Thrustmaster has been a household name when it comes to flight simulation hardware over the past 30 years, producing some of the most popular input devices for the entire gaming industry. Back in June 2020, Thrustmaster announced that it was going to produce a range of input controls in partnership with Airbus, based upon real Airbus controls as part of its Thrustmaster Civil Aviation range. This would include the Sidestick and Throttle Quadrant modules as well as a single additional release, comprising of two units that would work in conjunction with the Throttle Quadrant, separate speed brake and flap control levers which also includes park brake switch and landing gear lever to be released at a later date. After reviewing the Sidestick, I was excited to get my hands on the Throttle Quadrant.
Out of the Box
When the TCA Throttle Quadrant first arrived, I was immediately shocked at how small the box was. Once opened, the throttle quadrant is secured by two pieces of thin cardboard. The box contains the Throttle Quadrant – secured by two pieces of thin moulded cardboard, a separate USB-C/A cable, two connector plates, one attachment rod, a set of black, square stickers detailed with ‘ENG 1,2,3,4’ and a single-page quick start guide.
The base of the unit has the colour of the original Airbus A320 flight deck which immediately lets you know which aircraft the unit is modelled upon. On each of the sides of the base, Thrustmaster has put their literal stamp on the unit by way of their logo and branding. Although this seems quite a lot of branding on one product, the only decal you notice is on the lower end of the product near the engine switches which isn’t too intrusive.
The quadrant unit is instantly recognisable and looks just like the real thing. Thrustmaster has chosen to replicate the A320 family throttle quadrant which differs slightly to the A330/A350 family. The black plastic – part gloss part matte finish – thrust levers and handles are of a good size and fit my hand nicely. Each thrust lever has a red button located on the outside of the handles in the centre which give a satisfactory click when pushed. These buttons on a real Airbus are typically used to disengage the auto-thrust system. When using the thrust levers, I have noticed that the two individual levers can easily be squeezed together with not much pressure which is disappointing as it takes away from the otherwise acceptable build quality. Thrustmaster has included an attachment rod if you wanted to lock the thrust levers together, so they will not be able to advance independently. To secure the levers, you simply thread the rod through two small eyelets in the front of the levers to lock them in place. Although this does do the trick, it is easy for this rod to fall out if you move the throttle quadrant from your desk.