Using a Joystick


Setting up and adjusting your controller
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Prepar3D is most realistic when you use a joystick, yoke, or other controller. You can fly more precisely, and the buttons and controls make it easy to change views, adjust the throttle, extend or retract the landing gear and flaps, and operate other aircraft controls.

Prepar3D is compatible with joysticks, yokes, game pads, and other controllers supported by Microsoft Windows and the DirectInput device standard. Use the device that works best for you as your primary control, and customize it to suit your needs. Many products feature different configurations, so refer to your controller's documentation for its button assignments.

Before you fly, make sure your joystick or other controller is:

Also make sure you have the latest device drivers. If in doubt, download and install them from the manufacturer's Web site.

Joystick Commands

Depending on your joystick, you'll probably have buttons for frequently used controls and for cockpit views, but you'll still need to use the mouse or keyboard for other functions.


1. (Trigger) release brakes
2. Cycle views
3. Elevator trim down
4. Elevator trim up
5. Extend flaps
6. Retract flaps
7. Drop objects
8. Landing gear up/down
9. (Hat switch) Look around
10. Throttle control

Here's a list of the default joystick commands:

Action Command
Apply/release brakes Button 1 (trigger)
Cycle views (Cockpit, Tower, Track, Spot) Button 2
Elevator trim down Button 3
Elevator trim up Button 4
Extend flaps Button 5
Retract flaps Button 6
Drop objects Button 7
Landing gear up/down Button 8
Bank left (ailerons) Move stick left
Bank right (ailerons) Move stick right
Pitch down (elevator) Move stick forward
Pitch up (elevator) Move stick backward
Yaw left (rudder) Twist stick left
Yaw right (rudder) Twist stick right
Look ahead/right Move hat switch up/right
Look right Move hat switch right
Look back/right Move hat switch down/right
Look back Move hat switch down
Look back/left Move hat switch down/left
Look left Move hat switch left
Look ahead/left Move hat switch up/left
Look up Move hat switch up

Customizing Joystick Assignments

Change the control assignments to customize the joystick use to suit your flying style.

To change joystick button commands

  1. On the Options menu, point to Settings, then click Controls.
  2. Click the Buttons/Keys tab.
  3. Select either the Normal or Slew Mode option, depending on which mode you want to change commands for.
  4. In the Event category list, choose the category of events that you want to set.
    For example, select Autopilot commands to customize the commands for the autopilot. Your selection determines what appears in the Assignment list below, which lists events and their corresponding key and joystick commands.
  5. In the Assignment list, select the event that you want to set to a different joystick button.
  6. Click Change Assignment to choose a new joystick button assignment for the event you've selected.
    The Select Assignment dialog box will open.
  7. Press the joystick button that you want to use for the selected event. If the button is currently being used and you don't want to replace it, click the Clear button.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Make any additional changes you want using steps 3 through 8 above.
  10. Click OK.

To change joystick axes

  1. On the Options menu, point to Settings, then click Controls.
  2. Click the Joystick Axes tab.
  3. Select either the Normal or Slew Mode option, depending on which mode you want to change commands for.
  4. In the Assignment list, select the event that you want to set to a different joystick axis.
  5. Click Change Assignment to choose a new joystick axis for the event you've selected.
    The Select Assignment dialog box will open.
  6. Move the joystick axis that you want to use for the selected event. If the axis is currently being used and you don't want to replace it, click the Clear button.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Make any additional changes you want using steps 3 through 8 above.
  9. Click OK.

Resetting and Deleting Assignments

To remove a control assignment from a command you've selected, click the Delete Assignment button on the Buttons/Keys or Joystick Axes tab.

To cancel any changes you've made to your controller assignments and return to the Prepar3D default settings, click the Reset Defaults button.

Calibrating Your Joystick

If your joystick seems to be behaving erratically, you may need to calibrate it.


You can calibrate your joystick in the Windows Game Controllers dialog box

To calibrate your joystick

  1. Make sure your joystick is plugged in and installed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. On the Options menu, point to Settings, and then choose Controls.
  3. Click the Calibrate tab.
  4. Click Calibrate.
  5. On the Settings tab follow the instructions onscreen.

Adjusting Joystick Sensitivity

Prepar3D's preset sensitivity for joysticks is in the middle of the range, and the response rate is average. You can adjust these sensitivities; experiment to find the setting you like best.

"Sensitivity" refers to how sensitive the joystick is for a given axis. For example, with high sensitivity, the slightest movement of the joystick will have a large effect on the aircraft's controls in Prepar3D.

"Null Zone" refers to how much "dead space" there is in a given joystick axis center position. For example, with a large null zone, you will be able to move the joystick slightly before it has an effect on the aircraft's controls in Prepar3D.

To adjust the sensitivity of your joystick

  1. Make sure your joystick is plugged in and installed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. On the Options menu, point to Settings, then click Controls.
  3. Click the Calibrate tab.
  4. To adjust the sensitivity for all axes simultaneously, click the Simple option, then drag the Sensitivities-all axes and Null zones-all axes sliders to the settings you want.
    -or-
    To adjust the sensitivity for each for each axis separately, click the Advanced option, then select each axis and drag its Sensitivity and Null zone sliders to the settings you want.
  5. Click OK.

Note
To reset all sensitivity options to their default values, click the Reset Defaults button.

Adjusting Joystick Forces

If you are using a force-feedback joystick, you can enable or disable any or all force-feedback options:

To adjust joystick forces

  1. On the Options menu, point to Settings, then click Controls.
  2. Click the Forces tab.
  3. Select or clear the desired force feedback options.
  4. Click OK.

Note
To disable all force feedback options, clear the Enable force feedback checkbox on the Forces tab.