• Review: HOTAS F/A-18C Hornet Grip

    Connection And Performance

    Connecting the F/A-18C grip is really easy and only takes half a minute or so. In my home cockpit setup I have the Warthog A10 base and grip, so all I had to do was to unscrew the large 'wheel-like' screw placed at the bottom of the grip. This screw you can tighten and untighten just using your fingers, no more is needed. When the screw is untightened you can lift off the grip from the base and now just place your new F/A-18C grip on the base, tighten the 'wheel-like' screw again and that's it.

    The base and the grip interact using a small connector that looks like a 5-pin mini DIN connector and the connection from the base to the computer is a standard USB/A cable.

    I tested this grip on 5 different platforms/flight simulators and what I found was that the programming or assignment of functions was easy to complete within each platform. In general I would assume that you could use any assignment or programming tool like C++, LINDA, SIOC or the TARGET etc. however, I did my assigning using the included assignment tools for each simulator and finally also using Pete Dawson's FSUIPC which turned out perfectly.

    Thrustmaster HOTAS F/A-18C Hornet Grip     Thrustmaster HOTAS F/A-18C Hornet Grip

    I started out with my tests on Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D v4+ and I quickly noticed that the grip was recognized as the Warthog HOTAS. This is of course due to the base being the Warthog A10 and the data which are pre-programmed into the base PCB. No problem though, because in P3D I can setup various profiles even for the same base, meaning that I have created a profile that fits the buttons found on the Warthog grip and a second profile that fits the buttons found on the Hornet grip. These profiles are selectable in the internal assignment tool of P3D.

    The same as above I also found using Microsoft's Flight Simulator X also known as FSX - this I had also expected due to the connection between FSX and P3D, but I of course also tested the connection to X-Plane 11. The result here was also that the grip was recognized as the Warthog HOTAS and the image displayed was of course the A10 grip with that grip's specific button layout. None-the-less, I could easily program the grip even though the numbers of each button might not be the same as with the A10.

    I now moved on to the DCS World 2.5 for which the grip is actually created and this especially for the F/A-18C Hornet game module. Actually I did the test on both the Huey and the A10 as well as the Hornet but the experience was of course the very best on the Hornet. The grip is awesome and just perfect for this simulation - it does not need any programming since everything is pre-programmed and works straight out-of-the-box like a plug and play unit.

    All buttons are pre-programmed when using the DCS F/A-18C aircraft - this also the hat-switch which I normally use to look around the cockpit. This hat-switch is in real life used for trims, and this is also applied into the DCS aircraft and thereby also within the ThrustMaster grip. This is however no issue and you can of course just assign new commands for the hat-switch so that it will function for views instead, or you can add to your simulation a head-tracker if you don't have a full 3 or 4 projector view. For me, I selected the option to use my IR5 head-tracker which gave me the possibility to use the grip with the most optimal and realistic setting.

    The final flight simulator I used for test was the 'WoP' alias Wings of Prey, which actually is not really defined as a flight simulator but maybe more like an arcade World War II war game. The grip was recognized as a programmable gaming device and I could easily assign functions to all the buttons to my preference. I had previously used the A10 grip on this simulator, but it seemed that I had to assign all functions once again since none was saved.

    Conclusion

    My comments on the experience of this new and very exciting F/A-18C Hornet grip, is that this grip absolutely is a high quality product. The grip is manufactured with high precision, an eye for the details and with a keen focus on the real-life grip, providing this replica grip with a sensational and awesome realism and authenticity.

    The grip features a smooth and beautiful metal construction with a clean black paint which provides the simmer with a perfect and true-to-real-life feel of realism. The components are of an industrial grade giving a superb quality and durability to the grip, and my impression all combined, is more than just great - this is in my opinion one of the best grips that I have ever tested for any flight simulator. For you that have tried the A10 Warthog stick, also from ThrustMaster, then you can expect the same high standard, quality and innovation for this new replica F/A-18C Hornet grip.

    The idea of being able to quickly switch the grip in your home cockpit, to fit the aircraft that you are about to fly while still using the same base, is a superb idea that certainly adds greatly to the realism and experience of the overall flight simulation. E.g. my own home cockpit setup has integrated the stick and the wiring which would make it difficult to change stick, but using the same standard base and only changing the grip is a very cool idea and an easy way of improving the in-depth experience.

    Thrustmaster HOTAS F/A-18C Hornet Grip     Thrustmaster HOTAS F/A-18C Hornet Grip

    No matter which flight simulation platform you are using, then using a replica grip for each aircraft is just awesome and something that I can only recommend. Maybe in the future we could see more grips coming to support a larger variety of aircraft and maybe also helicopter cyclics...

    This replica grip from ThrustMaster is a high quality masterpiece that I most certainly will recommend for the more serious simmers. I rate the grip with a perfect 5/5-stars rating - it is high quality, pure eye candy, true to real-life and is a perfect addition to e.g. the DCS World F/A18C Hornet, the VRS Superbug or any other military jet add-on.

    Rays Aviation

    Raymond Andersen
    Rays Aviation

    Thrustmaster Web Site

    Review Computer Specifications (Primary Test-Bed):

    • Windows 10 (64-bit)
    • Windows 7 (32-bit) (secondary system)
    • Intel Core™ i7-4790K 4x4.00 GHz (Turbo 4x4.40 GHz)
    • Asus Maximus VII Ranger (ROG-series)
    • Antec Kuhler H20 650 Water Cooler
    • Kingston HyperX Beast-series 32 GB DDR3-2133 RAM
    • 500Gb Samsung 850 EVO SSD
    • 3Tb Seagate Barracura (7200rpm, 6 GB/s)
    • Asus GeForce GTX 980 Strix OC 4 GB
    • 150/150 Mbit Fiber Internet Connection

    Tested On The Following Flight Simulation Platforms:

    • Prepar3D v4+
    • X-Plane11
    • FSX with Acceleration Pack
    • Wings of Prey
    • DCS World 2.5

    1 Comment
    1. Danparis's Avatar
      Danparis -
      Wonderful well made, of course and as usual with Thrustmaster. I also soon use th Warthog and the Cougar sticks.
      I think it would be great to propose an hotas in the same quality for Airbus e.g. to the people who are flying GA.
      The models on the market are retailed about 2000$!!!
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