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Joint Ops Virtual Flying School

Saying goodbye to an era

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Yesterday I went the cellar to get the packing box for my Cougar. I have realized that my modified Cougar just doesn’t cut it as reserve for my Warthog so it was time to put it away for long time storage in the safe enviroment of its original packing.
As I pulling the box out of my cellar room it felt a little heavy. It suddenly dawned on me that my old Thrustmaster Digital F22 and TQS was inside

In 1995 Thrustmaster start selling the F22 Pro; A high quality, extremely programmable Joystick.
In the late mid 1990’ties I was looking for a programmable joystick as I was tired of the limitations of games unable to customize controls. During my search saw both the TM F22 Pro and the Suncom F-15E Talon ( The price tag on both was horrendous for a student, so I quickly forgot about both as they were outside my purse. Within a few weeks the Suncom F-15 Talon came on sale (probably due to the bankruptcy of Suncom at which I didn’t know at the time) and I used all my savings to buy it. The stick was a massive compared to all another joystick that I had owed at the time, so I was filled with anticipation as I carried it home. The anticipation was soon exchanged for disappointment and after a few days trial and error I came to realize that my new wonder was actually DOA (Dead On Arrival). The store promised to take care of it but after a few weeks they informed me that I would get my money back and the Suncom would not be repaired. This was as a disastrous result as the F-15 Talon was nowhere to be found at that bargain price and that I could not afford the F22 Pro. I forcefully expressed my dissatisfaction and the store manger ended up offering an exchange; My broken SuncomF-15 Talon for the Thrustmaster F-22 Pro.
This would be the start of a love/ hate relationship.

Programming the F-22 soon showed to be harder than I could handle. The programming was in a DOS window and there was very little help so for a while I used it as a DirectX stick.

In 1998, a few year after the warranty ran out one of the springs in the gimbals broke. Thrustmaster replaced only asking for the shipping cost. I was impressed by their service.

In 1999 my stick began spiking on the axis due to wear and tear. The sudden change of direction from the sensors in my F-22 had a negative effect of my performance. At best this behaviour increased my ability to handle bizar emergency situation, at worst the outcome was fatal. At first I became desperate but in the end I flew less and less.

During 1999 the Internet was getting affordable for ordinary tech savvy in Denmark. I soon found that I was not alone in my frustration with spiking sensors. Many hardcore Thrustmaster owners was getting desperate too. So in late 1999 a guy named Bob Church found out how to program a chip replacement which filtered out the spiking sensors (pots). Before Bob Church knew it he was swarmed with orders for the “F-22/FLCS/TQS Digital upgrade. Buying online was new for me, but at the start of the year 2000 I was among his customers
I came back to simming. During my search for a solution to the spiking problem I got in contact with a lot of other Thrustermaster product owners. I found that I was no longer alone in my frustration in programming the damm stick . This was when I started hearing about “Fox 2” and James “Nutty” Hallows ( James Hallows had in his frustration made a GUI development environment for F-22/TQS and so I bought yet another ‘mod’ which finally got me started on programming complex joystick files.

By late 2000 I broke up with yet another girlfriend and with nothing to spend my money on , I bought the Thrustermaster TQS Throttle in which I installed the surplus Digital chip from Bob Church (Bob only sold the chips in pairs). Girls buy shoes, guys buy gadgets

In 2001 the brand Thrustmaster had been sold to Guillemot and there where talk about a new top-of-the-line product to replace the old TM F-22/TQS. A bunch of new names begun to circulate in the community; Names like Dimebug and Red Dog, but when Mr. Hallows joined the development team I was sold. I preordered with an expected delivery in
early 2002 but to my disappointment the new Cougar HOTAS was delayed,
but in march 2002 Cougar number #395 arrived in my home.

It is over ten years since I retired the F-22 Pro and the TQS. I gave me a lot of experience and fun. So when I saw in the safe confines of the Cougar box I got a fuzzy feeling of nostalgia. It is neither nice to look at nor does it feels good in my hands and it have seen better day. It is a relique from another time and obsolete in every way;

Its time to say goodbye to an era.

I salute you!

Updated 2013-02-27 at 13:20 by Starfire_EAF331



  1. Mikke's Avatar
    Reminds me of the old FCS/WCS that I have in storage (with an non-working extra for both!), they served me well from when I bought my first PC in -95 (the WCS was probably bought in -96 though) until I bought my Cougar in -02 I think it was. The FCS/WCS wasn't perfect, but old Thrustmasters service sure was!