Grounded due to equipment malfunction

If you play FPS games or strategy games and you have an equipment malfunction where your mouse or keyboard stops working, it’s not a big deal to go grab a spare one that you might have on hand and get back to playing in a pretty short period of time. If you don’t have one, your local computer shop probably does for a few dollars. When you’re a flight simmer and something as important as your joystick has an issue… it might mean that you’re out of commission until you can get it repaired or replaced. This is where I find myself.

A small spring can ruin your day

 was flying along in a LaGG-3 on a Career mission, the first flight of the weekend, and suddenly there was a noise and the tension in the X axis let out immediately. Surprisingly, I was able to complete the mission and even put the LaGG-3 on the ground but flying was not very easy this way.

This spring used to be one piece and it helped keep my Gladiators X axis taught. Not anymore.

Opening up my VKB Gladiator Mark I joystick I quickly found the culprit. A broken spring. Though I love the stick, this is the second instance of hardware related trouble I’ve had with it. I don’t think I’m overly hard on it but it does get used quite a bit so maybe it was just time.

The nice thing about this stick is just how easy it is to open it up. A standard screwdriver gets you into the bottom where you can easily replace the springs. That part is a nice touch and one of the reasons why I like the DIY-light side of the custom joystick market that VKB and Virpil seem to inhabit. I don’t know if I could have easily accessed my old Saitek stick or not.

It also turns out you can order springs from VKB with all different kinds of tension. This is a nice touch. Interestingly, they made them interchangeable so you can use the same springs on a Gladiator as you can on a Gunfighter. Also a bonus!


With no stick for a backup, it looks like I’ll be waiting on my new springs before I can get back into the air. In the meantime there’s plenty of opportunities to write up some reactions to flying the other new aircraft that are available in IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte. Look for those soon!

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Francesco Kasta says:

    Can’t you purchase a set of extension springs at your local hardware store and be back in business in a jiffy?


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I wasn’t sure if they’d have the same kind of tension or even that specific size.


  2. Francesco Kasta says:

    You could take a look on Amazon, boxes of 200 extension springs are usually quite cheap. You would definitely find something to fit in there for quick fix.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael Dwyer says:

    So order three this time, they must be cheap.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yep! Done and done!


  4. Tapi says:

    For a quick temporary solution, you can use small rubber bands available in every local store… You may use even two or three of them to get a more stiff response or extend the one and encircle it two or three times. It is not a perfect solution of course but allows you to use your stick until the springs delivered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a great idea Tapi! I will look into that.


  5. Mischiew Rithe says:

    Ouch, hang in there. I hate it when those things happen right before the weekend.
    As suggested, maybe you can survive with some temporary hacking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’ll be looking into that for sure. These things happen and I’m glad in this case that the unit is so easily serviced. A couple of screws and I’m looking at the guts of the stick and able to figure out what was going wrong.


  6. TJR says:

    Hey man, I can always ship you my old Logitech(Its awful in comparison, but it works) been looking to get rid of it since I got myself a Gladiator MkII after reading your review.


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Thanks for the offer! I think I can hold out until my new springs arrive. Should only be a few days.


  7. Blue 5 says:

    Drink, smoke and chase girls was – IIRC – the standard aviator response to not flying :p

    Liked by 1 person

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