Thrustmaster F-22 Pro
Preview by Al Giovetti
Genre: a complex analog joystick
Web site: www.thrustmaster.com
History:While working with flight simulators, Bob Carter, founder of Flight Dynamics, Inc., realized that the requirement to operate simulators from the computer detracted from the competitiveness and enjoyment of the games. A realistic throttle allowing the user to operate the numerous functions of a jet fighter would make the games more realistic and enjoyable. With several long- time associates, Mr. Carter developed a preliminary design for a control to complement a joystick.
Carter, Milton Smith, Norman Winningstad, Gerry Pratt, and later Frank Bouton founded ThrustMaster in 1990 to pursue the goal of developing and marketing realistic flight simulator components for games.
ThrustMaster began with its own customized, realistic joystick urged on by Buzz Hoffman, a former F16 fighter pilot, who had subsequently joined the company. Early product users spread the word of superiority to colleagues and friends. Inquiries from prospective retailers began. With the increasing speed, graphics resolution, and sophistication of the computer, ThrustMaster controls grew in reputation for providing a high level of realism.
As sales expanded so has the product mix. ThrustMaster is presently located in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company manufactures locally and overseas.
As demand for ThrustMaster products continues to increase, distribution is administered through an expanded network of nationally known retailers. ThrustMaster looks forward to securing clients through the development of new and innovative products.
Company line: The F22 Pro Launches you into the next century of air combat. Giving you digital and analog programmability beyond the F16 FLCS, the F22 pro also offers increased durability, realism, and control. With a metal powder coated base, glass filled ABS handle, metal gimbal assembly, and heavy gauge spring tension, the F22 Pro gives you the edge you need to win in advanced tactical warfare.
"Having flown with the ProFCS for several years, I greatly appreciate the heavier, more substantial feel and better control of this stick compared with the 'sloppiness' of others I have tried. This is why I was delighted with the F22 Pro, with it's sturdy feel and precise control. As a bonus, the greater realism and functionality provided by the F16 style switches require the same 'piccolo playing' dexterity demanded of modern fighter pilots. With the F22 Pro, you can truly enter the world of air combat for the next millennium."
Robert L. Shaw, author of FIGHTER COMBAT: TACTICS AND MANEUVERING, (Naval Institute Press, 1985)
This joystick has some nice features including Dual-Stage Trigger, Heavy Gauge Spring Tension, Glass-Filled ABS Handle, Powder Coated Metal Base, 4 Programmable Buttons, Four 4-Way Switches, Geared Potentiometers, Metal Gimbal Mechanism, Programmable in both Digital and Analog, Auto Download, and Handcrafted in the USA.
The dual stage trigger is just like the trigger on a real fighter with the first detent as the gun camera and the second detent as the gun, so that a good picture of the kill will be made and confirmed. Unfortunately, the detents do not do what they do in real life and only with game support will the gun camera work this way, but this is not the fault of the stick.
The heavy guage tension is much harder than what you would find in a modern cockpit, especially an F-16 or F-22 where there is no heavy click going across the center point of the stick.
Journalists: Ben really likes the stick.
Ben Chiu, Computer Games, number 74, March, 1997, pg. 35.