Stiff Springs?

From the Thrustmaster® Flight Control System Mark II owner's manual.
" Your PFCS is also compatible with the Mark 11 WCS from ThrustMaster. When your PFCS is plugged into the Mark 11 WCS you can program the Hat Switch and all buttons on your PFCS. This will allow you to use all the functions of the PFCS with any software program.


The PFCS was designed to replicate the forces you would feel if you were flying a real jet fighter aircraft. In fighter aircraft, such as the F/A-18 and the F-16, control of the aircraft is stabilized for the pilot. This means that the pilot has to input a progressively greater force on the stick in order to gain a larger angle of attack (AOA) and command a larger G force.
Stick forces required in the F-16, for example, are as follows:
  • Maximum roll rate - 17 lbs
  • Maximum pitch up - 25 lbs
  • Maximum pitch down - 16 lbs
The ThrustMaster PFCS approximately equals these forces. This will assist you in not 'overcontrolling' the aircraft. You then remain in control of your jet, taking control of the fight rather than allowing the bandit to set the pace of the battle.

Thrustmaster Pro Flight Control System - the original manual cover
The PFCS avoids this pilot-induced overcontrol situation by using the pilot's subconscious to remind him, through stick forces, how far and how fast he is moving his joystick, thus allowing the pilot to remain in control of the simulator. In addition, the potentiometers, the finest available on the market today, are gear-driven (in the PFCS) which makes the PFCS the smoothest joystick in terms of response.
Typically, we have found that a new user, unfamiliar with a stick like the PFCS will require about two weeks to get used to the higher stick forces required with the PFCS. After two weeks time, the usual comment we hear from a new user is that they can no longer fly properly with an arcade-type joystick. It takes time to get used to anything that is new.
With the PFCS, for the first time, you can fly like the real fighter pilots. They keep their eyes on the bandit at all times, anticipate his moves and then fly their aircraft to a point in the sky where the bandit will be based on what they observe the bandit doing. The PFCS will give you subconscious" feedback of the amount of force you are placing on the stick, this eliminates the need to constantly ram your stick from end to end while turning control of the fight over to the bandit.
Weaker tensioned springs require the pilot of a simulator to constantly move the joystick all the way from one end to the other. This results in the aircraft becoming in control of the pilot rather than the other way around. You can spot this type of control behavior if you watch a flight simulator pilot flying and you see that his joystick is consistently held in the extreme limits of travel while chasing a bandit. This is known as 'following the bandit'."
The typical computer joystick was originally designed for use with arcade games. It is not well suited to the more sophisticated flight simulators that have come on the market in recent years. The PFCS was designed to offer more precise movements so the user will not overcontrol his aircraft by yanking the stick back and forth.
ThrustMaster's regular FCS was designed to serve the needs of the user who wants to use primarily arcade games and arcade type flight games as well as fly the more sophisticated simulators, albeit without the subconscious feedback offered by the PFCS. It will serve well as an 'all-purpose' joystick.
The simulator pilot who plans his moves and remains in control of his aircraft can be observed to seldom move the stick beyond about half the full available travel of the joystick. The simulators that are designed to require precise, planned movements of the joystick can be controlled much better using the PFCS than with the FCS or any other all-purpose joystick.
Because the required stick forces in both the real jet fighters and in the ThrustMaster PFCS are much higher than normal, you will need to devise a stable means of mounting your PFCS to your desk.