Simply put, the decision not to include force feedback in the OpenHornet stick was mainly based on how the real F/A-18C operates. In reality, the actual F/A-18C aircraft doesn’t have force feedback in its stick, except for a specific mode called “mechanical reversion FCS mode,” which is extremely rarely used by pilots in the DCS (Digital Combat Simulator) community.
Since the mechanical reversion mode is seldom if ever used, incorporating force feedback in the OpenHornet stick would have added extra cost and complexity, without providing much practical benefit for most users.
But the flight manual mentions AOA feedback and stick force increase with AOA.
You are correct in noting that the real F/A-18C flight manual mentions AOA (Angle of Attack) feedback, which means that as the aircraft’s angle of attack increases above 22°, the stick force also increases.
In the F/A-18C, the stick input rate to the Flight Control System (FCS) decreases as the AOA angle increases. This means that the pilot needs to move the stick over a larger range of motion to achieve the same control surface deflection compared to making the same input at a lower AOA. Moving the stick to a higher deflection angle requires more force which in turn generates the force increase described in the manual.
The OpenHornet stick was designed to faithfully replicate the real aircraft’s range of motion, force gradients, breakout forces, and dampening forces. While it may not have active force feedback, it does provide accurate force responses based on the real F/A-18C’s design, ensuring an authentic flight experience for users.