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Left-handed pilots

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Left-handed pilots

Old 13th Nov 2020, 10:24
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by clareprop View Post
Strangely enough, although I am left-handed, I have a strange 'condition' where if my arm is extended such as when using a whiteboard, painting or drawing on an easel and yes, a kneeboard, I'm right-handed. If I'm writing on paper, then it has to be the left hand. Bizarrely, both writing styles are completely different - left hand spidery and right hand, rounded. Weird, huh?
I'm left handed and when I shoot a rifle prone, I shoot left handed, but my 'lead eye' is my right eye and I find I shoot better from the standing position right handed.
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Old 13th Nov 2020, 16:22
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Another lefty, here.

Just flown an RV7 (essential maintenance flight) from the left seat, left hand on the stick and right hand on the centre throttle. 1st time landing this particular model, not an issue. I initially learned on a Rallye with 2 throttles so flew right hand stick, then Cessnas/Pipers with left hand on column and right hand on throttle. Then instructor course in the right seat, flying right hand again. Never had a problem switching one hand or the other, or one side of the cockpit or the other. I really can't write with my right hand, though.

Now, the OP was asking about writing and there's some good advice above about trimming. Time without number I've had students (right-handed ones, anyway), grip the control column on a PA28, then when they want to write, the pen hand and the left hand on the column come down together, leading to a nice spiral dive to the left, which they don't notice with head-in, writing. I teach them to LET GO, write what you need, then glance up between words. If a wing is slightly low, make a correction with rudder. Thus, it won't matter what hand you use for flying or writing. But if you're not trimmed...

I've read somewhere that about 10% of the general population is left-handed but over 30% of pilots and an even higher proportion of astronauts are leftys. Apparently, we have better spatial coordination. So, what is it about flying that attracts left-handers in the first place?

There's a shop for leftys in San Fransisco but I found most of the gadgets like left-handed scissors etc a bit gimmicky when I visited. It's a right-handed World and of course we're good at accommodating the unthinking right-handed lot.

TOO
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Old 13th Nov 2020, 16:56
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Another Southpaw here! As a matter of fact, I am left-body dominant; the only things I do right-handed are golf (lefty set of clubs far too expensive when I started spoiling a good walk sixty years ago), batting a baseball (or Cricket, I suspect), and guitar playing.

I flew ambidextrously - left hand on control yoke or right hand on stick. I found the former situation to be advantageous in that my right hand was free for navcomm, power setting, and flap selection; the latter (Blanik L-13, Grob 103) kept my left hand free for speed brake deployment. When I wore a kneeboard I did so on my right leg and kept a well-trimmed condition such that I could make notes, and display map sections on it with relative lefty ease. On occasion, I found curvaceous right seat cockpit assistants to be ever so helpful in transcription of radio frequencies, ATIS repeats, and, erm, you know....

Six of the last eight Presidents of the United States have been left-handed and 20% of them, twice the population average, were "sinister". As the old saying goes: "There are only two kinds of people in the World: those that are left-handed and those that wish they were!" As those of us who are sinistrous know, though, this is truly a right-handed World! (See? At least the emoji's a lefty!)

- Ed


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Old 13th Nov 2020, 17:20
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Civil aircraft seem to be more optimized for left handers: Power in the center and stick or yoke left. (That is whenever you sit in the left seat). Military fighters and gliders are more optimized for right handers: Power left and stick forward or right.
Read somewhere left handers are more used to and talented to use their "other" hand. Lefty myself.
I always assumed that captains (whether of airliners, Cessnas or Pipers) sat on the left so they could check they were flying to the right of a line feature such as a canal or railway line - as required by the rules of the air. It's simpler to have one throttle in the centre than one available to both pilots' left hands.

If I were flying a PA28 from the right seat I don't think I'd be able to reach the fuel tank selector on the other wall!

I'm another lefty - first solo in the left seat of a T21 (flying with my left hand), later in a Ka 13 (right hand) and now a PA28 with my left hand. Writing down squawks etc. is done left-handed, with right hand on the yoke.
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Old 13th Nov 2020, 17:30
  #25 (permalink)  

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Why do people bother to write down a squawk, or an altimeter setting? I just set them straight on the appropriate instrument itself, which avoids writing.
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Old 13th Nov 2020, 18:43
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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I'm "ambidextrous" when it comes to flying, as mentioned by another above. I've always flown gliders with my right hand on the stick and left for the spoilers. Ditto for the J-3 with left on the throttle. Left seat in the Cessna/Piper world is left hand on the yoke and right on the throttle.

A French pilot once put me in the right seat of the Robin ATL so I could fly with my right hand on the stick and use the center throttle. The Robin R2160 I did aeros training in in German a few years ago had two throttles and sticks. I found it slightly awkward to see a throttle to my right while knowing I was supposed to use the one to the left.

The Motor Falke TMG was an odd beast. Left hand on the stick and right hand on the throttle. Until... transitioning to right hand on the stick and left on spoilers. Yikes!

I'm now training for SE commercial and instructor in a 172. I find left hand on the throttle and right on the yoke still rather awkward, but have become accustomed to in the Seminole. Now, I'm just confused thinking about it. Sorry for thread drift.
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Old 14th Nov 2020, 00:18
  #27 (permalink)  
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Which hand on which control is getting too much thinking. My two certified planes each have the throttle in opposite hands when flying in the left seat, no problem. Don't think of flying the plane as thinking your left/right hand to move a control to fly the plane, think to fly the plane, don't think about what your hands are doing, they'll figure it out soon enough. It's like children, don't let them complain about something being different, just let them do it as normal.

For anyone who has ever learned to operate a backhoe/excavator well, you don't make your mind operate your hand to operate a lever to operate the boom or the bucket, you just make you mind operate the bucket, forget what muscles are in between. I'll watch myself trenching as intended, and look at my hands, they're just doing their own thing, as my mind moves the bucket. 'Same with the plane, I think, it flies, I don't care which hand is doing what.
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Old 14th Nov 2020, 09:30
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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The Motor Falke TMG was an odd beast. Left hand on the stick and right hand on the throttle. Until... transitioning to right hand on the stick and left on spoilers. Yikes!
I had completely forgotten about the Motor Falke! I spent many hours in it, mostly instructing from the right seat. I don't remember the throttle being a particular issue - the Motor Falke was so underpowered, particularly at >4000' density altitudes, that we used two-positions - Full or Idle. You could have replaced it with a switch!
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Old 14th Nov 2020, 14:22
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Not a pilot* but I'm amazed at the number of familiar names here that are, like me lefties. But there two things I cannot do left handed and that is use a mouse or scissors. I know there are left handed versions but I just cannot get to grips with them.

* OK, I'm a lapsed flight simmer and it was natural for me to have the stick on the left and throttle to the right. Seems only natural as more dexterity is needed on the stick.
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Old 14th Nov 2020, 15:24
  #30 (permalink)  

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This made me look back at my own flying history, beginning in the very early 1970s.

I started flying on a Slingsby tandem glider, right hand on stick, left hand on the other controls.
I next flew SEP, left hand on stick, right hand on engine controls.
Then single jets, right hand on stick, left hand on engine and manual trim wheel.
Next was helicopters, opposite seat, on the right now, but still right hand on stick, left hand on collective lever.
Then helicopter instructing, controls as before, but left seat.
Then back to fixed wing. Left seat again. Left hand on stick, right hand on engine (centre throttle now)
Again instructing, back to the right seat, right hand on stick, left on throttle.
Back to helicopters, instructing again in the left seat, but also operational flying from the right side.
Still doing that, no longer instructing but swapping seats as required for multi pilot ops.

Yours, left handed writer, right handed rifle and pistol shooter, scissors user etc, but eternally confused. Please excuse me if I walk to the wrong door or use my soup spoon in my left hand (got criticised for the latter during officer training).
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Old 14th Nov 2020, 20:47
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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I'm left handed, but clearly I have to right hands, or left hands depending on the way you see it. It's been extremely difficult for me to learn to fly a glider, an aeroplane, and a helicopter, but hard work can compensate poor natural skill.
I have the kneeboard on the right knee. When I fly aeroplanes, I cannot write the new frequency while acknowledging it. Just a slight workload increase to cope with.
When I fly gliders I don't care. So many other things to cope with...
When I fly helicopters, I don't have a kneeboard.
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Old 14th Nov 2020, 22:31
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Smile

FWIW. Dexterity i.e. 'Dexter' is the right
And 'Sinister' os one's Left.

So Dexterity means right handed and for your preferrred stick hold perhaps you should say 'Sinistery" !!

Originally Posted by hiflymk3 View Post
Not a pilot* but I'm amazed at the number of familiar names here that are, like me lefties. But there two things I cannot do left handed and that is use a mouse or scissors. I know there are left handed versions but I just cannot get to grips with them.

* OK, I'm a lapsed flight simmer and it was natural for me to have the stick on the left and throttle to the right. Seems only natural as more dexterity is needed on the stick.
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Old 14th Nov 2020, 23:11
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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I remember a Hollywood movie once where the Roman Legion was being told to march 'sinister, dexter, sinister dexter'

In French, of course it's 'gauche', which also means 'awkward or unsophisticated'. Then there's 'cack-handed'. I've just Googled (other search engines available) and it seems practically every language in the World has a derogatory term for being left-handed.

We just smile in a superior sort of way.

Did you know that about 10% of elephants are left-trunked? Most of them curl their trunk to the right, just the better ones to the left.

Talk about thread drift!

Sorry.
TOO
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 00:36
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by TheOddOne View Post
I remember a Hollywood movie once where the Roman Legion was being told to march 'sinister, dexter, sinister dexter'
You sure it was a film; I remember it in an episode of 'Up Pompeii'!!
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 06:01
  #35 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
You sure it was a film; I remember it in an episode of 'Up Pompeii'!!
Closest I ever got to a Latin lesson
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 09:33
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by mikehallam View Post
FWIW. Dexterity i.e. 'Dexter' is the right
And 'Sinister' os one's Left.

So Dexterity means right handed and for your preferrred stick hold perhaps you should say 'Sinistery" !!
Thank you for that. Every day is a school day.
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 10:42
  #37 (permalink)  
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I was in a pub quiz team which had three left handers and three right. One of our various team names was "Sinisters and Dexters".

I write left handed, use a spoon left handed; ambidextrous with knives (though prefer chopping, carving with left), screwdrivers, scissors, pc keyboards, sanding, painting (walls), tennis, badminton; right handed playing cricket or golf (not that I do but when I tried them I did) and most weirdly using a mouse. I spent nearly 30 years doing fairly intricate arty stuff in Photoshop, Illustrator and so on with my right hand, whereas with a pencil, pen or brush I'd use my left hand - which cannot accurately use a mouse. Conversely, try using a joystick with my right hand and things are all over the shop... I have one I use with FS, I'll make a conscious effort to fly a few circuits and do some aeros right handed later on, see if I can train it.

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Old 15th Nov 2020, 13:12
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Well, to dig into my favourite subject of languages, all while remaining on the theme of private aviation, here goes for a little lesson of aviators' Italian (as close to latin as any modern language gets):
Consider the (not really recent) web page Aviazione Leggera On Line - modif. arf 10/3/09
which describes a typical ultralight field in that beautiful country. The runway description says "16/34d" and that reads as "the runway is orientated 16/34, mind you though, the 34 has a right-hand circuit". Indeed the "d" stands for "destra" - right-hand. How's that for a concise clear notation? Left hand will not be mentioned since that is the default. This particular page further elaborates "Per chi arriva in volo Circuito EST (34 Dx)" ("for those who arrive flying: circuit EAST") but not all are as explicit.

Last edited by Jan Olieslagers; 15th Nov 2020 at 13:25.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 15:41
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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I noticed that left habded students were generally slower off the mark in military training. Just simple hand-eye coordination was not as developed. But they usually got there in the end! Generaly speaking 'Sinisters'; seem to be more ampidextrous than 'Dexters'
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Old 22nd Nov 2020, 20:51
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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As a righty who does a few things with his left (knife and fork use, holding my drink, flying), I try to avoid writing in general because it doesn't matter what hand I use, I can barely read it.
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