ThunderSeat Desktop Control Unit DCU-17
Product: Jet Fighter Cockpit Set (minus the actual jet fighter)
OS: Windows 95
Original Street Price: 995$
You probably won’t find this baby floating around eBay, or at least not at affordable prices when it does pop up. ThunderSeat’s DCU-17 is essentially a mock aircraft panel which supports an 18 inch CRT monitor and has over 100 programmable buttons and switches. The company has long since died, but you can still get an idea of their product lineup from browsing their old HTML website – www.thunderseat.net
I’ve never owned this device, so I can’t judge if it’s worth buying or how well it behaves in games, or even what OS is was designed to run under. Here’s the description from the designer’s website:
“As games become more sophisticated, so do the keystrokes or combination of keystrokes needed to control them. The multiple buttons on joysticks and throttles help, but after a while remembering what each one does is a little like learning how to play the accordion in the middle of a dogfight.
Now you can put away the keyboard for good and enjoy the game rather than making it a memory test. With over 100 real switches and multi-function display (MFD) buttons, the Desktop Control Unit (DCU-17) will turn your desk into an F-16 cockpit. The DCU-17 is totally reconfigurable for any software so you can switch from game to game and never be confused by cryptic, three-fingered keyboard commands again. From tuning the radios in Microsoft Flight Simulator to radar control in F-22, the DCU-17 does it all. Separate panels control all aspects of radar navigation, engine functions, weapons, views, and other vital aircraft functions. The MFD’s even have functioning buttons around the edges just like the real thing. Featuring military spec switches and back-lit panels, the ThunderSeat DCU-17 is as close as it gets to a real F-16.”