :smiley:

I don’t know how old you are @Freak but I’m 55. My wife and I have saved a nice nest egg over the years and I’m still working hard for that skrilla! :slight_smile: I keep telling my wife that I need to work till I’m 65 because I have expensive habits LOL! My wife agrees. She retired at 55 just before the onset of COVID … just unbelievable timing. :+1:

Anyhoo, these days I just buy anything and everything that interests me at the drop of a hat. It beats dying in a fiery crash tomorrow ha ha! Ya gotta treat yourself to the finer things in life while you have it.

2 Likes

I personally scale the throttle input in game so that it all happens without going into the detents for piston engined aircraft, for choppers I tend to keep the detent because I use throttle forward = collective down and having the detent there makes me be very sure I want to put the collective to the floor. But you could just use the same input scaling trick.

In IL2 great battles it’s one of the deadzones that you want to play with, I really like their way of visualising the output - you can just tweak the deadzones until the needle is doing what you want and basically ignore the “input” scale. Cliffs of Dover is similar but the visualisation isn’t as good.

With DCS you pretty much have to use a “user curve”, my throttle (Winwing Orion) seems to have the detent at 80% which makes the math for the user curve pretty easy.

1 Like

@Freak I can’t really help, but from what I have read those are all solid choices.

My Warthog is still going strong after nearly 10 years - I wore the paint off the trigger years ago and the only thing that ‘broke’ was one of the wires in the base for the PS2 handle connector, but a re-solder and blob of hot glue fixed that. If (when?) my HOTAS needs replacing it will probably be with a Virpil stick and throttle.

I did replace my CH Pro pedals at the start of the year… bloody things are ancient and just won’t die, but I found I was missing that fine rudder control (especially for the Apache). I bought the TM pendular pedals and very happy with them, but they are pricy and I wish I had known about the Crosswind pedals beforehand.

My next purchase will be the Virpil collective with a left hand Constellation grip. I’m kinda used to reversing the axis and using the current throttle, but it is a bit immersion killing and as @Elby says:

3 Likes

Young enough to have grown up with video chats and to want the housing market to crash :wink:

Yet I also have too many expensive hobbies, I already spent a lot on kite boarding and wing foiling gear this year

4 Likes

Thanks for the answers all! Throttle is on the list for next upgrade!
Thanks especially to @Torc for sharing how to handle detents with non-detent aircraft and @Victork2 for his experience with this exact upgrade path from T16K to Virpil throttle

2 Likes

Glad to help. I regret not firing up dcs and letting you try the throttle when you came round.

You have given me an idea though. Using my 16k as a radar controller is genius. Never would of thought of that. So thanks :blush:

2 Likes

Yeah, Mirage F1, Gazelle and Viggen all have use for an auxiliary left sidestick.
Even the Tomcat RIO has a sidestick for the LANTIRN but that one has a LOT of buttons.

1 Like

Bit late on the reply here …and I have to agree with the guys above … if it was my money … it would be a throttle without question :grinning:

3 Likes

NICE! I feel bad for the young’uns these days in terms of soaring real estate prices, rising interest and crap stock market opportunities. Stay strong little buddy! :smiley:

I’m so old that I’m still scratching my head as to what “GAS advice” is …

2 Likes

I’m in the same boat… At our age it would probably have something to do with flatulence? :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

It must have something to do with skateboarding or Electronic music. :wink: I have no idea what kids do these days. Reminds me of RAD, which I also don’t know what that means.

1 Like

Meh, I don’t care as long as they stay off my damn lawn :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

1 Like

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NelBNtNm8l0

1 Like

Gear assembly syndrome.

You were not wrong with the electronic music. It’s common under amateur musicians to spend more time to collect information and buy new stuff than to actually play music. Guess how I know :roll_eyes:

2 Likes

Gear Acquisition Syndrome

The natural enemy of disposable income.

3 Likes