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Helicopter Controls

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I've done a search and can't find anything addressing my question, so here it is:

I'm quite happy with the helicopter flight mechanics in the game, though I understand there are changes coming (ToH mechanics?). I'm using an xbox360 pad which I used previously in Arma2 for helicopter flying; it still works pretty well but now we have two sets of inputs for thrust, the normal one (collective raise/lower) and the analogue one (collective raise/lower analogue).

The normal inputs works fine for manoeuvring in a level plane but they don't climb or descend nearly fast enough to be practical when hugging terrain, or dropping behind a hill etc. and the analogue inputs are great but they require me to apply partial pressure to a trigger to maintain altitude, works perfectly but makes my finger ache pretty quick.

So my question is: Is it the intention that the release version control inputs will be like this? and if so what control peripherals would be best to use? I've been very happy with the xbox360 controller in Arma2, preferring it to an x45 due to having two thumb sticks allowing me to blend "turn" and "bank" controls, giving, IMO, superior fine control. I have over 100hrs flight time with those controls, so ideally I'd be looking to combine the 360 controller with some sort of pedals for thrust control... I know that's not authentic or usual but it seems to me that it might work well.

Any suggestions or input appreciated, with one exception: please don't suggest a HOTAS, I've had one before and I don't want another.

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