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Thrustmaster Hotas Cougar PC Flight Stick

3.0 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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  • Replica of the US Air Force F-16 block 52 controller (Stick and throttle)
  • Used by US Air Force for pilot training - a reference in the aircraft sector
  • Endorsed by the Virtual Thunderbirds and the Russian Knights
  • Simple connection using full speed USB. Response time 8 x faster than traditional USB plugs
  • 28 buttons and multiple hat switches. All programmable: 100% customization

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Product Description

Product Description

Thrustmaster Hotas Cougar PC Flight Stick. When you¿re looking for the best of the best in flight simulation, three words come to mind: precision, realism and performance. The new partnership between Thrustmaster and the Virtual Thunderbirds demonstrates the perfect union of these concepts, bringing the most advanced flight stick on the market to the most skilled hands in aerial simulation. Thrustmaster¿s HOTAS Cougar is unlike any other simulation device on the market. A replica of the legendary F-16, the benchmark in terms of modern fighter planes, the HOTAS is the product of long and considerable investment in Research and Development. Thrustmaster¿s partnership with the prestigious U.S. Air Force adds unique credibility to the HOTAS, since the product¿s functionalities are in every way identical to the controls of the real aircraft. The Virtual Thunderbirds, a leading aerobatic simulation group, are well-known for their skills at reproducing aerial shows performed by the United States Air Force¿s Thunderbirds demonstration squadron, composed solely of F-16 fighter aircraft. A replica crafted for performance. Our all-metal HOTAS Cougar is a real powerhouse of technologies, featuring 28 programmable buttons, adjustable throttle resistance, adjustable Afterburner and Idle detents and a variety of programmable hat-switches, in particular. All of this results in formidable efficiency and great realism in aerial simulation games, notes Eric Mindjimba of Thrustmaster¿s International Marketing Department. We are very happy to be collaborating with leading members of the simulation community such as the Virtual Thunderbirds, as this gives rise to far-reaching ambassadors able to demonstrate all the possibilities offered by the HOTAS Cougar. Co-engineered in collaboration with US Air Force and used by US Air Force for pilot training - a reference in the aircraft sector. Endorsed by the Virtual Thunderbirds and the Russian Knights.

The most realistic flight simulation controller is here: the HOTAS Cougar, lifelike in design, lifelike in performance. This is truly "Hands on Throttle and Stick" gameplay. Based on the actual controller found in F-16 fighter aircraft, the HOTAS transports you to the furthest reaches of flight-simulation technology. From the second you grab hold of both the stick and the throttle, you notice the difference. All metal, black, and ready for business--that is the HOTAS. This controller offers up to 28 programmable buttons, multiple programmable hat switches, and adjustable resistance for the throttle, afterburner, and idle detent. These are just a few of the many features of this revolutionary stick and throttle combo. Without question, the HOTAS Cougar is the controller for true flight enthusiasts.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 12.6 x 17.2 x 10.2 inches
Item Weight 17 pounds
Shipping Weight 18.8 pounds
Item model number 2960534
Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #56 in Electronics > Accessories & Supplies > Computer Accessories > Game Hardware > PC Game Hardware > Controllers > Flight Controls
#28,751 in Video Games > Accessories
Discontinued by manufacturer Yes
Date first available at October 2, 2001

Technical Specification

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. McNeil on September 14, 2003
I have been using the Cougar for over a year now and have concluded that it is a combination of the best and the worst in consumer products. In the end analysis it is ok for someone who doesn't mind tinkering, modifying and repairing. If it wasn't for the online community I would have thrown my Cougar away a long time ago. These guys are the BEST thing going for the Cougar. Support from the manufacturer is far from acceptable. Now for the good and the bad.
This product has a great feel about it. Largely because it's all metal, heavy and seems durable. The metal, however, is very soft and, consequently, easy to strip threads. The switches and pots are low quality. Replacement pots are only available through the manufacturer as they were specially made. (I think by CTS) The Throttle Quadrant has a speed brake switch which is on in the forward position, off in the middle position and momentary on in the back position. The switch itself is the toggle variety. It is guided by a plastic guide that works well when properly aligned but there is nothing designed into the product to insure alignment. You'll have to fix this yourself or the guide is likely to break. Fortunately the procedure is detailed in Frugals World Cougar forum.
Programmability is a big plus with the Cougar. Again, if you are not up to tinkering and just want to plug and play, look for something else. If you don't mind spending some time with your face in the manual and working through a profile or two you will have incredible flexibility.
The throttle itself is rather sticky through its range of motion and there are two detents for idle and afterburner. All in all it is clunky and I opted to remove the detents. As far as the sticky motion is concerned I have yet to find a way to fix it.
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For two years I owned a Thrustmaster Cougar HOTAS, touted as the ultimate flight simmer's controller, and in that time I all but stopped simming. Honestly, in two years I flew perhaps a dozen hours at most. Before the Cougar, I simmed much more--off and on for years--and did so on lousy to middling equipment: bargain-bin trash, a CH Flightstick, and later, a CH Combatstick USB. By then I found myself playing Falcon 4.0 religiously, so when it became "necessary" to pick up a throttle, I passed over the homely CH Pro Throttle and reached for the sexy, uber-F16 controller, the Cougar.

Next to the Cougar, any other controller looks like it came free with a Happy Meal. It's so sleek yet solid and rugged--it's simply gorgeous. You'll find yourself ogling it, polishing it, displaying it, and even fashioning dust covers for it. You'll also appreciate its features, ergonomics and simplicity. The trigger is dual-stage. Every button on the throttle falls under a finger. And that throttle, along with gameport rudder pedals (should you have them), plugs directly into the stick base, forging a single mega-controller with a gazillion buttons and axes, all routed to your PC through a single USB plug. Elegant.

Packaged with the Cougar comes a simmer's dream date: a 183-page manual, your guide to the complex software suite that drives the Cougar. You'll want to take it to bed, curl up under a reading lamp and spend the night with it. But that's where the problems start. It doesn't illuminate; it obfuscates. If the Cougar Reference Manual concerned baseball, chapter one would be "The Infield Fly Rule," and the first page would delve into the Old English etymology of "field." In other words, one must learn Cougar-programming in spite of it. Expect to spend several Saturdays getting nowhere.
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1. metal and sturdy (except throttle lever support which is plastic and actually broke on mine). Metal makes for great feel of the stick, much better than any plastic joystick.
2. Vast programming abilities (rivaled only by top competition equipment). This is, IMO, the best thing about the Cougar.
3. Impressive looks and design - a real stunner. Better than any other joystick in this regard.
1. Poor gimbal construction. The stick will inevitably develop center play which, in combination with stiff springs, makes the center position feel like a detent - this effectively denies any precision control near the center. A fix for this is available as a 3rd party product, but is costly - almost twice as the Cougar itself.
2. Poor quality potentiometers. With joystick this expensive, HAL (contactless magnetic potentiometers) are the way to go, or at least high quality potentiometers found in competition products. HAL potentimeters for Cougar are also available as a 3rd party product, but are costly (a kit of three is slightly less than 200$).
3. Sticky feel with throttle. The material has quite a difference in friction, which means it is hard to move the throttle, but once you do move it, it is hard to stop it in desired position. No precision here. If the resistance is lowered, the throttle lever falls forward/backward due to its own weight !
Verdict: A wannabe quality product which simply falls short in crucial areas. Requires significant additional costs to make it work as advertised. Definitely not recommended, as there are much better options out there.
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