I’m no pilot. I’m also not the biggest fan of Microsoft Flight Simulator. I mean, there’s no debate that it’s a glorious game, huge in scale and accessible to near on everyone. But honestly, it’s a little bit, dare I say, boring.
I fully understand that the joy of flight is something that many can’t live without though, and if you’re in that camp and you frequent the skies of Flight Simulator – or are looking to become a Top Gun with Ace Combat 7 – on a regular basis, you quite possibly want the Thrustmaster T.Flight Full Kit X in your hand. Scrap that, you need it!
Thrustmaster are well known for being the creators of all manner of gaming accessories. From headsets, to steering wheels and pedals – honestly, you’ve not raced until you’ve sat being the wheel with the Thrustmaster T248 Wheel in your hands – yet Thrustmaster also do a neat line of aircraft options, with the T.Flight Full Kit X setup perfectly suited for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC players. None more so than if those players are proven to take to the skies with Microsoft Flight Simulator.
So what do we have in the Kit? Well, Thrustmaster are combining their brilliant T.Flight Hotas One Joystick system with the TRFP Rudder system, all in one neat box.
The stick is the most exciting for us and all black in design with some white Thrustmaster logos and detailing, it certainly looks the part. Perhaps it’s obvious it’s not been ripped straight from a flight deck, and there’s a fair amount of plastic here, but it’s more than good enough for us gamers.
It’s a hefty unit, split into two out of the box, so in theory you could use these a part from one another. Best results – at least what our novice piloting skills have found – is when connecting the Joystick and throttle together. See, on the left side is the throttle unit, whilst the right is dominated by the stick itself. We’re not really sure why anyone would want to use these separately, particularly as they are attached via cable, but slotting them together as one works really well. Obviously, if split, it allows budding pilots to sit the throttle on a knee, but combining the two worked best for us.
It’s all well put together too. Cable channels under the unit allow for perfect fitment with no loose ends, with clips and slots in place to hold the unit together.
Coming in, complete, at nearly 40cm in width, this is not a small piece of kit so you’ll need a table or desk with enough room to accommodate. Small rubber feet on the bottom stick this down well, and through testing not once have we had an issue with movement – even when all hell has broken loose in game and we’ve nosedived into the Hudson River or skimmed the points of the Pyramids.
It’s the top of the Hotas unit which is of most interest though. The throttle and stick both feel superb, ergonomically designed to fit our hands with pretty much perfection. Wrist rests are well positioned too, grips have been moulded neatly and in all we’re not sure there’s a single thing we’d change with how the tactile nature comes across.
The throttle itself is fairly loose, allowing for easy shifting from full power to drawing things back in slightly, whilst the joystick feels exactly like a joystick should, with resistance dialling should one need it.
Perhaps – being picky – it would have been nice to see Thrustmaster add in some texture to either the throttle or stick, as the black, smooth plastic does sometimes err on the side of cheap. That’s a proper little nit pick though.
All the buttons you could want are here too – although admittedly in places you are going to have to learn. For instance, the usual ABXY face pushers are all in a group on the right of the throttle, easily pressed by the thumb. Standard Xbox options of Nexus, Menu and View are at the bottom of the joystick. You will have to hunt around for these.
There are plenty more buttons to hit though, with the normal bumpers and D-Pad replaced by smaller, more ergonomic options. We’re particularly taken by the glorious little hat switch that sits in place on the top of the standard joystick, doubling up as a thumbstick and camera mover when needed. It’s super precise and joyful to use.
In all, the T.Flight Hotas has no less than – and we’re counting them as we type – sixteen different buttons to make the most of; fourteen standard buttons, a rapid fire trigger and that multidirectional hat switch. It pretty much caters for all possibilities.
But the Thrustmaster T.Flight Full Kit X then also throws a set of rudder pedals in for good measure. Many may wonder why, but acting as a rudder and helping aid the immersion, the system on offer here is a joy.
It works on a S.M.A R.T – Sliding Motion Advanced Rail Tracks – system and is one of the smoothest things we’ve ever come across. Unlike the pedals of the T248 which we found to shift around a fair bit under braking whilst racing – admittedly the forces going through that are much more than here – the rail system implemented ensures that you have total and utter control of your rudder at all times, delivering the minutest of movements to correct issues in the air.
The rudder pedals fit our UK size 11 feet nicely, however should you find yourself over the stated size 12’s that Thrustmaster detail on the box, the heel support can be easily removed. We’d say that’s probably a last resort though.
Combining the Hotas with the pedals brings the whole package alive. If you thought you were immersed playing Microsoft Flight Simulator with a standard controller, then you ain’t felt nothing until you’ve got behind the stock of the Hotas, something which is amplified even more when you then throw in the pedals. With attachment via cable – one to bring the stick in line with the pedals and another direct to the USB-A port on your Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S or PC – the whole thing comes together brilliantly as one and is super simple to setup.
Downsides? Well, aside from the price (£159.99), which is something that will be of importance to some but completely irrelevant to others, the only real problem we’ve found with the T.Flight Full Kit X is that it is sometimes easier to have a standard Xbox controller sitting alongside, switched on ready for menu navigation. It’s wholly possible to move around with the stick, the hat switch and the sheer number of buttons that are available on it, but to quickly work through Flight Sim’s navs, a standard controller wins out. Don’t let that be a slight on what Thrustmaster have produced though; blame it more on the game at hand.
So, should you buy? We’d recommend the Thrustmaster T.Flight Full Kit X in a heartbeat to those aspiring pilots who love nothing more than to gracefully take to the skies in the likes of Microsoft Flight Simulator. With the new Top Gun: Maverick content included, it’ll ensure you’re able to get as close to the real thing as you’re ever likely to get. But it isn’t going to be such a simple sell to the more casual flyer.
There’s absolutely nothing to complain about with what Thrustmaster have produced in the T.Flight Full Kit X, the only real question is whether or not you really need it.
Huge thanks go out to Thrustmaster for providing us with the T.Flight Full Kit X for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC. You can grab one for yourself from Thrustmaster direct.