Howto:Build a yoke in 5 minutes

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Mouse yoke.jpg

Using some every-day equipment and an optical mouse, you are able to build a (basic) yoke in just five minutes! The yoke can be directly used in FlightGear.

Required components

  • The right sized cardboard box
  • 1 empty paper towel/gladwrap/foil roll
  • 1 piece of packing foam that loosely resembles a yoke
  • 1 optical mouse
  • 1 roll of sticky tape
  • 1 pencil
  • A pairing knife


  1. Using your roll as a guide mark out and cut a hole in the front and rear for the empty roll (now referred to as the control column) to slide through.
  2. Mark out the centre of your foam yoke but cut the hole slightly smaller and force it on to the control column. There should be enough friction for it to not need glue.
  3. Place the mouse on top of the box, with the mouse backwards to how you'd normally use it (so that the buttons are facing you), mark it out and cut it.
  4. Insert the control column/yoke assembly through the holes you made, place the mouse into the cut out you made for it and tape it in, taping around the edge of the mouse so that it won't rock sideways.
  5. The final step in construction is to limit the control throw (Not pictured in the photo) Use your knife to drill two small holes in the top and bottom of the end of the control column that is protruding from the back of the box, and insert the pencil you where using through them so that most of the pencil is in the air, and just the tip is pointing downwards. This will stop the control column from coming out with too much up elevator, and will also limit the aileron when the pencil hits the desk. Full aileron will be just over 90deg which is the same as a Cessna, so it'll be pretty realistic.
  6. You'll also need to reduce your mouse (control mode) sensitivity in FG so that it can never reach full aileron or elevator. This is very important, because if you don't it'll go out of alignment as soon as you reach it.
  7. It will also go out of alignment after a while, especially if you make very fast control inputs on a slow computer, so configure a mouse button to centre the controls... When it goes out of alignment, just centre your yoke and tap the mouse button.
  8. Make sure your yoke is centred when you start the sim.