Thrustmaster launched a flight throttle that brought back memories for me this week. The Thrust Master Weapon Control System Throttle is aimed at virtual pilots who enjoy flight simulator games.

This new throttle controls your speed and has buttons, so you can fire a variety of weapons while you control your aircraft with a joystick in your other hand. I didn’t know they were still making these things, as the flight sim market isn’t what it used to be.

The first time I saw a throttle was in a computer rig that John Wilbur “Wild Bill” Stealey showed me while flying a P-51 fighter in the World War II flight sim War Birds, way back in the 1990s. He went on a strafing run and then used his throttle to quickly pull his aircraft up into the clouds. He was careful to gradually increase the elevation, so he didn’t stall. Those were the halcyon days of flight sims.

This new throttle is powered by S.M.A.R.T. (Sliding Motion Advanced Rail Tracks) technology, which has a unique system of slide rails for smooth flying and high-precision speed control. The S.M.A.R.T. mechanism’s resistance can be adjusted to suit player preferences.

The Thrustmaster throttle is designed to be ergonomic. It has a thinner base, which means it enables lower wrist height and consequently better controlled and effortless natural arm and hand movements. The peripheral features five axes on the throttle, one two-axis mini-stick, one toggle rudder with 15-degree angle and mechanical return to neutral, and a rotary button.

Users can also obtain three more axes by connecting the external TFRP rudder pedals (sold separately) via their RJ12 connector (for the 16-bit throttle axis, this equals 65,635 values, and for all other axes, this equals 1,024 values each).

The throttle is equipped with 14 action buttons: two four-way buttons, three buttons, one two-position slider, and one push mini-stick. It is also equipped with one eight-point-of-view hat switch. The mini-stick can be used for elevation and strafing in space or for slew control. It can also be used for menu selection and validation. The presence of the rotary wheel allows people to easily validate settings or control radio antenna.

With its two M6 screw threads and four rubber footpads for perfect stability, this highly precise throttle will fit perfectly on your desk or in a cockpit. The throttle debuts this month for $80. It looks like fun, but I wish I had a great flight sim, so I could play with it.

Get more stories like this on TwitterFacebook