'to thumb, or not to thumb, aye that's the rub'. (shakespeare)

Published by: monty stone on 1st Aug 2017 | View all blogs by monty stone

who ever laid out the plans for us,( by our own admission the 'best design yet'), expressly made a definitive point to have our thumbs 'opposeable'. ( auto mechanics would also have opted for a third arm, growing out of the chest to enable dificult tasks to be simplified, but this was turned down in order to get them durned thumbs configured properly, opposing! ).  this  gadget's requirement was to be able to grasp round things like weapons (so we can kill each other) tools, so we can 'fix' stuff, as well as other 'grasping' tasks like dragging a 'suitable damsel' from your (soon to be )'in-laws' cave. for at least 1000 centuries this design has worked with no 'ammendments necessary'. until, (in geological terms, )the 'recent' introduction of ' weight-shift-aircraft-of-the-flex-wing-variety, known to us 'old school' as trikes. suddenly we 'opposers' are derided and made faces at , even called 'darwinian bottom feeders'  if we insist on wrapping our 'opposeable thumbs in a 'death grip' around the 'suggestion bar', instead of the trike 'gurus' hysterical  insistance 'thumb on top' position, ( or "off to bed with no supper")   . try using a hammer without wrapping your thumb  around the handle! you'll bend the nail, smite your fingers and the hammer will fly accross the room! try picking up little needles from the floor without using this gadget! if monkeys had opposable thumbs they could be taught to fly trikes ( with appropriate instruction and cute little helmets and goggles ), instead of embarassing zoo visitors with their 'simian' version of trying to emulate homonids missuse of our opposable thumb 'app'.)  my question to the 'trike gurus' (you know who you are!) is why i'm not supposed to use my 'death-grip' to 'hang on to this 'contraption' and should use the (to me) awkward thumb on top method. i've tried it and my thumb-muscles don't like it! i checked on 'thumb-tube' videos and 87.6% of pilots use your method, the other  51.4% me inc, insist on gripping that bar with the 'natural' thumb-wrap'. don't confuse me with facts, my mind's made up!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                freazier  nuttszoff

Comments

18 Comments

  • wexford air
    by wexford air 2 months ago
    Do thumb yoga and get that dexterity back. I find that I use both methods freezer
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 2 months ago
    Ambithumbderous! (Thumbs-r-us)
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 2 months ago
    Ha! I don't know who started it, but I first saw the thumbs-on-top trick in use by Larry Tudor as I was (desperately) following him around the Owens Valley in hang gliders, back in the early 80s. Larry Tudor was a master at long distance flights in rowdy air, a multiple distance world record holder, and a brilliant aerobatics pilot. I was young, into girls, steak, beer and learning anything I could from The Master. Larry was the most relaxed and elegant pilot I've ever seen - very inspiring!

    If you can sit comfortably in your trike, with everything comfortably in reach (first step), having your hands the right distance apart and your thumbs on top means that your upper body is relaxed and your hands are a dead weight on the bar, elbows low, shoulders down. I find it means I'm holding less tension in my shoulders, particularly in rough air. It also allows a sensitivity to what the bar is doing in turbulence, as I find it easier to be sensitive to feedback from the bar.

    In my opinion, use of pitch is the real secret to flying (and the first control input to teach a student IMHO)- it's everything in takeoff, approach and landing; it's what makes a turn smooth, slipped or spiralled; it's the difference between grace and yuck!; it's the secret (along with looking for a heading change before responding in roll) to dealing with bad turbulence; it's the difference between finesse and elegant flying and a course crank-and-bank. Thumbs above seems to encourage a pitch-oriented style. I find it easier to 'guide' a trike rather than 'shove' it when I have my fingers and thumb on top, pitching up with the fleshy part below my thumb, pulling in with the crook of my fingers. It also seems to naturally encourage a little pull in when initiating a turn.

    But individual results may vary. Maybe it's not for you?
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 2 months ago
    OMG that's funny Monty. My new DVD title is actually "Thumbs Up, Elbows Down" yes to everything Bryan said. Here are my thoughts on the subject.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=3cUl8HlcPKA
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 2 months ago
    Don't have Larry's DVD? No problem! Try:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXvh08Mnork
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 2 months ago
    Coincidentally Larry, I raided the grandkids bequeathance fund last night and ordered your DVD , so, maybe I will take the cure! Though those thumbs sure like to 'wrap around,' it ain't gonna be easy, they bin 'wrapping around bike bars since 1951! Never once have I been tempted to 'undo' their grip.tusks's explanation of how he 'almost glides off into a parallel universe' because his thumbs are 'up' has me a little worried for his 'emotional stability', (the sheep incident may have 'bruised' his 'happy' level!). I'm unconvinced about the elbows/thumbs correlation, I'll have to watch your DVD when it comes.
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 2 months ago
    Larry, I'm not sure which DVD I ordered, I think it was no 1.i didn't see anything about 'thumbs and elbows!
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 2 months ago
    Monty, did you order "Girls, sheep and trikes - Part 2"?
  • PHILIP QUANTRILL
    by PHILIP QUANTRILL 2 months ago
    Monty, the ones with the horns are easier to control hang on to, true, but it doesn't make it right. Bryan, watched your suggested video, what in the name of all that is sacred do you do to pass your time on the ground??? Oddly addictive, maybe a song when I'm gathering in the green beans from the garden in the early morning ..... ALONE !!!
  • Tom Currier
    by Tom Currier 2 months ago
    Thumbs up on starting this blog, Monty.

    I'm mostly a thumbs up guy thanks to Larry's training but when the going gets tough, the thumbs go down. I still have this innate fear the bar is going to be ripped out of my hands and that opposing digit keeps those demons away
  • wexford air
    by wexford air 2 months ago
    For me it depends in the wing, if its a heavy roll response wing and im thrashing it about a bit its usually thumbs down. but the raven was thumbs up (in every sense!) If you could use your toes, now that would be relaxing!
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 2 months ago
    Monty, I just have the one DVD and will be releasing a new on hopefully some time next year. I also have a book "Trike Flying" but they are out of print. They will pop up used on Amazon every once in a while for big bucks (I've seen it listed for $146.00) which humors me to no end.

    The link I posted above definitely addresses the whole thumbs up, elbows down more specifically than the book or the DVD. I ride motorcycles as well which the grip technique and input should have absolutely no connection. People tend to apply familiar habits to similar activities.
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 2 months ago
    Phillip, you know WAY too much about sheep! I know those Yorkshire moors can be a lonely place, but don't fall into Bryan's 'folly', after all, his was 'accidental', (he says), though his 'excuse' for falling out of his trike sounds a little 'premeditated dolly dalliance'. (who knows, with a full 'thumb wrap-around he may not have fallen out at all!) and dolly wouldn't have had to fend off all the 'media' frenzy, looking for a 'human interest' story.
  • jeff trike
    by jeff trike 2 months ago
    I visited Larry, Amy and Wesley in May when I was in Florida for DisneyWorld vacation with my wife. I went a day early so I could visit with them without the wife getting bored waiting in the car. Larry took me up for a demo ride in this Revo and showed me his thumbs up, elbows down, hands wide technique. His is an excellent teacher and I learned a lot on our short 30 minute trip around the airport. Watch the YouTube video he referred to above, https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=3cUl8HlcPKA There is a lot of good advice and technique there.
  • Lindsay Mannix
    by Lindsay Mannix 2 months ago
    I just watched Larrys technique video and please accept my thanks and appreciation of the well demonstrated actions.

    Back when I used to seat of pants train one of the best and safest activities for new pilots was ,on a day too windy for flying , tie the base down into the gusty wind and ask the student to maintain a reasonable angle of attack whilst keeping the wings level....they would always discover most all your methods by themselves and it gave them access to real flight conditions and develop good instincts. They also got a good physical work out while gaining cockpit familiarity.
    Give it a go with a new student and see how fast their reactions develop.
    It was like a trike simulator (wind powered)
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 2 months ago
    Philip, those sheep horns can be tricky to spot under the hats of their French nurses uniform. That video - I KNEW there was another thumbs-up, elbows-down video somewhere! Can't believe someone actually watched it! ;-)

    Monty, my epic encounter was with cows (big, black, licky things), not sheep (smaller, usually whiter, lots cuter)! Sheep would have been a whole lot less messy!
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 2 months ago
    Dear old fruit, are you telling me dolly didn't get rear ended in the accident? I remember the cow 'pasture incident where you tried to 'Frisbee' a fresh one and got all Yucky! You gotta use the thumb to initiate the rotation! Firm ones go further! Sounds like you spend too much time 'communing' with nature! get deano to test fly the 'bright green steamy' one next, after all, what are friends for!
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 2 months ago
    Oh. That. Umm... well... yes, there was the time we tried to take a sheep flying, but it wasn't my fault that she was wrapped up in the fence that was tied to the paraglider. An innocent mistake, could have happened to anyone. Same with the cows - what were they doing on the airstrip anyway...
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