The VelocityOne Flight is a universal control system designed specifically for Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox consoles and PC. Comprising of both a yoke and a throttle quadrant, the system has been developed in collaboration with aeronautical engineers and pilots and is Turtle Beach’s first simulation peripheral. At $379.95/£349.99, it’s not exactly cheap, but you are getting a lot of tech here.
I have limited experience with flight sticks and yokes, having used them briefly in the past, but when I pulled this thing out of the box, I felt a little intimidated. Thankfully, it was an absolute breeze to set up. The system comes in two units: the actual yoke unit itself and the throttle quadrant. The throttle quadrant simply clicks into a slot on the side of the yoke and is then attached via USB-C cable. Then, the whole system is connected to either a PC or Xbox console using just one USB-C cable — easy stuff. But what I found really impressive was the neat and tidy mounting system. Lifting up a panel on top of the yoke exposes a hex key and two screws. Loosening these screws drops down two hooks at the front of the unit that can then be clamped down to a desk by retightening the screws. This saves having to fiddle around with a couple of big knobs that you can’t see under a desk to make minor adjustments. Once you’re all done, you can place the hex key back into its slot and reattach the top panel. If you’re not a fan of clamping the unit down, there are several pieces of suction tape that can be stuck to the bottom of the unit to keep it from slipping when performing barrel rolls, though it’s likely these will need to be replaced over time as they accumulate dust and debris.
After plugging in the VelocityOne Flight to a PC or Xbox, the unit comes alive. A small flight management display screen lights up, along with bright LEDs on the yoke handle, throttle quadrant, and the Status Indicator Panel (all of which are fully customisable) that is supposed to display warning lights for when you’re landing gear is down or if you’re low on fuel. Sadly, this feature wasn’t implemented at the time of writing, but Turtle Beach has said it will be coming soon. The yoke handle features a plethora of buttons and inputs, including two HATS, two POV sticks, and the regular buttons you’d see on an Xbox controller, including integrated rudder controls that are bound to the pressure-sensitive LT and RT triggers. While holding, it feels premium and is wonderfully ergonomic — every button and input is well within reach, and the yoke glides in and out and turns smoothly. However, the throttle quadrant doesn’t quite match the same standard as the yoke. The quadrant features four levers that replicate the engine thrust controls across a number of aircraft. These are quite loose, and it’s very easy to knock them out of position and lose all power to your engines. If you’re a heavy user, these levers could potentially get looser over time. The three vernier levers used to replicate controls in light aircraft, feel quite cheap and plasticky, which isn’t something I would expect from something that costs £350. The trim wheel is the star of the show here, though. It offers a nice amount of resistance, making it easy to adjust the pitch of a plane in flight.
Taking to the skies with the VelocityOne Flight is easy after some initial setup. Using the Flight Management Display, you can select which platform you’re using the system on, and from one of three pre-programmed control profiles: a default setting, one for single-engine prop planes, and another for twin-engine jets. I found this extremely useful when wanting to get straight into the action as I didn’t need to mess around with bindings, though you can change the bindings and inputs to suit your preferences if you so wish. The best feature of all, however, is the Training mode. Turning this on displays what each input does after a button press live on the flight management screen — it even shows you how far you’re turning or pushing in the yoke or levers. This mode was invaluable for a novice like me as it reminded me which input I needed to press to pull up my landing gear or release the parking brake.
In flight, the yoke felt glorious to use, and it really added a layer of immersion I hadn’t experienced before with other flight sticks on both PC and Xbox Series X. I was making long, sweeping turns and setting my plane down on the runway with such precision that I am now fully convinced I could easily fly a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. If both pilots were to fall ill on a flight I was on, no problem! I could handle it after my several hours with the VelocityOne Flight. No problem at all… In all seriousness, the VelocityOne Flight handles like a dream. Making adjustments on the fly feels smooth and accurate. The throttle quadrant does let the VelocityOne Flight down somewhat, however. The levers are just a tad too loose, and I’d easily knock them with my clumsy hands as I was making an adjustment that would often need a precise touch. If they were just a little tighter, it would alleviate the problem and add a little more resistance which would have improved my overall immersion with the levers. Aside from that, pushing my two lever engines forward to full power on takeoff never got old.
Overall, the VelocityOne Flight is a fantastic piece of kit for fans of Microsoft Flight Simulator. If you don’t have a yoke and throttle setup, I couldn’t recommend this more. I found it extremely easy to use and very beginner-friendly, and I am sure there is more than enough customisation and features available on the VelocityOne Flight that will satiate even some of the more hardcore simmers out there. I couldn’t really find fault with it on either Xbox Series X|S or PC — it works identically on both systems; it’s just a few niggling quality issues that let it down ever so slightly. If you’re in the market for a yoke and throttle quadrant and don’t mind splashing a bit of cash, then you should definitely consider the VelocityOne Flight.
A review unit of the VelocityOne Flight was provided by Turtle Beach for the this article.