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Turn an Xbox gamepad into a Microsoft Flight Simulator HOTAS controller using this schematic

The add-ons click onto a Xbox 360 controller

If you’ve been looking for a cheap way to get that real pilot experience for Microsoft Flight Simulator, this DIY HOTAS joystick is one solution. The 3D printed joystick turns your standard Xbox controller into a throttle-and-stick, so you can get that full cockpit immersion without a separate peripheral.

The contraption works by essentially clipping the peripherals over the joypad, allowing you to move as if you were holding the pad regularly via levers. In a video demo below, you can see it’s more intuitive than that description might sound. Once 3D printed, all the parts click together like k’nex, then click onto the pad. When you’ve done it, you have a simple, but effective HOTAS controller for any flight game or space game you feel like playing.

The regular model works perfectly for Microsoft Flight Simulator, as creator Akaki Kuumeri shows, but Star Wars: Squadrons needs some more buttons. Enter the HOSAS, hands-on-stick-and-stick, that switches the throttle for another joystick on a PlayStation 4 controller. In addition, some slightly more elaborate strings allow control over the shoulder buttons, so you have full access to all your pew-pews. The experience can tend to be a little sickening in VR, so just keep that in mind.

Only the Flight Simulator-safe HOTAS is available for Xbox controllers at present, you can find it here. You can find the PlayStation 4 variant here.

Here’s the Xbox version:

Here’s the PS4 version:

Microsoft Flight Simulator had a whole range of fixes in the October update. If you’d like to make your flying even more exciting, you can install some mods, like these that add the Millenium Falcon and Godzilla.