Flight sticks go hand in hand with flight simulators and games which include aircraft. Although flight sticks (joysticks) may also be used in instances other than flight control, it seems almost pointless, as they were specifically designed for one purpose. The Saitek Aviator for PS3 and PC is only the third flight stick that I’ve used since my early start playing computer games. I’ve never really enjoyed playing flight simulation games, especially those in which you simply fly around aimlessly. Not wanting to tramp on any toes with that statement, I can certainly understand why people can enjoy the realistic representation of flying aircraft.
“Get on your enemy’s ‘six’, chalk up another kill and rule the skies with the Saitek Aviator – the best way to play flight games on your Playstation 3 and PC.”
The Saitek Aviator for PS3 and PC has a simple, but elegant design. The controls feature the standard buttons you should be familiar with on any PS3 controller. Although the buttons match those such as the circle, triangle, square, L1, L2, etc., they don’t follow the same design patterns. Noticeably designed to match fighter pilot controls, as with most other flight sticks, the Aviator also includes the flick-up-and-shoot control.
The full list of controls and buttons include the following:
- 3-button, heavy duty trigger and P.O.V. analogue stick
- Circle, Triangle, Square, X buttons
- L1, L2, R1, R2
- 2-button, Start and Select, and D-pad
- Home, Start, Select buttons
- L3, R3 buttons
In addition to all the controls/buttons, the flight stick also include a mode toggle, allowing the user to switch between the M1 and M2 button layout. In the M1 mode, a default layout is used, as defined above. Since the M2 mode is customisable, the layout is defined by user preference.
Using this flight stick along with a few quality games, I have grown to understand the excitement found in piloting an aircraft. The same cannot be said about the dizziness experienced after a few minutes spent performing barrel-rolls and loops while trying to aim at enemy aircraft. The layout and features of the flight stick make flying quite enjoyable, while making it easy at the same time.
The only negative about the Aviator flight stick is the build quality. Although the design and layout is quite good, the build quality is lacking, feeling very plastic and too light. There aren’t any concerns about the flight stick lacking wireless features, as the device is designed to be placed on a flat surface when in use, with its large, flat base, which gives extra stability.
After a quick search I found a price of R470 for the Saitek Aviator for PS3 and PC. In today’s market, this device is quite inexpensive. The only issue I’d have with purchasing a flight stick is its limited use for the variety of games available. That, coupled with the somewhat under par build quality, make the choice of purchasing the Aviator a difficult one. On the positive side, playing a few flight combat games, I can certainly recommend the Saitek Aviator.