FSX is a simulator with many play-styles. You could mess around with default planes and barrel rolls, or you could simulate start up to shut down of a long haul 777 flight. These different styles lead to arguments over what you “need” to enjoy FSX. Today, I want to go over what I think are the essentials for enjoying FSX, at least on the hardware side.
Yokes and side sticks are two very different pieces of hardware, that aim to accomplish a similar task. Side sticks tend to be cheaper (Logitech extreme 3D pro) than yokes, but give up fluid controls. I personally use the Extreme Pro 3D, but more expensive sticks could fetch you a better feel or more buttons. I think that a side stick is a necessity, and a yoke is a nice-to-have.
Rudder Pedals are floor mounted pedals to control the aircraft’s rudder. If you choose to own a yoke, a rudder pedal set is a must have, since there is no other way to control your rudder. Some side sticks have built in twist controls to operate the rudder, making pedals unnecessary.
Throttle Quadrants are big, bulky, boxes with levers sticking out of them to control engine functions such as pitch, rpm, and throttle. I use a Saitek pro flight throttle quadrant, which I greatly enjoy over the built in throttle on my side stick. However, there is the built in throttle control for some side sticks if you are tight on a budget. If you have a yoke however, a throttle quadrant is necessary.