Thrustmaster have been the recognised masters of throttle and stick controllers for a number of years, and with good reason. Their HOTAS (hands-on throttle and stick) systems are reliable, highly functional and always evolving.
Those who play simulators for the immersion rather than the immediate thrills of pew-pew gaming are more at home with flight sticks or steering wheels than pads. My experience with flight sims is less than stellar (they require a much higher level of patience and understanding than simply blowing things up), but recently I’ve been using peripherals such as T.16000m, and the switch from keyboard to flight stick has been a revelation, whether in Microsoft Flight Simulator or Star Wars Squadrons.
The Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition is the perfect companion for the Airbus Sidestick, and not only because it shares the same military grey colouring. The two are designed to integrate together to provide a more immersive and tactile experience.
Straight from the box the TCA Quadrant feels expensive, well-made, and durable. It’s quality we expect from the brand, maybe, but it’s still a comforting reassurance right away. It’s a fairly bulky unit, though, measuring 12 inches by 9 inches, though at just under 2.5lbs it’s surprisingly lightweight. Rubber grips keep it from sliding around your desk, and the control sticks are reassuringly heavy-duty, made from sturdy black plastic.
Being officially licensed by Airbus has its advantages too, in terms of functions and features. With 8 physical buttons and the same number of virtual buttons, plus the option to customise all with the Thrustmapper software, it’s incredibly straightforward to set up the way you need it. Used in conjunction with the Airbus flight stick, even a noob like myself began to get the feel of it inside a few hours of play. A lot of that is down to how realistic it feels, though. The resistance in the buttons and sticks is, as far as I can tell, on-point. I felt in control at all times, and the responsiveness is impressive to say the least.
Depending on your set-up and simulator of choice, there’s an argument for pairing two Quadrants together to simulate a four-engine Airbus, though for most sims you won’t need to do that (and it gets pricey, too). For many, adding the throttle control as a separate unit to an existing set-up will make a major difference to how you fly. The fact that you can customise the function of all the sticks and buttons means you can tailor this device to suit whatever vehicle your flying, and allows for a much more authentic and believable experience.
For flight sim enthusiasts this is an excellent buy, and even more so if your sky beast of choice is any model of Airbus. It pairs aesthetically and functionally with the Airbus flight stick and pedals, so it’s a great way to grow your existing set-up, and will add another dimension to your flight sim experience from a name you already know you can trust.