Already got a tween of your own begging and pleading for a decent gaming joystick from Santa? It's a common issue, or so we hear. Thrustmaster's HOTAS Warthog is probably one of the nicest around, and it looks as if it'll be landing on American doormats in plenty of time to procure a sufficient amount of wrapping paper. The ultimate flight sim stick will start shipping out by the end of this month for a wallet-melting $499.99, but thankfully for you, we were able to put together a lengthy list of impressions during a hands-on session back at E3. And hey, if this one ends up out of reach, at least you've always got Solipskier.
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Thrustmaster Launches the HOTAS WARTHOG™, A Realistic Joystick For Flight Enthusiasts

Thrustmaster provides a solution for gamers with a need for speed setting a new worldwide benchmark for gaming joysticks


New York, NY – (October 7, 2010) - Thrustmaster, the innovative PC and console accessory brand, unveils their new flagship gaming product, the HOTAS WARTHOG™, a full replica of the joystick, dual throttle system and dual throttle control panel of the U.S. Air Force A-10C attack aircraft. Weighing in at more than 14 lbs, the joystick, throttle handles and bases are constructed of mostly metal. With 55 fully programmable action buttons and 2 four-direction hat switches, each with a built-in push button (the first joystick in the world to incorporate such a feature), the HOTAS WARTHOG™ is in a class of its own. It will be available at the end of October for $499.99 SRP.

The HOTAS WARTHOG™ joystick is the result of an intense collaboration between Thrustmaster's development teams and members of the flight sim community. Exchanges between the two sides and studies were carried out constantly throughout the product's development phase in order to create a joystick which meets the most exact and specific requirements of these expert users.

The three key parts in the HOTAS WARTHOG™ that make up an effective, complete set include:

The Joystick

* Action Buttons- The joystick features 19 action buttons, along with a "Point Of View" hat
* Extreme precision - Employs the H.E.A.R.T HallEffect AccuRate Technology™* magnetic sensor system: 16-bit precision (65536 x 65536 values), with no gimbals (cardan joints)
* Actual Airplane Button Resistance – Pressing on the joystick's buttons and triggers requires pressure identical to that required in an actual airplane – a true first in the world of joysticks
* Detachable Joystick – For complete freedom of use for flight simmers, the joystick handle is detachable and can also be used on the base of the HOTAS Cougar™
* Detachable Base – allows users to install the joystick in a cockpit

The Throttles

* Dual Throttle System – Allows for independent control of 2 motors: a locking system lets the user either attach the 2 throttles together, or keep them independent of one another
* Magnetic Sensor Technology – The magnetic sensor technology used for the throttles (14-bit resolution, with 16384 values on each throttle) provides unrivalled precision
* Pull and Push System – Switching to the idle and afterburner detents is carried out via a Pull and Push* system, for even greater realism
* Afterburner Detent – Can be disengaged, allowing users to perfectly adapt the throttle control to the type of airplane they are piloting
* Multiple Function Throttles – Feature a total of 17 action buttons, a "Point Of View" hat and a "mouse hat / slew control"

The Control Panel

* Multiple Controls – The control panel provides an extensive number and variety of controls
* Friction Wheel – Allows users to manually adjust the resistance of the throttles according to their own preference
* Backlit Functions – Users will appreciate the 5 programmable LEDs and backlighting during low-light conditions or dark night flights
* Trim Wheel - The base includes a "trim wheel" and 15 action buttons, including numerous push buttons with resistance identical to that on a real airplane and industrial metal switches (2 or 3 positions) with highly realistic pressure

Innovative, high-performance software

The HOTAS WARTHOG™ joystick's deadly weapon is known as T.A.R.G.E.T (Thrustmaster Advanced pRogramming Graphical EdiTor). T.A.R.G.E.T is a software suite allowing users to test, configure and program Thrustmaster® controllers, chief among them the all-new HOTAS WARTHOG™, but also the MFD Cougar, the HOTAS Cougar™ and the T.16000M.

T.A.R.G.E.T

* Create Programming Configurations – Users can create programming configurations which are either more or less complex simply by using the mouse and the Drag and Drop principle
* Three different programming Levels – "Basic", to get started; "Advanced", to employ more advanced functions; and finally "Script", to harness the full power of the software
* New Script Language – In this software suite, the standard Script language has been totally rewritten to provide more flexibility, new functions and virtually unlimited possibilities
* The Powerful Software Application – Can simulate virtual devices such as a keyboard, joystick and mouse, in order to simulate all of the actions required for these devices' use and are measured on the axes and buttons of the physical controllers, but sent to software applications via a virtual controller
* Total Interaction – T.A.R.G.ET allows interaction between different Thrustmaster USB controllers, with simplified configurations in simulators, and the use of a single preset for all controllers, rather than having to use multiple different presets as controllers
* Built-In Presets – T.A.R.G.E.T includes built-in presets for well-known games (both recent and older titles), and lets users create new presets too

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Thrustmaster shipping HOTAS Warthog flight controller this month for $500