You haven’t played a flight simulator until you’ve played one with a fully functional joystick. The change in control scheme really makes all the difference for immersion — and some people take this concept very seriously by building control panels that mimic what’s actually in a cockpit. To enable this kind of functionality, you could use a universal USB Joystick Board, like the one from Tindie Seller Provisionell.
This Joystick Board emulates 108 button inputs, which allows you to connect your own hardware switches and buttons for use in any software that supports a joystick input. It works with discrete functions like open or close and generates a HID Joystick Software signal.
You can also design your own hardware with custom buttons or switches as you see fit. While this board does not have analog axis input, this Tindie seller also provides other products to meet that need, and all of their boards can be used simultaneously.