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left handed helicopter pilots

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left handed helicopter pilots

Old 7th Jan 2007, 09:45
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left handed helicopter pilots


I wondered if left handed people learning to fly a helicopter find it any harder than a right handed person as it would seem that the basic layout favours a right handed person with the precision control (cyclic) being used with the right hand.

when I tried to play golf with left handed clubs it was impossible, but driving a left hand drive car with manual gearbox was easy so I dont know



P.S. I did try to search for a previous thread on this but couldnt find one.
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Old 7th Jan 2007, 10:03
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I am left handed and dual rated (Helicopter and Fixed Wing), I always found flying helicopters more natural for some reason.

I find my self flying right handed in an aeroplane with a centre stick and swap hands when operating radios, throttles etc.
I am more than happy in the left or right seat of a helcopter and don't even think about it.

I found it easier being in the right seat of a helicopter for intial training as I think being left handed makes it easier to get your digits over to radios and the like without thinking about it too much.

My initial training was some 12yrs ago now so my recollection is not to clear.

The obvious advantage is that I can write with the lever hand, and dont have to think too much about that either.

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Old 7th Jan 2007, 10:04
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The only comment I've heard on this, in xx years flying, was a left-handed person on my flying course. He had had his pen pocket moved from his left sleeve to the right one, and he said it was much easier for him to write, as he did not have to take his (right) hand from the cyclic stick.

Speaking as a (mainly) right-handed person, I don't remember ever having any difficulty controlling the cyclic with my left hand. Very difficult to control the collective with the right hand, though.
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Old 7th Jan 2007, 15:30
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I'm left handed and whilst at flight school in the US I noticed what I thought was a huge proportion of left-handed heli pilots. I reckon about a third of the students were left handed which I found very unusual because there seem to be very few left handed people in the population.

I had a quick look at the other forums and it seems its true; pilots in general are more likely to be left-handed, something to do with increased spatial awareness and multi-tasking ability.

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Old 7th Jan 2007, 21:25
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I'm left handed and for some reason the cyclic always felt natural and never had a problem in my right paw. When I have tried to switch hands to cover the cyclic with my left hand , it feels awkward. Collective feels natural in my left hand. Must be a right brain thing.
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Old 7th Jan 2007, 21:49
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Certainly makes it easier to write down Clearances and ATIS
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Old 7th Jan 2007, 22:03
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Southpaws have a fairly easy time adapting to the cyclic in the right hand because life has forced us to adapt to the right hand world. Large percentage of U.S. helicopter pilots are lefties, and 1 in 4 Apollo astronauts were sinister-handed, far beyond random. Smarter people than I have addressed this extensively. Given a bit of time for conditioning, I expect playing golf left-handed would have come to you.
It's easier to slap the copilot's hands when they touch something they shouldn't, too...
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Old 30th Jan 2007, 00:58
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I too am a south paw and found the transition from fixed wing to fling no problem at all and like veeany find it more natural .
Ive even stopped playing golf cak handed and got myself a set of left handers and after taking a bit of getting used to has improved my game .
I also have come across quite a few left handed heli pilots , It would be interesting to find out as a percentage how common it is but all internet searches come up with nada (unsurprisingly!) .
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Old 31st Jan 2007, 01:36
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My situation is a little different than some... I am *very* lefty (having spent a small fortune on left-handed guitars over the last 30 years to prove it!)... I flew PC-based combat simulators (e.g. Falcon 3, Falcon 4, Longbow, Flight Simulator, etc.) for years before going at it for real, and the PC control setup that I had was very righty-oriented (stick in right hand, throttle/collective in left - due to those (CH Products) control shapes, you *have* to fly them righty-tighty) so by the time I started real world flight training it was a no-brainer.

Dave B.
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Old 31st Jan 2007, 11:16
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I Guess it makes sense that there are higher than expected numbers of lefty helicopter drivers - helicopters are (as we all know..) harder to fly, and left handed people are (as we all know..) much better than right handed people....!
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Old 31st Jan 2007, 16:01
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At one time at 240 OCU there were five Puma QHIs on strength. All were left handed and three had the same Christian name.
All of them were extremely good pilots, amazingly good looking and very, very modest
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Old 31st Jan 2007, 19:58
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When we last flew together I did notice that your right hand sported that big (well earned) Breitling. I thought you had got up late and put it on the wrong wrist - now I know you are "keggy wedged", it explains everything. Well almost everything.
As for Johnny Mathis looks - only the canteen ladies at at the LZ SW of TNT had you in their gunsights! I reckon you got off lightly!
You were always modest of course.
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Old 31st Jan 2007, 21:56
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Ah, the Breitling! It was only worn as part of the uniform (or was it like the black spot?). It's lived in the sock drawer for a very long time now. I noticed the other day it's still on BST - which shows how long ago it was since I last filled out your PLOG (ooer missus).

The canteen ladies? I never even got an extra dumpling (lucky escape indeed, I think I might have been expected to earn it!) As for alleged Johnny Mathis looks? Is it 'cos I's black?
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