Thrustmaster AVA Base Review

Thrustmaster recently sent me their new flight stick base for review, and today I’m excited to share my thoughts on it. Priced at $300, this base positions itself among the higher-end flight stick bases. It’s one of the more expensive options on the market, so the big question is: does it deliver enough to justify its price? Let’s explore its features, build quality, and overall performance.

Deflection Masks

One standout feature of this base is the deflection masks. These masks limit the range of motion of the stick, which might sound trivial but is actually quite significant. When using an extension, the small mask can reduce excessive movement, making control more manageable. For direct mounting, the full 43° mask offers a broader range of motion. This flexibility in configuration is a major plus.

Adjustable Spring Tension

Adjusting the spring tension is quick and easy. Using an Allen key, you can tweak both the X and Y axes to your preference. While this isn’t a new feature in the market, it’s a welcome addition, especially for those familiar with the old Warthog setup.

Interchangeable Cams

The interchangeable cams are another highlight. They allow you to customize the feel of the deflection, especially around the central part of the stick where detents can often be felt. With these cams, you can make the detent nearly imperceptible, which is great for fine movements and precision control.

Precision and Accuracy

Precision is crucial for a flight stick, and this base does not disappoint. The combination of high-resolution sensors and customizable cams makes it one of the most precise sticks available, particularly in the central crossover section. This precision is invaluable for tasks requiring minute adjustments, such as hovering or landing.

Missing Damper

One notable absence is the damper, which is not included with the base. While the lack of a damper doesn’t significantly impact normal use, it does mean the stick lacks the sense of weight and resistance that a damper provides. Thrustmaster plans to release a damper as an accessory in the future. If they execute it well, it could elevate this base to the top of the market.

Thrustmaster has announced several accessories for this base, including the EVA plate for desk mounting and the EVA offset adapter for a center-mounted configurations. The offset adapter, which acts as a mini extension, is particularly useful for achieving a more natural hand position. And almost outright needed for centre mounting.

The base features a mix of high-quality plastic and metal. While some might be disappointed by the plastic casing, it feels premium and is well-finished. The guts of the base however, is all metal and built heavy and sturdy. The design complements Thrustmaster’s F-16 and F-18 sticks, maintaining an industrial look and feel. The attention to detail is evident, and the build quality overall is solid.

Mounting the stick is straightforward. The base uses the same mounting pattern as the older Warthog, allowing easy integration with existing setups. The design encourages customization, making it easy to switch out cams and springs. One of the real highlights of the AVA Base.

Pros

The build quality of the Thrustmaster AA Stick Base is exceptional. The mix of high-quality plastic and metal components gives it a premium feel, ensuring it’s both durable and well-finished. Its design is another highlight, featuring an aggressive, modern look that pairs beautifully with Thrustmaster’s F-16 or F-18 sticks. This combination creates an industrial and robust aesthetic that’s both functional and visually appealing.

In terms of usability, switching out sticks is incredibly easy. Thrustmaster has retained the same mounting pattern as the older Warthog, making it simple to integrate into existing setups. The precision of this stick is another standout feature. It’s incredibly accurate, especially around the center axis, where fine adjustments are often necessary. The almost non-existent detent enhances this accuracy, making it a joy to use for detailed movements.

Customization is a big part of what makes this base great. The inclusion of deflection masks and interchangeable cams allows users to tweak the stick to their personal preferences. This level of adjustability is perfect for those who love to personalize their gear and ensure it meets their specific needs.

Cons

However, the base does have a couple of downsides. One notable omission is the damper. Including a damper would add a nice sense of weight and resistance, enhancing the overall feel of the stick. Fortunately, Thrustmaster plans to release a damper as an accessory soon, which should address this issue.

Another downside is the lack of a desk mounting plate. This means users will need to purchase one separately if they require it, adding to the overall cost. Despite these minor drawbacks, the Thrustmaster AA Stick Base offers a range of features and customization options that make it a compelling choice for flight simulation enthusiasts.

After weeks of testing, it’s clear that Thrustmaster has re-entered the high-end flight stick market with a strong contender. The base offers features and precision that could make it class-leading. If Thrustmaster delivers on the damper accessory, this could be the best flight stick base available. It’s particularly suited for those who enjoy tinkering and customizing their setup. When paired with Thrustmaster’s F-16 or F-18 grips, it makes for a compelling package.

For those interested in the future of this base, there are exciting accessories on the horizon. Speculatively, an Airbus or GA-style stick might be in the works, further expanding its versatility. Thrustmaster is back in the fight, and this base is a testament to their commitment to quality and innovation.

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