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 VolaireSim 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.