For a newcomer to any simulation, configuring their HOTAS is always an initial hurdle. Unfortunately, IL-2 throws in some additional difficulties.
IL-2 control peculiarities
While most controls are the same for all planes, there are a few exceptions that seem odd and may present difficulties for a newcomer. Speaking for myself, after setting up just about everything on my HOTAS (T16000m FCS), it was surprising to find that, for example, the trim seemed not to be working when flying the Me-109.
There was a reason for that, and that is that some planes need to have different control setup for a few things:
- Trim (most planes)
- Fw-190 adjustable stabilizer (Fw-190)
- Adjustable stabilizer axis (Bf-109)
- Water & oil radiators (most planes)
- Bf-109/Bf-110/Spitfire water radiator
- He-111/Bf-110 oil radiator
- Inlet cowl shutters (I-16; La-5; Ju-52; A-20 upper cowl flaps; P-47)
- Outlet cowl shutters (A-20; Fw-190 A-5/8; La-5; Ju-88; P-40; P-47)
When I first discovered why some things were not working and that I needed more controls on my already full HOTAS I went about thinking for a few days on how to redo my HOTAS configuration and add the missing functionality. With that many control variations, it didn’t seem possible to fit it all on my HOTAS.
Finally I had the idea of assigning different commands to the same button/axis. IL-2 allowed it, and since you cannot fly two planes at the same time, having the same button performing two different actions for different planes should have no side effects.
The final version of my HOTAS configuration is presented below. Whenever possible the controls are overloaded. Trim buttons work for all planes, the water radiator axis doubles as inlet shutter axis for the appropriate planes. Oil radiator buttons work for all planes.
There is one exception: 109/110/Spit water radiator that was not possible to map to axes, so it got its own buttons.
Previously I had the oil radiator in the same axis as outlet cowl shutters, but the release of the P-47 has forced me to move oil radiator to the same buttons as 111/110 oil radiators. Else I would not have been able to control the P-47 oil rad and outlet cowl shutters separately.
I’ve also added the P-47 interlock controls to the same buttons as airbrakes and bomb bay. Since the P-47 does not have those there is no problem in doing so.
This is the setup I currently use. It suits me well but it certainly is not perfect and you may wish to modify it.
Also, if you intend to use this please read the warnings below:
- You may prefer to remove the gear up/down button. It is easy to make a mistake and raise it while on ground, which in most planes will cause your flight to end prematurely. It has happened to me, but I just left it there and have exercised extra caution when messing about with buttons around there.
- This has no provision for multiple engine management. In my experience it is easy to just use the keyboard for the few times I need it.