Made of solid steel, Saitek's X65F Pro Flight stick doesn't actually move when you use it to fly a plane, instead the shaft sensing the pressure you're exerting on the stick and translates it into movement.

I had a chance to play arund with the X65F Pro Flight System a bit earlier this week and was impressed with the design and seeming sturdiness of the set-up.


The flight stick includes three 8-way hats, an 8-way thumb hat, a trigger, two buttons and two pinkie switches. It also ships with a throttle controller that includes two rotaries, a mouse hat, four 8-way hats, a 2-way "K" switch, a scroll selector, a 4-position mode switch and a split throttle that can be locked together for single-engine fighter control.

Testing the stick out in H.A.W.X. and Flight Sim X, I was impressed with how sensitive the force-sensing technology was, even detecting when I twisted the stick for rudder controls. Because the stick is made of steel, the heft gives the entire controller an added sense of realism and, I suspect, a longer life.

The one issue I did run into was that when I tried pulling off steep banking turns the base of the flight stick tended to lift up or try to fall over. The controller does come with pre-drilled holes so it can be mounted to a surface, but it would be nice if it also came with temporary clamps of some sort.

I suppose with the stick running $400, the people who will be picking it up won't be too worried about mounting it to their furniture or life-sized cockpits.