I have my first flight lesson coming up in a Robin 2120 at North Shore Aero Club just north of Auckland.
I visited the club last week and took a peek inside one of the trainers with an instructor. I also took the X-plane 11 C172 around for a flight from that field and started to mentally prepare for the lesson (overkill for the first lesson perhaps as the first flight will be just about Effects of Controls, but I guess I can’t contain my enthusiasm).
One thing that I realised is making me a bit apprehensive is the fact that I’ll be flying on the left seat and hence controlling the throttle with my right hand and joystick with my left.
I tried swapping the TMWH throttle and joystick around and boy, that was certainly interesting - flying around was fine (although it felt odd) but on final I was doing terribly!
I’m probably jumping the gun here as it’s possible that the feeling of the real aircraft is different enough that it won’t be confusing and that all this is irrelevant anyway…but if I am finding the transition hard, it could be beneficial to have at least a semi-comparable set up at home.
So - what I’m thinking is, if I found the right thread for the TMWH joystick base (or alternatively the X-55 I have lying around unused) and just stuck a bit of pipe and a bicycle handlebar-style handle at the top, would that work or would the fact that the base isn’t connected to the right buttons cause issues? I’d basically just be using the pitch and roll axis but none of the buttons.
I’d be reducing functionality drastically but I think the only button the Robin has in the joystick is the radio transmit, which I can live without. I’d obviously be able to screw the default stick back on at any time I wanted the full HOTAS. I’d use the TMWH throttle axis for my right hand as throttle and mixture.
I wouldn’t worry too much. While I had my right arm in a cast recently, I used the Warthog stick with my left hand to fly the FF A320 and it worked well enough. It takes some getting used to of course, but just keep practicing with it.
This left/right hand business is funny stuff…
At flightschool, 20 years ago, I learned to fly from the left seat. That meant flying left stick, right throttle. The aerobatic aircraft we used (SAAB MFI-15 Safari and Grob 115D) had throttles on the left sidewalls, as well as a full stack in the middle.
I then started flying as a first officer, and moved over to the right seat, flying right yoke, left throttle. I remember being slightly anxious about this, but quickly realized that it was a non issue.
Then, after 17 years in the right seat, I moved over to the left seat again. That took a bit more adjustment. But again, not really a problem. Just some getting used to. The problem with switching between left and right handed duties didn’t affect the flying, as much as the rest of the stuff you need to take care of, like reaching for trimwheels, switches, etc.
I guess my advice is; don’t over think this. Just do it. Your brain will adapt faster than you might think it will.
If you really want to do this, the thread is M36x2. The ol’ Gardena adapter is always an option or you can 3D print your own adapters to your liking, I did this and use a bit of copper pipeing as the extension. If you want buttons you do need to run a new cable which is a pain in the ass, it’s a Mini-DIN 5 connector that nobody except thrustmaster uses, I got some connectors from china and soldered my own cables.
But yeah, its probably not as bad as you’d think! Good luck with flying!
As already discused, its just mater of some time when the brain will adapt. And it will.
I went through right handed stick during my training in Zlin226 to left handed stick in Zlin142 and then to left handed yoke in Cesnas. There was definitly some geting used to, especialy with the Cesna as the yoke travel is not realy that precise imo as normal stick, but all worked out wel. And it will do also for you I am sure.
The DIY extension for WH is not a big deal especialy if you dont plan to use the butons as you mentioned. You can check this Snark’s thread where you can find some useful details about his project