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This thread is privately moderated by Jay B. Scott, who may elect to delete unwanted replies.
Jun 09, 2018, 10:09 PM
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Why it's OK to launch your plane with your left hand

I'll start this detailed hand-launching tutorial with an excerpt from an MSN news report that I saw just today (6/9/2018): "Left-handed people haven't always been treated well through history. They've been persecuted for their disposition, being labeled as evil--or even as witches--despite making up about 10% of the population. In fact, the word "sinister" comes from "left" or "left hand." . . . One thing we do know, though, is that the neurological differences between left-and right-handed people are small, and supposed behavioral or psychological distinctions have largely been debunked."

An old mentor of mine once shared findings by anthropologists about the origins surrounding left-and right-handedness in ancient Middle Eastern people. Those people didn't have running water or toilet paper like we do today, so they developed a culture-wide habit whereby they would eat food with their right hand, and wipe their butt with their left hand. Their right hand therefore became known as the "hand of blessing," and their left hand became known as the "hand of cursing." (Can you imagine putting food in your mouth with your poopy left hand?) The right hand as the hand of blessing is reflected in the Middle Eastern-derived Holy Bible in passages such as the one that describes Jesus sitting on the right hand of God. The Bible has been read by a great many people around the world, and as is common with traditional knowledge, these great many people have come to accept that the right hand is the very heavenly hand of blessing without being aware of the very down-to-earth origin story behind that tradition.

Now, I throw a baseball with my right hand, and most people say that makes me right-handed. So I'm not a "Lefty" trying to turn everybody into a "Southpaw." But as I've tried to spread my own gospel (good news) about the great advantage of hand-launching your plane with your left hand, I've run up against people who pretty much run away from that idea as though it was "cursed." So how do I try to appeal to people's reason in the face of the very unreasonable rolling boulder of social inertia behind traditions that have people clinging to them out of irrational fear? The answer is in what I'm doing right now: writing this blog entry. I don't expect to sway a stadium full of people over to my way of doing things, but I do believe there will be those of you who "have ears to hear." It is for you few special ones that I write.

When it comes to hand-launching your plane, forget about right- and left-handedness. You've been using your right and left hands/arms all your life. One may be a little weaker and a little less coordinated than the other--but just a little. The #1 most important thing to understand when hand-launching your plane is that you need to be in control of the aileron /elevator stick right from the start. And on Mode 2 transmitters, that stick is controlled by your right hand. That means that you have to hold and launch your plane with your left hand.

And if you're not using a transmitter tray, then you need to set up your transmitter in "other-than-transmitter-tray" mode. This is easy and cheap. You'll need two lengths of household twine and some masking tape. Run the end of the first length through the neck strap hole on the face of your transmitter, loop it around your neck, and tie it off so that your transmitter hangs at your waist (or buy a $20 transmitter neck strap). Take the second length of twine and tie one end to one side of your transmitter handle. Tape that to the back and bottom of that side of the transmitter. Run a loop around your neck and bring the other end over the bottom and back on the other side of your transmitter, and tie it off on the other side of the handle, having adjusted it so that, together with your first loop, your transmitter hangs level (horizontal) at your waist. Then tape that side down as well. This is now your "other-than-transmitter-tray," and you have just spent $0.07 rather than $70 to get it!

Let's say you have a plug-n-play foamy warbird sold by a reputable company such as Tower Hobbies, which sells its own brand of planes, and it's a Tower Hobbies 40" wingspan Miss America Mustang racer. It's a proven flyer, so all you have to do is fly it. Since it's a low-wing plane, hold it overhanded in your left hand just behind the wing. You don't initially have to hold the plane horizontally. Give your throwing hand a break and hold it more vertically, so that the center of gravity is more above your hand and not in front of your hand, trying to pull your hand to the ground. Because you don't have to hold on to your transmitter, you can use your right hand to position your throttle to about the second line up from the center line, or about 83%. For single motor planes, you don't want full throttle, as this has the tendency to pull you plane left and down upon launch due to torque effect.

When you have your throttle set, move your right hand over to the aileron/elevator stick, and hold it with your thumb and forefinger. Since hand-launching a plane only brings the takeoff speed to a little above the stall speed, help the plane off to a good start by holding at least some up elevator upon launching. Cock your left arm back, and rotate the plane forward to a little above horizontal, throwing only as hard as your left hand/arm can throw. And don't worry about it, as your right hand on the aileron/elevator stick is guaranteeing that you have instant control over your plane.
Last edited by Jay B. Scott; Jun 10, 2018 at 11:56 PM.
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