Thrustmaster Hotas Cougar PC Flight Stick
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Throttle is spotty - radar responsiveness seems glitchy, for lack of a better word... The handles/metal construction is great, but it would appear that the internal components are... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Xak
I purchased a second hand model almost brand new.
It is a replica of the F-16 CJ / DJ Block 52 released from 1993 and sold by TM from 1998 to 2009. Read more
The Cougar's pots may be unreliable, but if you are a true Falcon BMS fan, you MUST upgrade it with a force control mod. Read morePublished on April 4, 2013 by D. Weaver
I own one of these. This is the Slackware Linux of joysticks. It is definitely made for the tinkering enthusiast, not the average Joe. Read morePublished on December 24, 2011 by Rado Rafiringa
I have owned one for over a decade and it's still the stick to beat, this is my second one as my first one was destroyed by the moving company even though it was solidly built. Read morePublished on August 26, 2011 by Kcchief_fan
After installing several times my computer would not reconize the Thrustmaster Hotas.
I not know why. I tried first on a Vista system, then on a XP computer. Read more
The best joy sticks I have ever come across, excellent quality, all metal alloy and heavy base so it dose not move around on the table. Read morePublished on February 26, 2010 by Charles Jourdan
Excellent product, passed my expectation. the feeling, the programmable keys all just what You need and more.Published on August 25, 2009 by Salah A. Aljumah
Quite simply, I fell in love with this product up front. It arrived on Friday, It was heavy. about 16 lbs of metal. Read morePublished on April 13, 2009 by Lupus