Active Controls

Stirling are world-leaders in simulator active controls and have been at the forefront of this technology for over 25 years.

State-of-the-art solutions for pilot training, aircraft simulation and flight test applications

Stirling’s family of active controls are feature-rich, highly reconfigurable and suitable for single or dual (linked) cockpit configurations. Our range of active products includes side sticks, throttles, collectives, cyclics and pedals. These controls are extremely compact, fully active and benefit from low-acquisition and through-life costs.

We have pioneered active control technology since the early 1990s and are proud to hold many industry and technology firsts, which includes supplying the controls for the first ever, fully-active fly-by-wire helicopter flight. Today, we supply the active stick and throttles for the new F-35 pilot training simulators and continue to break new ground in cockpit control technology.

Key features and benefits of Active Controls

  • Small Space Claim

    All mechanical and drive systems are contained within one compact unit, optimising design solutions for a simulator environment.

  • Real-time Configurable Feel

    Feel characteristics can be programmed to change dynamically in response to any chosen stimulus during a simulation or flight.

  • Force Feedback and Tactile Cueing

    Providing vital additional information to the user and mimic the effects of system failures and changing conditions.

  • Electronically Linkable

    The pilot’s and co-pilot’s controls replicate each other’s movements without the need for mechanical linkages providing constant awareness of all user inputs.

  • Easily Integrated

    COTS or mil-standard communication protocols and connectors including UDP and ARINC.

  • Replicate Any Aircraft

    By configuring the feel, active controls can mimic the form and feel of both rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft.


What are Active Controls?

Active controls replace the traditional springs and dampers of a passive control system with motors and gearboxes, which are then commanded by real-time software to provide bespoke feel characteristics as selected by the user.

These feel characteristics can be programmed to change dynamically during a simulation or test flight in response to any chosen stimulus. Examples include: reducing pilot workload through tactile cues; alerting the pilot to a potential hazard through a stick-shaker; or simulating a mechanical jam by temporarily locking one axis of movement.

This technology also provides the common awareness benefits of linked mechanical controls but without the associated high weight and maintenance costs. Users can instantly feel one another’s inputs while maintaining constant awareness of who is in control of the simulator or aircraft. These characteristics have the potential to reduce training times in simulators and increase safety on test-bed aircraft where controls were not previously linked.

Our Product Line

Next Generation

Compact Stick

Linear Throttle

Dual Rotary Throttle



Configurable Feel, Force and Dynamic Characteristics Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Software Linked Dual Cockpit Controls No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Custom or Mil-Spec Grip Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integrated Electronics(1) Yes No Yes No No No No
Ethernet (UDP) Interface Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

(1) Separate Inceptor Controller Unit required when electronics are not integrated.

Applicable for any platform

Stirling’s active controls have been used extensively in both fixed and rotary wing configurations. Our solutions include platform-specific fast-jet and rotary wing configurations for current and future aircraft, underpinned by highly-configurable hardware and software package that provides simulator integrators with unique benefits.

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