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Home✈️Aircraft🚁HelicopterBeginners Corner › Fingers or Thumbs?
07-06-2006 03:52 PM  14 years ago
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MNiece

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Columbus, Georgia

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Fingers or Thumbs?
A long time ago, in a galaxy much like our own, I used to race R/C cars before pistol grip controllers came out. (I'm only 32, so no wise cracks!) That got me into the habit of using my thumbs only for the sticks. I adjusted just fine to the pistol grips, but every time I pick up a stick controller I keep using my thumbs only. I've been advised to keep a finger and thumb on each stick at all times when flying anything, and it's obvious that I have to make the personal decision as to my method I use. But why is it important enough for 6 R/C aircraft pilots to suggest using a finger and thumb? I've tried in on the G3 sim, and don't like it. The sticks have the pointed crowns on the top just for the purpose of gripping to your thumbs. Any ideas why the suggested method is as important as I'm led to believe?

I learned on a Blade CX (mild laughter is tolerated).
I'll be getting a Raptor 30 pretty soon.

Thanks.

Michael, heli addict hopeful.
Raptor 30 V2
Thunder Tiger .39
GY401 with 9254
Futaba 9ch
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07-06-2006 04:13 PM  14 years ago
BarracudaHockey

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Jacksonville FL

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You get more precise control with the pinch method as the fingers are called.

I fly pinch on helis and thumbs on my airplanes, I didnt realize it, someone pointed it out to me.

Bottom line is fly whats most comfortable for you and which method you feel gives you the best control.

Ralph Delusio flys thumbs and is a very smooth former contest pilot but as an instructor he teaches his students to use the pinch method and he teaches/taught a LOT of helicopter pilots.
Andy
AMA 77227
http://www.jaxrc.com
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07-06-2006 04:16 PM  14 years ago
nivlek

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Norfolk England

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In a word ,precision. I know many flyers , both fixed wing and heli and the flyers who demonstrate the most precision use finger and thumb . I know some good "thumb" flyers , but their flying just isn't as accurate .At the end of the day , it gets dark .
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07-06-2006 05:23 PM  14 years ago
BC Don

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Calgary, AB Canada

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I started flying with thumbs then made a conscious effort to move to pinch. I find that I sometimes use a bit of a combination. Pinch most of the time but for a rapid movement to an extreme postion I may be using my thumb on the throttle.Got Money? Send it to me, I'm a Heli Addict.
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07-06-2006 06:07 PM  14 years ago
abeille

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Montreal, Quebec - Canada

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I thought I would point out this article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1891920.stm

It seems that the generations growing up with video games, cell phones and text messaging are developing more dexterous thumbs, so perhaps new flyers will increasingly choose to use their thumbs! For me, it seems very natural to use thumb movements, finally all these hours of nintendo are paying off. The thumb reflexes are already associated in my mind with the precise directions they need to move in.
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07-06-2006 08:15 PM  14 years ago
Teej

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Milwaukee, WI

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Before pistol grips?!
"A long time ago, in a galaxy much like our own, I used to race R/C cars before pistol grip controllers came out. (I'm only 32, so no wise cracks!) "

Must've taken pistol grips a while to get to whatever galaxy that was. I could swear I remember seeing most "serious" guys with pistol grips back in oh...'82? Took a few years before they'd all but replaced two stickers, but...
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07-06-2006 08:24 PM  14 years ago
MNiece

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Columbus, Georgia

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Not a serious racer
Well I was about 10 when I got started, and my folks wouldn't let me spend a lot on "such toys" so I wasn't really up to speed on the R/C scene until the late 80s. So maybe I misspoke saying "before pistol grips." Either way, I didn't learn on them.

-Michael
Raptor 30 V2
Thunder Tiger .39
GY401 with 9254
Futaba 9ch
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07-06-2006 09:59 PM  14 years ago
Professor Fate

rrKey Veteran

Goose Creek S.C.

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I like to use my finger to pick boogers. Oh! Do you mean for flying. I pinch.Welcome my son, Welcome to the machine
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07-06-2006 10:20 PM  14 years ago
Raffy

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Chicago, Illinois

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Using two senses (pinch method) is better than one (thumb method).
The people who crash using their thumb, usually say "Dumb Thumb!".
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07-07-2006 01:05 AM  14 years ago
Yug

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UK. Herts

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Thumbs for me; there are half the number of joints to move so I reckon thumbs alone can respond far more quickly. I have only come across one drawback of thumbs and that is during chaos manouvers or manouvers requiring alot of continuous stirring, my thumbs can roll off the sticks. However, I'm now finding that as everything becomes more dialled in, if the thumbs do start slipping I can slide them back while maintaining sync. I use very little contact pressure and gimble springs are at there weakest setting, this allows plenty of sensitivity.
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07-07-2006 06:25 AM  14 years ago
radobahn

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Orting, WA

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I also started out with R/C cars and stick controllers.. Tamiya Super Champ baby I've tried the pinch method on the sim to try and convert over but it just did'nt feel right. Some guys have had luck switching over but I'd just stick with what your comfortable with.
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07-07-2006 10:16 AM  14 years ago
w.pasman

rrElite Veteran

Netherlands

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I agree with BC Don and Guy Martin

Pinching is nice for hovering work but not for 3D, it's just too much joint movements and hassle to get extreme stick positions.
I wanted both flying styles but I don't want to be switching between pinching and thumbing. So I went for thumbing
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07-07-2006 10:25 AM  14 years ago
w.pasman

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Netherlands

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LOL I just realized that thumbing is not a good english word. In dutch ("duimen" ) it refers to this

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07-07-2006 10:25 AM  14 years ago
PaulJC

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Hertfordshire UK

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I use both, i tend to pinch when in around center stick or when doing slow speed manouvers, then move to thumbs or index fingers when moving for maximum travel.

I've got pretty big hands and long fingers so i have the sticks at the maximum possible length and gimble spring pressure at maximum
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07-07-2006 12:09 PM  14 years ago
Yug

rrMaster

UK. Herts

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I reckon hand size makes a big difference.
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07-07-2006 01:45 PM  14 years ago
Heli143

rrElite Veteran

Phenix City, Alabama

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I use the pinch method and also find it more precise.
I do find myself using only my thumb in certain movements mostly in extreme throws.
Roy Mayoral
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07-08-2006 09:40 PM  14 years ago
AlanR8

rrKey Veteran

High Crompton, Manchester. UK

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Can or worms this thread, and covered many times before in various forums!

I was taught using pinch and that's what I do. BUT, I also use a transmitter tray with hand rests either side of the tranny. This makes it so much easier. I also have small hands so holding the tranny, just using a neck strap is not easy for me.

A mate of mine flies thumbs and just holds the tranny, no strap. However, he's noticed recently that the tail often comes out of line on flips and rolls, probably because all the muscles and bones and joints are having to do a lot of work, holding and stirring the sticks!
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