Introduction to the X52
The X52 is a H.O.T.A.S (Hands-On Throttle and Stick) system developed by Saitek/Logitech. The X52 provides accurate flight simulator operations, employing a multi-function LCD display for easy access to an astonishing 105 programmable functions! Among other features is an adjustable resistance wheel, a spring centering mechanism, an adjustable grip system, and a powerful programming software to program different profiles to fit all your flight simulation programs!
The joystick is a 360-degree motion, twisting, control stick. The joystick is able to control the aircraft about all 3 axis: Pitch, Roll and Yaw, so you can control just about any aircraft using the stick alone! No need for rudder pedals! The stick also sports two 8-way hat switches, generally used to look around virtual cockpits. The hat switches can also be programmed using the downloadable X52 programming software to do many other functions such as aileron, elevator and also rudder trim! The stick has four fire buttons, one of which is covered by a safety cover.
A remarkable feature about this stick is it’s not one, but two triggers! The stick features a main trigger, which actually has two points. So you can fire two separate weapons with just the one trigger! Talk about multi-tasking! The second trigger, referred to as a “pinky-trigger”, is conveniently placed right at, you guessed it, your pinky! The pinky trigger can also act as a secondary shift key, so you can actually program a button to do a different function while the pinky trigger is held down! Lots and lots of functions as you can see!
Two more interesting feature of this stick are the adjustable grip and the three two-way switches. The adjustable grip is controlled by an screw-bolt with a knob to ease the unscrewing process. The grip can then be adjusted up or down into five different notches to fit all hand sizes! Now the three two-way switches are also a cool feature. They, like a lot of the buttons and switches, are illuminated by LED lighting. Nothing new from any other HOTAS or yoke system, but they are very useful to control various functions such as flaps, landing gear, and aircraft lights.
The second component to the HOTAS system is the throttle. The throttle of the X52 has a very comfortable grip, two jog-wheels, an up-down slider, two programmable buttons, an information button, a hat switch, and the most impressive feature, a multi-function LCD screen! The throttle also has an adjustable resistance wheel, so you can actually set how much resistance the throttle has to adhere to any aircraft you might fly!
The throttle itself is actually the best throttle quadrant I have ever used! The hand placement is very comfortable, the buttons are in convenient positions which allows easy access to them, and the throttle detent is very well placed! The throttle detent is actually a very interesting feature. The detent is a word that basically means that there is set resistance on one part of the throttle movement. For example, there is a detent in the X52 when the throttle hits 75% power, in certain simulators, going past 75% activates the afterburners, which is a very good feature for fighter pilots and DCS pilots!
The throttle also features a mouse pointer and clicker. The pointer is a small blue nub right below the indent in where you would place your thumb, allowing for easy access. This allows pilots to keep their hands on the throttle without having to take it off to operate a mouse. Right next to the blue nub is a small clicker button, programmed to act as a left mouse button. I have actually started to use this mouse clicker and nub instead of my traditional mouse because I find that my hand is way more comfortable gripping my throttle instead of my mouse! The nub can also be used as a pilot’s eye tracking system in various combat flight simulation games such as ARMA 3 and DCS.
Among all these features, I would have to say that the LCD display is the most impressive! The LCD screen can display many things, such as time, system mode, date, and it can also display which profile is loaded! The clock on the LCD screen can also be changed to a stopwatch by clicking the “Function” button. The LCD screen also can display your key bindings when the pinky-trigger is held down.
Overall, this throttle is probably one of the best on the market today in my opinion. There are many features on this throttle that you do not find on others. This throttle is also the most comfortable out there in my opinion!
The Programming Software and Installation
The programming software is very easy to use. With the software, you can program different profiles. Each profile can be for a different game to control different functions. For example, you can program the trigger to act as your aircraft brake (By making it be your period key), or maybe one of your two way switches to control your lights (By making it act as your L key), so on so forth. You can also program the X52 through the in-game key binding options, but using the programming software will allow you to do more advanced functions.
Installation of the X52 is fairly simple, and did not cause me any pain! All you need to do is plug in the stick to the throttle with the MDIN cable, and then simply plug in the throttle to you computer using a USB! You may also need to attach the included suction cups to add some extra support and to balance the stick and throttle. Finally, all you need to do is download the necessary drivers, and the programming software from the Logitech website and there you go! You are ready to start using your brand new X52!
The X52, in my opinion, is probably one of the best HOTAS systems on the market. The X52 has many many pros, and very little cons, making it a no brainer when it comes to choosing a HOTAS system! An one feature I forgot to mention is that it is the least expensive, high quality HOTAS! It is even cheaper than the Saitek yoke system, which does not include rudder controls!
If you’re thinking of changing your flight control system, think HOTAS!