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VPC’s MongoosT-50 joystick: A rare Russian-style controller for skies or space

The MongoosT-50 stick in a Warthog base, left, compared to a standard Thrustmaster Warthog stick at right.
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I had an epiphany when Ars Senior Technology Editor Lee Hutchinson asked me to review the VPC MongoosT-50 flight stick grip, which he had sitting on his desk awaiting its turn at the front of the review queue. As I removed the mounting plate of my Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog from its place on the right side of my Volair Sim cockpit, I looked over at the empty space it had occupied, then at the handmade Eastern European MFG Crosswind rudder pedals nestled at the base of my cockpit, and then to the HTC Vive and its now-dusty Oculus DK2 predecessor hanging off the side of my nearby desk.

The epiphany was this: Lee had pulled me down into his special crazy place where dropping hundreds of dollars on flight sim accessories, all to play a single game, seemed like a totally normal and sane thing to do.

This time around, the newest shiny in my office isn’t shiny at all, but rather a svelte matte black: the VPC MongoosT-50 BE Grip, the Black Edition of the new company’s freshman-effort flight sim controller. Unlike most flight sticks for sale on the US market, which tend to be based with varying levels of verisimilitude on US fighter aircraft control columns, the MongoosT-50 is built to mirror the control stick on Russian aircraft—specifically, the fifth-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-35 and PAK FA (T-50). Few existing peripheral manufacturers offer Eastern-style controls, so this stick from Belarus-based VirPil Controls (VPC) is a bit of a rarity.

What do we have here?

Specs at a glance: VirPil MongoosT-50 grip
ManufacturerVirPil Controls
kvice typeFlight sim joystick (base not included)
MaterialHigh-quality durable plastic
Height (stick only)26cm
Optional extensions50mm, 75mm, 100mm (225mm combined)
ButtonsDual-stage primary trigger, folding trigger, 5x standard buttons, 3x four-way hat switches, 1x two-position lever, analog brake lever
Price (standard & lefty)€159.95 ($178)
Price (Black Edition)€179.95 ($201)
AvailabilityMay 2017

VPC designed this joystick to be modular, with the grip (i.e., the actual control column part) and the base available for purchase either individually or together as the “MongoosT-50 Stick.” VPC sent Ars just the grip for review, without the base. Therefore, we haven’t had the opportunity to measure firsthand the capabilities of the full system.

But, for reference, once the base is available, it will feature three sets of interchangeable, independent cams constructed of aircraft-grade duralumin. The cams come in “hard center,” “soft center,” and “no center,” as well as three spring types, the lightest of which should pair well with the “no center” cam for the rotary sim pilots out there. Additionally, the tension on the installed springs is adjustable, without opening up the case, via access ports on the top plate. The sensors are contactless digital proximity sensors, as opposed to the Hall Effect sensors in many other offerings, which VPC claims can detect stick deflections as small as 0.006 degrees.

Most important to space-combat fans, the MongoosT-50 is available in a left-handed version. This is a rarity among high-fidelity joysticks because aircraft control columns are all intended for use with the right hand (usually because the left hand operates the throttle, which is typically on the left side of the cockpit). Space-sim fans who want to build a dual-joystick control setup often have to use lower-quality ambidextrous sticks; the left-handed MongoosT-50 provides a high-quality left-handed option.


Stick with me, kid

Enough about the hardware we don’t have—let’s talk about the hardware we do have, starting at the base of the grip and working our way up. At the very bottom, you can attach an optional set of three metal spacers or extensions, measuring 50mm, 75mm, and 100mm, respectively, to make the stick taller. Lengthening the shaft has the dual benefit of lessening the force needed to deflect the stick and makes giving precise inputs that much easier.

The various combinations of these extensions allow for base-to-grip height adjustments from 50mm to 225mm. Using the extensions also allows the grip to be mounted with a rotational offset, which can greatly improve the ergonomics, especially for center-mounted setups. When combined with the optional VPC Desk Mount, which itself is highly adjustable, you should be able to construct a mounting setup that works for a wide range of uses, from casual stick-on-desktop to crazy simpits.

Topping things off is the Russian-style grip itself. Manufactured from a high-quality, durable plastic, the MongoosT-50 grip has struck a good middle ground between the lightweight but sometimes toy-like (and often wildly styled) desktop joysticks and the high-end metal or flight-sim dedicated setups to which the Warthog is merely a gateway.

Since we didn’t get a base to use with the grip, I reviewed the MongoosT-50 with an existing Thrustmaster Warthog base. The folks at VPC have designed their grip to mount directly onto both the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog and older HOTAS Cougar bases without the need for a separate adapter. The transition was about as simple as it gets, with the MongoosT-50 plugging in smoothly. Even without the extensions, I was able to mount the grip rotated slightly off-center, which made it easier to articulate the hats on the centerline and the rightmost thumb buttons.

Pairing well with the rotated installation is an adjustable hand rest on the right side (or the left side on the left-hand version). The rest has a large vertical range, making this grip one of the most customizable I’ve seen in the ergonomic department.

Speaking of buttons: just like the Warthog, the MongoosT-50 comes to the party benefiting from the R&D that went into its real-life counterpart. I’m not sure how much usability testing goes into some of the more “marketed” joysticks, but sometimes you have to wonder what the designers were thinking. Here, there’s no fancy LEDs or flip-up “FIRE” toggle covers or silly decals—the MongoosT-50 is all business. The buttons have a very satisfying, if loud, triggering action and crisp breaking points, so there’s never any doubt if a button press registered.


Walking through the controls, we’ll start at the top with the two-stage primary trigger. The first stage has a fairly short break followed by a sizable and forgiving neutral throw before the second stage is engaged at the end of the stroke. Going in reverse, the second stage is instantly disengaged, and that same large neutral area allows the user to decide how much pressure to apply to keep the trigger between stages. This is useful for maintaining comfort while performing actions that require the first stage to remain engaged, while the second stage is being repeatedly cycled. The first stage also makes an audible click when finally disengaged.

Next up are the three four-way hats. The left-most is a POV-style hat with a nice concave shape that provides a good resting place for the thumb. The upper hat is the opposite, with a pronounced pyramid shape that makes a great target for quick thumb strikes. The remaining lower hat is pleasantly rounded to maintain a low profile that allows you to reach the hat above it with minimal effort.

Off by itself on the right side of the stick’s top is a two-position switch. Easily reachable by the index finger, this switch—which I first mistook for another hat—adds utility to a finger that typically doesn’t have much to do when there’s no trigger-pulling going on. I found myself constantly remapping controls to this switch because it is so useful. I never did finalize my choice before review time.

The push buttons do their job without fanfare. There is a pinky button, a thumb button on the left side of the stick, three buttons for the thumb up top, one on the left above the POV hat, and two on the right arranged vertically just like the neighboring hats on the centerline.

But my favorite part of this thing has to be the folding trigger, situated on the top of the stick. In the raised position, the trigger’s completely out of the way, and it features a small stud on the underside that you can use to flip it down while barely moving your finger off the primary trigger. It is a little looser than I’d like in the down position, but it’s also super fun to play with.

The analog brake lever on the bottom-front of the stick is in the same location that the Warthog has its similarly shaped paddle button (or secondary trigger, as I’ve seen some call it). This is the only actuator on the entire grip with a silent, non-clicky engagement. It’s important to note that the lever only functions in an analog fashion when paired with the MongoosT-50 Base. When used with the Warthog’s base, it functions digitally, as does the Warthog grip’s paddle, since that’s what the software is expecting to see.

Which brings us to the software. The VPC configuration software was not available for testing, but it does have a strong pedigree: the VPC team boasts as one of its members long-time flight-sim software and hardware DIY community contributor MegaMozg. (He was responsible for developing and releasing MMJoy2, a full solution for using an Arduino or similar board to turn basically anything into a game controller.) When used with a Warthog base, the MongoosT-50’s buttons all map to existing Thrustmaster Warthog stick buttons, so you can continue to use Thrustmaster’s TARGET software to create and modify specialized control mappings if desired.


Virpil WarBRD Base and Grip : the FSElite Review

€99.95 for Grip, €189.95 for base
FSElite's preferred Flight Sim vendor is SimMarket. (Why?)

As per our Community Charter, all of our reviews are free from bias, prejudice and favouritism. Don't forget, each reviewer has their own style and thoughts, although they all abide by the Review Guidelines - something I suggest you read.

VIRPIL is a relatively recent newcomer on the market of flight controls. Founded in 2016, their first products left the factory in 2018 with the creation of the MongoosT-50, a reproduction of the Sukhoi PAK-FA fighter joystick. The company, originating from Belarus, targets the combat and space simulation users and quickly established themselves as quality manufacturers. For the purpose of this hardware review, VIRPIL provided FSElite with the WarBRD Grip, Base, and VPC Deskmount V3 – L size. The specific WarBRD devices we are reviewing today were designed in cooperation with Roman Dorokhov, aka “Baur” who uses BRD as a trademark. Baur is famous in the world of custom high-end joysticks for flight simulation. He is now the Chief Designer at VIRPIL. This collaboration with VIRPIL puts his designing skills at a more affordable and wider scale. We will see how this goes for the simmer in this review.

The VIRPIL line of products

Before reviewing the products we will venture into the VIRPIL line of products. The VIRPIL concept is that most of their products are modular at several levels, to ensure the products fit exactly to the customer demand. There are two bases and five grips to choose from. All of them are interchangeable. In addition, both bases can also welcome either the Thrustmaster Warthog, Cougar or F/A-18C grips. The VIRPIL grips can also be connected to the Thrustmaster bases but with limited functionalities on the most advanced grips. The modularity of the line is not only a matter of cross compatibility, as we will see with the various options offered. Since the dawn of flight simulation on personal computers, there has been an aftermarket to replace pots, springs, arm levers. This was due to poor quality of parts, and to either compensate for the lack of support by companies, or to allow for some to enhance their experience so their products will behave exactly as they wish. The difference with VIRPIL Controls is that all these small mods and enhancements have been thought from the beginning and the serviceability of their products is here by design, as we will see below. This means that 3rd party makers can also offer their own sets of springs and cams. This review concentrates on the WarBRD Base and Grip, so let’s focus more specifically on this range.


The VIRPIL products come in simple packaging. The items are packed separately, in a bigger box. They are wrapped using bubble wrap and tape. There is not much to add, and the items came in perfect condition in spite of the infamous delicacy of the parcel handlers.

WarBRD Base

Let’s start this review with the WarBRD Base and the Deskmount. The WarBRD base was designed with compactness in mind for desktop setups. The base casing is entirely made of metal painted in black with polished chrome edges and screws. The base has no throttle axis, as you usually could find in many entry level joysticks. This is the first clue of where VIRPIL is standing. So using any VIPRIL base and Grip will mean you will have to buy a separate throttle if you do not own one already.

What first struck me during unboxing is that WarBRD Base is relatively compact, being 13cm long, 9cm width and 6cm height. Turning it upside down, the internal mechanism is reachable through the bottom of the base which has no plate. The gimbal is surprisingly compact. This is made possible because each axis features a double cross cam mechanism with one spring. This is the exact signature move we would expect from “Baur”. This allows for great deflection angle and great smoothness, but we will see about this further ahead in the review. Finally, the base comes with a rubber cache on the top, where the connector is located, which is interesting because it avoids dust going into the mechanism of the base, which is one of the flaws of the Thrustmaster Cougar and Warthog base. In the long term, this means sticks and bases with apparent gimbals, whatever the brand, will need to be disassembled to be cleaned; sadly most of them are absolutely not designed for. But let’s get back to the WarBRD base.

The USB cable length is 190cm, which may seem long for average desktop users, but is comfortable for cockpit builders, where the most direct path is not always possible nor wanted. Considering the target audience of the VIRPIL Base I would have rather liked if the cable was removable, but that is not a necessity.

Before setting up everything it is worth taking a look at the installation manuals. All of them are available on the VIRPIL website with many images and clear explanations all of which was very thorough and straightforward to understand. There was also a single A5 sheet of paper in the box with simple instructions on how to connect the grip to the base. The X plate below the grip is removable so that the grip can be screwed to a base plate or any custom setup. I tried the X plate which did its job, however, I found it would slide on my desk from time to time if I became really brutal.

Considering I already use a side mount with a Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog, I elected to set up my WarBRD base as such. The assembly on the Deskmount requires the use of a hex key that was not included in the package. Since I had a good collection of hex keys that was easily overcome, but I found it too bad VIRPIL did not include one, considering even your cheapest furniture will always come with a dedicated key. That being said, the Deskmount is clamped to the desk using a screw beneath it. Users should be careful because the entire mounting requires a lot of space below the desk, so if you want to use the stick in the center, you might not be able to set your seat at the height you wish. Interestingly, the grip can be twisted on its base upon connection, which means you can orientate it exactly how you wish for a perfect handling. While this is perfect for center mount adjustment depending on your seating and arm length, I was disappointed that I could not twist the base itself on the provided mount. The reason is that when using a side mount, the arm movement when pulling the stick is not exactly perpendicular to the desk and mount and naturally comes roughly in the direction of your shoulder. This means that you always apply a slightly left stick movement (or right if you have your stick on your left), unless you are able to twist the base itself and put the axis exactly in the direction where you arm pulls the stick. This is not too noticeable when putting the stick on a desktop, but can be prominent when your stick is on your side as in my setup. Some other competitors offer this possibility, which I regret. In the end, adjusting the height and twist so it would perfectly fit in my hand was actually what took me the most time of the entire process.

As mentioned in the foreword, the base was also designed in order to easily change the internal springs. The WarBRD comes with standard springs fitted but optional heavy springs can be installed. Using springs of various resistance will simulate the return to center due to the force of the air applied on the control surface of the aircraft. Users can also purchase cams that will create a linear deflection force. This accessory is designed primarily for the space simmers for example on Elite Dangerous, where obviously there is no air resistance on the control surfaces, with a further option of no center detent; this particular configuration will also interest helicopter pilots. Finally, the grips can also be mounted with an extension, which gives a larger deflection angle of the grip. Users should be careful using the extension on the WarBRD base, because it becomes possible to hit the Deskmount and damage your device, depending on your setup. While VIRPIL cross compatibility between lines of products enable you to do so the company themselves advise not to do so on the WarBRD unless you know exactly what you are doing. For such use, the Mongoose T50CM2 Base is more appropriate.

Overall, this setting up of the VIRPIL WarBRD Base on the Deskmount gives a very good first impression, with clearly lots of details that have been thoroughly engineered. The best in all this, is that apart from switching springs or cams which should not happen every day, most of the common issues that would be the reasons to tear apart your base and stick are mostly offset by a better design than average. Once they are set up, the VIRPIL are here for good.

WarBRD Grip

Continuing this review on the grip itself. The VIRPIL WarBRD grip is actually an almost 1:1 size replica of a stick that you could find in several western jet fighters of the 50’s and 60’s, among them the F-86 Sabre and the F-4 Phantom. The Grip features a dual stage trigger, two buttons, one 8-way+press switch similar to a hat and one 4-way + press switch. The major differences with the original grips are the addition of a LED at the top of the Grip and the thumb button on the left which is replaced by a 4 way + press switch. Overall that’s 10 buttons + the hat, which is not bad either. The only slight drawback concerns the button that is under the pinky. It will be easy to reach but hard to press for small hands, as the movement is unnatural.

Judging by the dimensions of the actual F-4 Phantom stick the reproduction of the grip is faithful in this matter. Wondering how this design flaw could have been missed, I tried the grip with actual flying gloves issued to military pilots, and it then felt much better in place. As real as it gets! However, since 99% of simmers will use their bare hands (after all, fire hazard in front of your sim should not be your primary concern), I thought that VIRPIL could have adjusted the layout of the grip by moving slightly the position of the pinky button to accommodate a wider range of hand sizes. That being said, this is only a minor remark and the grip is usable as is.

The WarBRD Grip is made of high quality polyurethane plastic and feels very solid, but is surprisingly lightweight. It is noticeable when compared to my Warthog stick, which is made of metal and is quite heavy – more about this below. The WarBRD Grip comes in two versions, one with an additional lockable yaw axis, and one without any. The version we were provided includes the yaw axis, but I locked it for my everyday use since I own rudder pedals. Alternatively, you could use this yaw axis as a tiller for taxi.

Mounting the Warthog on the WarBRD Base

To conclude on the grip part, I have tried the WarBRD Base with my Warthog grip. First a word of caution. In order to not damage the connector of the Thrustmaster stick, it is important to remove two bolts that are located on the connector grip socket so the stick can be rotated without damage. I find it a shame this was not mentioned in the paper documentation that came with the grip and that I only found this almost by chance wandering in the VIRPIL FAQ. Once this was done, the stick mounted perfectly on the base, and I was also able to adjust and lock the twist of it just like any VIRPIL stick. The handling however felt quite different, and as previously hinted this is mostly due to the weight difference between the VPC WarBRD Grip and the Warthog stick. The Warthog alone weighs 1.3kg while the WarBRD Grip is only 292g. This has a direct impact on the default spring which is too soft to properly hold the weight of the stick.

A slight touch on the stick will incur a movement and it will slide from one side to the other if you let it be after releasing the stick during a turn. While this freedom of movement may please space simmers and helicopter pilots, I recommend anybody who wishes to use Thrustmaster sticks on their WarBRD base to also plan for a spring exchange. And, as modularity is one of the good deeds of VIRPIL, the heavier springs are already enclosed as standard in the WarBRD Base, and the instructions of how to proceed are readily available in the documentation and through a Youtube Video. However, even if the WarBRD Base was designed for interchangeable springs and cams, it is not that easy and will require patience.

Changing the springs only is easy though and probably took me less than half an hour, using the right tools. Once it was all set, the feeling of the stick was much better, as the stiffer springs really gave it the right amount of resistance that was needed. The Warthog was recognized by the VPC Software, and then I proceeded within the sim for a tryout. All buttons and functions were recognized instantly, electronically speaking there was no difference, but the butter smoothness of the WarBRD base made a huge difference in terms of precision of flying. This completely renewed my sensations with the Warthog stick.

VPC Software

Once plugged in, the base and grip were instantly recognized. The first time I launched the VPC Software, it told me the firmware of my stick was outdated. Not exactly comfortable with the idea of bricking a brand new stick because I flashed the ROM without knowing what I was doing, I decided to take a look at the documentation. It took me only a couple of minutes to figure out how to do so. The process is explained in the documentation that is available on the VIRPIL website. Users should go to the “Firmware”. There is a “Start Auto Firmware button” which will take care of this automatically. It will take about one to two minutes, during which you will here the device connect and disconnect from Windows several times. Just make sure your computer does not reboot and that the device remains plugged in at all times during the process and you should be good. Once this is done, we can go through the configuration of the stick.

The software comes in two modes: lite and pro. It may look simple at first, but it is actually quite advanced. It allows the creation of profiles based on the combination of base, grip that you are currently using. This ensures the hardware is configured exactly as you want it. Just like any advanced configuration software, this will however require some time to get into properly. The VPC Software is very powerful, and the interface is not the clearest. Once initially set up the joystick is usable in sims, but those who want to take advantage of all the possibilities offered by the VIRPIL products will need to take a deep dive into the software documentation.

The documentation covering the software is well written, and gives several advice on how to properly connect the hardware, but the learning curve will be hard. For example, it is possible to create binding and cross configurations virtually expanding the amount of buttons you use. This is also through the software that will configure the color of the LED, but I did not find any utility nor compatible sims with this function.

Overall the configuration software works well but is not easy to grasp at first. We recommend users to read it carefully before connecting any VIRPIL hardware. In any case you encounter trouble, it is easy to reach out to the support team of VIRPIL. There is a dedicated Support Desk on their website with a ticketing system, a forum and plenty of documentation available.

In Game

Well, after all this hassle setting up our devices, the time has come to try them in my favorite sims. I am not much of a combat simmer anymore. So the apparent lack of buttons and switches on the WarBRD Grip compared to my Warthog stick and the other VIRPIL grips did not bother me much. In my everyday configuration, the buttons on the stick are more than enough for aileron and elevator trims, yaw damper, autopilot and autothrottle disconnects, a TOGA switch and a push-to-talk radio when flying on VATSIM. In essence, the WarBRD Grip, despite its name, is probably the most adapted grip of their range to civilian simulators.

In combat sim, it will mostly depend on what type of aircraft you are flying. The concept of a HOTAS “hands on throttle and stick” means that most controls are on the stick and throttle and that the “cab driver” should almost never have his hands off the controls. These appeared on aircraft only with 3.5 and 4th generation fighters. So, first of all, if you are into 5th generation fighters and space simulation, there are probably many other products that would suit you better. If you fly mostly World War II aircraft, then the WarBRD Grip should be more than enough for you.

The grip is much lighter and feels less sturdy than its metal counterpart, but it actually handles pretty well. Compared to the Warthog the stick is slightly smaller, so any hand that feels good on the Warthog will have no trouble with the WarBRD Grip. The plastic used is soft and slightly grainy, so the hand does not slip on it and I like how soft the touch is. Thanks to the quality of the polyurethane plastic used at manufacturing, it does not feel cheap either; but it differs considerably from the sensation of cold metal of the Warthog. After this one I thought I would never go back to plastic but in the end I find the WarBRD Grip very enjoyable.

The WarBRD Grip and Base are really designed to work together, and I can definitely feel it in the sims. The smoothness of the controls continues to surprise me after weeks of handling, and this is maybe the bigger advantage of this entry-level combo from VIRPIL. Flying in close formation with my comrades of FSElite during a group flight on Microsoft Flight Simulator, I really enjoyed the precision of the controls as each slight movement of my hand was transmitted to the aircraft. Hand flying has become more enjoyable and less tiring, as it is with the VIRPIL WarBRD that I flew for the first time for more than 2 hours of constant close formation only using the stick and trims. In combat sims, the precision becomes terrific in dogfights and ground strafing. The precision of the small inputs make it easier to reach the target. Because it is very precise, the WarBRD Combo is an excellent tool for serious simmers. Flying helicopters has also become much more realistic on the condition of using the right cams and springs.I can find again this greatness of the small movements around the center that remain precise.

Here lies why the WarBRD Combo is so great. Precision is not only a matter of high quality contactless sensors, but it also needs a full suit of cams, springs, grips and bases that were engineered to work together. There is where VIRPIL stands above the competition in my opinion. I like to fly helicopters, WarBRD, airliners and sometimes combat aircraft and the WarBRD Combo can do it all without constantly buying new hardware for each purpose … which I don’t have the money for anyway.


Considering the price tag, there is one important item that I will bring up last is the durability of the product. The VIRPIL products use contactless sensors where applicable, which are less prone to wear than regular pots and provide a very superior precision. As stated before, the WarBRD Base has a rubber cap covering the top of the connector, making it almost impossible for dust to collect inside the mechanism. Should it happen, the base was designed with disassembly in mind anyway, so cleaning will be very easy. The WarBRD base is definitely here to stay for a decade or more. Regarding the grip, while it has overall enthused me in terms of day to day use, I will be more conservative regarding the life expectancy of the buttons. The stick itself will not break unless you decide to throw bricks at it, and the plastic seems to be of real quality which should not see any signs of wear before years and years of abuse.

My concern has more to do regarding the various buttons of the grips.This review actually started with a WarBRD grip off which the hat did not work properly. It was of course hastily replaced with a functioning unit by VIRPIL. But on both grips I received some of the buttons – the red ones, to be precise – all have slight play in them. I suspect this is due to the fact that their push resistance is made using a spring under each button. This was done on purpose by design, as real buttons on real sticks need a fair sheer of strength to be activated in order to avoid inadvertent presses. The buttons need to be pushed harder than your keyboard to be activated, but this means the cap of the button itself can be quite jumpy. In all fairness I have noticed this on many joysticks that are not only VIRPIL. Some of them still work well and others have come completely loose and unusable. I disliked that, and the VIRPIL ones may last long, but what I fear again is after a few years of use, dust will have settled inside tempering with the buttons … just like with entry level joysticks.

I hope the future will prove me wrong on this point, and considering the care that has been put in the rest of the engineering, I am relatively confident this has been rigorously designed as well.


Depending on your usage, my advice considering the current line of products at VIRPIL would be as follows. If you are a mostly civilian pilot, get the WarBRD Base and Grip and a separate throttle, maybe one more designed for civilian use than the combat styles offered by VIRPIL. If you are more combat sim oriented but remain in props or early jets eras, getting the WarBRD Combo as well as one of their throttles would make a great start. If you fly any modern era jet fighter, then the WarBRD Grip might not be your best choice among the VIPRIL line of products and you should maybe think about some of their more advanced (and expensive) grips.

The WarBRD Combo is the cheapest you will get in the VIRPIL range, yet it retails at €251.91 excluding shipping and VAT and with a 10% discount on combo purchase. The WarBRD Combo has no throttle, the cheapest throttle at VIRPIL retails at €319.95. With a total cost of €571.86, if you start from 0 the price is steep. But, the quality is there. In spite of the small interrogation regarding the durability of the buttons, make no mistake that the VIRPIL controls are of excellent quality.

The VIRPIL WarBRD Combo came as a surprisingly serious contender on the market. It seems VIRPIL is here to last. Using a yoke and thinking of an upgrade ? Even if a yoke feels more realistic if you fly a Boeing, using a product such as the WarBRD Combo is going to actually be MORE realistic simply because no €250 yoke can give you the precision of actually piloting rather than simming that this combo does. Your virtual passengers will thank you. I recommend the VIRPIL line of product and this review only opened a further curiosity for their other products.
  • Excellent overall engineering
  • Great precision device
  • Pricing is right in range for what they offer.
  • Lightweight toyish feeling at first glance
  • Very powerful software but with a steep learning curve
  • Unsure of the durability of the buttons


Guillaume can be found with either his head in the sky or on his legs running on the trails. He's a licensed glider and ultralight pilot and former Air France cabin crew along with 25 years of simming under his belt. He spends his nights reading and learning aircraft manuals and building his own home cockpit.
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There’s a new challenger in the world of flight sticks and throttles

You can blame Microsoft Flight Simulator for the flight stick shortage we’re experiencing. Logitech, Thrustmaster, and many of the big name manufacturers are out of stock everywhere you look. What little product is actually available — even used equipment — is going for wildly inflated prices. Still other manufacturers are taking pre-orders, and then banging out new units as quickly as they can. So what’s a budding flight or space sim enthusiast to do?

My advice, of course, is to give the scalpers a wide berth. If you’re stuck on Microsoft Flight Simulator — especially the big commercial airliners — give Honeycomb Aeronautical a try. If you’re playing a more hardcore flight simulator, like something from the DCS World portfolio, you probably already know about VKB. Its high-end equipment is currently in stock. But, if you’re looking to spend a relatively modest amount of money on a more general purpose device — something that might work with terrestrial and space flight — I recommend you take a look at Virpil Controls, a small European company that is doing some really remarkable work.

And, just like everyone else, Virpil’s stuff is on backorder as well. Nevertheless, late last year Virpil sent along a selection of its most popular flight gear. I’ve been taking it for a test drive on my custom-built flight rig. So far I’m extremely impressed.

Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

My favorite set of kit is called the Virpil Constellation Alpha, which, when coupled with a throttle, does an admirable job of controlling commercial aircraft. It has plenty of hat switches, plus an assortment of triggers that are perfect for games in the IL-2 Sturmovik family or other high-end simulations. It’s also mostly plastic, but in a good way. It feels more robust than the Logitech X-52 and X-56, but lighter than the all-metal Thrustmaster Warthog.

The Virpil Constellation Alpha also comes in a left-handed variant. That means you can easily arrange for a much more complex dual-stick set-up. Also known as a hand-on-stick-and-stick (HOSAS) setup, I found that it completely changed the flight experience in both Star Citizen’s Persistent Universe and Elite Dangerous.

Explaining the difference is difficult to do with words. Previously I had played spaceflight simulation games with a single stick and throttle, which is known as a hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) setup. Swapping out the throttle for another stick meant that I had to constantly hold the left-hand stick forward to maintain forward thrust. But, by pulling back on that stick I had easy access to reverse thrust, which makes slowing down and changing directions in space a lot snappier. The right-hand stick still has complete control of pitch and yaw, while rudder pedals handle roll. But now I’m able to use the two stick’s twist axes to handle strafing (right) and moving up and down (left). Previously, those functions sat on a tiny hat switch on my throttle.

Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

After a few hours of HOSAS practice, I suddenly found myself with much more precise and immediate control over my virtual spaceships than ever before. Vectors which had previously been relegated to the keyboard or tiny hat switches were now integrated into the joysticks themselves. I could hit the gas on the main thruster to accelerate forward, rotate my ship in place, then roll left while also moving slightly down and sliding to the right all at the same time. The impact was especially prominent in Star Citizen, which has much faster ships and far more aggressive combat. HOSAS made me a harder target to hit, and helped to improve my own aim — especially with fixed weapons.

Better still, the Constellation’s side-mounted thumbsticks mean that you can actually navigate on foot without ever taking your hands off the joysticks. That made the experience in Star Citizen, which features a surprising amount of walking, much more enjoyable. It will also likely have the same kind of impact when Elite Dangerous: Odyssey launches later this year, adding first-person, on-foot gameplay to that spacefaring game.

Photo: Virpil Controls

Another highlight for me were Virpil’s Ace Interceptor Rudder Pedals. I’ve had a pretty good experience with the Thrustmaster TPR Pendular Rudder Pedals for the last few years, but they hang from a large central column that takes up a lot of space in my office. Virpil pedals are much, much lower to the floor and accommodate a wider stance — which, as a 6’6” man, I greatly appreciate. Ace pedals also have a much better mounting solution, in my opinion, compared to the TPR pedals. Out of the box, Virpil’s large, grippy rubber feet stay put on most surfaces. You can also remove about an inch of height from the pedals, stripping off the rubber feet and the entire lower frame, to attach them directly to a custom flight seat.

While the input devices alone are excellent, Virpil also has a line of surprisingly affordable custom mounting solutions. For around $70 you can get the Virpil Desk Mount V3-S. It features a dead-simple clamp with an adjustable bite, which you can dial in to firmly grasp the edge of your desk surface and hold fast. They release quickly, making storage a breeze. They’re also beautifully powder coated, and come with all the bolts you need to make the attachment to the Constellation. The V3-S also opens the door to additional customization options, including mounts that hang a keyboard, mouse pad, additional button boxes, and more all off of the same clamp.

Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

Note that you’ll need two of the Desk Mount V3-S devices for a HOSAS solution using the Virpil Constellation sticks, which brings the price of accessories up to $140. If you go with a HOTAS solution instead, making use of one of Virpil’s fully-customizable throttle boxes, you’ll need a slightly larger version of the clampand a special adapter plate. That brings the price for a full HOTAS mounting solution closer to $180.

Overall, I’m smitten with these Virpil controls. They strike a good balance between price point and feature set, sitting comfortably in between classics like the Logitech X-52 and the Thrustmaster T16000, and higher end products from Thrustmaster and VKB. They also have just the right amount of heft to them, and feel like a substantial upgrade to the kinds of flight sticks I’ve been using for the last decade.

There are a few caveats, however.

First, the documentation on these products ranges from awful to non-existent. Even basic assembly drove me out to YouTube where I spent hours freeze-framing foreign language unboxing videos to find out which screw goes where. When it comes to calibration and programming, you will similarly need to find your own way with the community of users on YouTube and on message boards as Virpil offers next to no help in getting things squared away.

Second, know that the current incarnation of the Virpil throttle box may simply be too much for most users. It has about twice as many buttons as Microsoft Windows recognizes on a game controller, which means you’ll need to take some extra time to get it tuned before you hop into a game. If you’re going HOTAS, I’d recommend getting something from Thrustmaster instead.

Also, I did notice some defective materials in the batch of products that I received. The non-marking pads on the mounting hardware, for instance, began to slide off after several weeks of continuous use. I also had several screw heads shatter as I attempted to remove them, either due to being made from weak metal or being gummed up with too much thread locking paste.

With those limitations in mind, I still can’t help but recommend Virpil. After nearly a decade of watching modest, incremental improvements in the space it’s nice to see a manufacturer innovating with their flight sticks. There’s even a line of collective grips on the way, which will be perfect for the new helicopters coming to DCS World and Microsoft Flight Simulator in the not-to-distant future.

$1600 VIRPIL HOTAS ORDER - VPC UNBOXING \u0026 1st LOOK Joystick Throttle

Virpil Controls - My review and Experience - Long Post

This is not an advertisement or endorsement of this company, this is a report mostly on my experience with them, customer support, and the difficulties experienced with my order, shipping, etc. I like their stuff, customer service on the other hand was medium to poor. I will explain below.

Virpil Controls – Information for all

Website: VIRPIL Controls - Home ( – This is the worldwide site to order from.

Create account, this allows you to track orders etc., and gets you support quicker. Although, they are 7 hours behind me, so we play time zone tag when trying to resolve issues. Be aware of that if you are unsure of which products to order.

Products: Joysticks (grips), Bases, rudder pedals, etc.

My experience: I live in the USA Southeastern Part of country. Virpil is located in Lithuania, so a far piece to order from why would I do so.

The quality of the equipment is 1st Class, all metal, or rigid glass reinforced plastic molding for grips, you can hit them with a hammer and they most likely will not break. The internals are also heavy metal, good springs, and double soldered connections it appears. You do NOT get Allen wrenches to assemble/remove covers for spring/cam replacement. Take note, and most likely all metric, if you don’t have good metric Allen set, get the ball end type, at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Some cautions, make sure you order the correct desk mount, as the “MINI” mount will not work for either base. You want as a minimum this one: VIRPIL Controls - VPC Desk Mount V3 - S (

I ordered the Mongoose base, the VFC grip, and mistakenly ordered the mini mount instead of the one above. The mini mount is about 40 dollars US, to return it you have 14 days, you must tell them you are returning anything. FedEx shipping BACK to them with about a 4-6lb box 9.5x9.5x6” was between 140-315 us dollars as calculated on FedEx’s website or my local shipping store. I kept the mini mount and ordered the correct one. The Mini mount is for the keyboard or the MFC backplate items. Be aware of this.

Virpil was advised of the problem as soon as I realized the base would not mount to the bracket, their response was, “oh you ordered the wrong one”, be advised the website did NOT inform me of that one not working on the base I ordered. Neither base would mount to it. I have to spend 100.00 more (including shipping) to get the correct mount. In our e-mail chain, I asked is their any discounts, or special accommodation because you guys don’t tell me what is needed, NO, NO DISCOUNTS. Also have not heard if they are going to expediate order so I can use the stuff I purchased, so not real keen on their customer service. If present order, manufacturer, shipping timeline is maintained, I will be able to use the stuff I ordered back in October by March or April. So not happy with them over this. Customer service is not their strong suit for the average person, their “reviewers on YouTube” get special treatment I think, plus bet they get better pricing than you and I do.

As noted, ad nauseum the supply channel/peripherals, PC Parts, i.e., Video Cards, Processors, Motherboards, all of it, is back logged for months. MSFS did not in and of itself do this, COVID-19 did this and the arcane restrictions governments are and have placed on the citizenry to “so call protect them”. As my financial advisors say, politicians need to it seems be doing something even if that something is killing people’s livelihood, destroying economies, and the subsequent lives of said population they control. We did not do this for smallpox, Seasonal Flu (death rates are almost the same as Covid), venereal disease, measles, or other contagious diseases. They did for the 1918-1923 Spanish flu to some degree, but most of the populations lived in rural areas, not packed into cities like now.

But I digress, I will order the Rudder Pedals from them later this year, even though they are way more expensive possibly than honeycomb, why, they are all metal construction, and will last me for the rest of my life, or the life of Simulator flying anyway. But going in, I will know exactly which model of them I am ordering, because to return anything, is problematic at best.

You can see videos of how-to setup and configure the software, assembly the various base and grips, brackets, here, I have included several links. Hope this helps anyone thinking about this company, know they are built stronger than Logitech, Honeycomb, and maybe even Virtual Fly. Good Products, crappy customer service. But, would rather keep Europeans working than china.


(102) Virpil WarBRD Base with V.F.X. F14 Grip quick review and set up - YouTube

(102) Install Virpil software Tutorial - YouTube – Watch this one first – NOTE BRICK UNIT if you don’t do it correctly

(102) Set-up and configure Virpil joystick/base tutorial - YouTube

(102) Virpil attaching grip and extensions tutorial - VPC - YouTube

One final thing, no manuals are included, nor the software, both need to be downloaded from their website. Another step needed to jump through. The videos above will show you how to install, and configure the software and the devices.


Joystick usa virpil

VIRPIL Joystick - VPC Constellation DELTA grip & WarBRD Base

SoldSee similar itemsEUR 232,0417 Bids, EUR 25,32 Shipping, Garantie client eBay

Seller:mikelendon48✉️(1.330)99.6%, Location:Southampton, Ships to: GB & many other countries, Item:263943390082VIRPIL Joystick - VPC Constellation DELTA grip & WarBRD Base. VPC Constellation DELTA GripThe first entry in the VPC Constellation Series, the VPC Constellation DELTA Grip is an ambidextrous, entry level grip designed specifically for use with the latest space sims. Featuring a control set aimed to satisfy the unique requirements of even the most demanding space sim pilot, including:★ 1 x Dual-stage Trigger★ 1 x 8-way POV Hat (Programmable LED Surround)★ 2 x 5-way Hats (4-way + Push)★ 1 x Analogue Stick (+ Push)★ 1 x Scroll Encoder (+ Push)★ Twist AxisThe VPC Constellation DELTA Grip is perfect for a dual stick setup, combined with a left or right hand VPC MongoosT-50 Grip or even as a standalone stick with throttle.VPC WarBRD BaseThe VPC WarBRD Base is the next generation of desktop flightsticks. Featuring a fully featured, all metal gimbal while still remaining compact enough for desktop setups.Each axis is centered by dual symmetrical cams ensuring separated loading forces with predictable reponse and tension. The WarBRD's axes are also completely adjustable with 2 included spring types:★ Standard ★ HeavyAnd 2 included cam profiles:★ Soft Center★ No CenterHigh levels of accuracy are provided by the onboard VPC Controller and VPC Contactless Digital Proximity Sensors. Movements as small as 0.006º are detected.The VPC WarBRD features the same grip connector as the estabilished VPC MongoosT-50. This ensures complete compatibility with VPC's previous and future grips without requiring any adapters or modifications. The VPC WarBRD is perfect for the professional virtual pilot looking for a compact, desktop ready solution. The VPC Constellation Delta Grip is compatible with the following bases:★ VPC MongoosT-50 Base★ VPC WarBRD BaseThe VPC WarBRD Base is compatible with the following grips:★ VPC MongoosT-50 Grip★ VPC Constellation Delta Grip★ VPC WarBRD Grip★ TM Warthog GripCondition:Opened – never used, Returns Accepted:ReturnsNotAccepted

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