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A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

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Old 12-19-2004, 10:39 AM
  #1  
The PIPE
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Default A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Dear Fellow RCU'ers:

The PIPE Here again...and "going around" in the Yahoo MicroPro/MICROSTAR and Ace RC radio gear forums very recently, has been the mention of a webpage recommending "Improved RC Aircraft Transmitter and Control System Design"...

it's at http://humane.sourceforge.net/publis...ansmitter.html ...

...and it's from an electric flight RC aircraft enthusiast, who is none other than the "main brain" behind the creation of the Apple Macintosh personal computer series from way back in the early 1980s...one Jef Raskin!

From reading his recommendations on how RC aircraft transmitters "should" be designed at that linked page, myself and others in those two mentioned Yahoo forums quickly discovered that Jef is in favor of the type of RC transmitter "user interface" that yours truly happens to be using in this oft-displayed photo of myself from way back in May of 2001...



...the single stick, or "KNOBBY", transmitter user interface!!!

I hope soon to be writing Jef myself to let him know about what IS currently going on with fellow RCers actually BUILDING up their own knobby radios...he's a Ham licensee, with a Technician class license at callsign KE6IGI ...and I'd just like to let my fellow RCU'ers know about Jef's recommendations, since at least ONE of his ideas is one I've always preferred for my own RC flying needs...hope to get some responses for this thread!

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE!
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Old 12-19-2004, 12:28 PM
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David_Moen
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Interesting read, I sure hope someone picks up on some of those rather well thought out points. There a a few fellows at out field that fly with old single stick radios, and I've always been impressed by the simplicity of the design.
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Old 12-19-2004, 03:24 PM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

The link was an extremely interesting read. Thanks.

Never had any single stick experience and not ready to embrace a change. A high level for respect for Jef Raskin’s computer interface ideas would be sufficient to try the concept.

The most interesting was “eliminate most frequency conflicts” which addresses the larger problem of safety.

Bill
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:42 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

A great deal of the ideas on that page are what I have thought would make a great transmitter. However I think that most top pilots would still go for mode 1 over a singlestick transmitter because it provides better control during manuevers.

I flew a JR century seven single stick for a while but went back to dual sticks. I hated holding the transmitter in my left hand and useing my left index finger for the throttle. A singlestick transmitter with a harness would be better than the old setup but I still think mode 1 will provide more accurate control for precision flying
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:19 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

technically, dual sticks provide better control. your brain is only capable of putting so much control action into a single muscle group, so with two sticks you are spreading this out over two hands. this also has a BIG effect with different generations. older generations seem to use a single stick better, while the 'nintendo' generation excels at two sticks. this is due to many hours of experience using both controls at the same time effectively.

it is an interesting piece... couple of things need to be revised in it. in one section in particular he mentions all switches should be visible and indicate their function/state by visual appearance. obviously looking down at your tx while flying is bad, some of us have planes that this could be a very easy crash. later he mentions you should never look down, contradicting what was said earlier. personally when I'm flying the ONLY thing that matters is if I can feel where the switch is. doesn't matter if it is on the back, completely hidden from view, but it rests right under my control. a good example is the side sliders on my 9c. I use the left one almost as much as any other control, as it controls the flaperons/spoilerons. you can do all kinds of interesting maneuvers having active control over the flaps like that.
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:48 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

smokingcrater,

agreed. Feel of switches is important.
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Old 12-24-2004, 03:48 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

smokingcrater. Which do you think is more difficult, translating two two dimensional sticks with parts of the body operated by seperate sides of the brain, or having three degrees of axis on one hand? The brain is actually capable of putting more control input into a single muscle group much much more easily than multiple muscle groups, because the brain has to translate and communicate rather that just react like you would with a single muscle group. Just because we learn on two sticks doesn't mean that's what's natural.

This can be demonstrated very simply by doing the following. Grab an etch-a-sketch. Draw a circle with it. Grab a pencil, draw a circle with it. Tell me which requires more practice to do. The Pipe isn't just a fanatic, he's actually right. In fact I think the single stick controls could actually be one upped by adding a sliding shaft to the stick to give 4 dimmensions on a single stick.

Also about your well labeled switches, that is also not thinking very clearly. No you don't look at your transmitter when you're flying, but you do look at it when you're learning and trying to figure out how to deal with it all. I currently type over 120 words a minute and I haven't seen the keys on my keyboard in as long as I can remember. But I do know that if they didn't have those symbols on them I wouldn't have ever learned to type even at 1 word a minute. I stared at my keyboard when I typed for something like 4 or 5 years. Then one day I realized I could look away and I already knew where the keys were, why because they were well labeled and consistantly positioned.

Single or dual stick I personally think the entire human interface to an RC aircraft needs to be rethought from the ground up to put the fine control in one hand and the course control in another, with ergonomic sanity as well. They came out with split keyboards years ago because it makes more sense to the degree's of human movement, why on earth are we still using two stick straight up out of a flat box?
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Old 12-24-2004, 08:34 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

I guess we will have to wait and see if any of the top pilots will go back to a single stick transmitter. They all left them and went to dual sticks, that is one reason why they are no longer made. When twisting the rudder it is very easy to accidentally input aileron or elevator.

Rolling circles would be interesting.
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Old 12-24-2004, 11:14 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

I guess I'm going to have to jump in here and offend someone or several people. I went to the web site and read the article. A lot of it is good stuff, but part of the transmitter design and ergonomics is, in my opinion, based on fallacious reasoning by someone who has never been a competition flier.

Here are my comments by section in Part 3:

3.1 Smaller size. I would just as soon have my sticks separated further so I don't have to bend my wrists in. You guys can have the little tiny radios.

3.2 Antenna Human Factors. I have used rubber ducky antennas on both 72MHz and 6 meters and went back to the stock antenns. You have to remove them before your transmitter goes in the case. A collapsable antenna is more convenient.

3.3 Patch Antennas. Don't know

3.4 Stick design and placement. I started on single stick and now am flying 2-stick. A 3-axis stick is OK for sailplanes and old timers, but it isn't any good for real precision. It is hard enough coordinating elevator in a slow roll without also trying to do rudder with the same hand. The big time competition fliers used 2-stick. The few that did fly single stick, and I have known a couple of them and talked to them about this, flew top rudder. They had a spring loaded, toggle on top of the case to move rudder with their left thumb while moving throttle with their left forefinger. The 3-axes with 1 hand doesn't wash. If the experts can't get precision with it, no one can. He just didn't do enough research about top fliers that flew single stick.

All this "lean the stick left" junk is more fallacious reasoning. This doesn't work when the plane is flying toward you, as everyone knows. You have to learn to instinctively move the stick to make the plane do what you want. It's hand-eye coordination.

3.4.1 Experiments... Again fallacious. Certainly it's easier at first. It's easier to point the antenna in the direction of flight and look over your shoulder, but you'll never get very good this way. As for "experts," name a few. Show me some top competitioon fliers that can afford or ask for any transmitter that will fly single stick. Don't you think is they could get a leg up on the competition, they'd switch?

As for helicopters-bunk! Single stick did see a short revival when heli flying broke out and started to get popular. I remember a few guys around here tried single stick. But, as maneuvers got more complicated, they went back to 2-stick because it was better.

As for the book listed about twisting, sure twisting is good for tuning a radio. Try doing that while also doing precision changes in 2 other axes. This is shallow research and a failure to truely analyze the problem.

3.4.2 3D Sticks are Widely Used. Gamers. Watch gamers. Most of their movements are bang-bang. Most are not doing precision corrections in 3 dimensions at the same time.

3.5 Control Design and Location.

3.5.1. Locking Switches. Just what I need on my transmitter, a switch that doesn't move when I need it. You can fiddle with locking switches, but I move my spoileron switch on a 3D plane with my 3rd finger, not taking my others off the control stick. I think this is an accident looking for a place to happen.

3.5.2 Protected Switches. This guy must fly slow stuff. Find the hole, reach in and flip the switch. Not on a fast airplane or one down low.

3.5.3 Avoid Momentary-Contact Toggles. I have never seen this so I can't comment. At first glance, I would agree.

3.5.4 Keep all controls visible. That's the reason some transmitters have the snap direction switches on the back right under your fingers so you don't have to look. Personally, I'd like a couple of more selected switches back there, but then I couldn't lay my transmitter down.

3.6 Gated Throttle. I suspect there would be a lot of non-wanted shut downs with this. I want a separate switch/lever for cutting my engine and I want to yank the throttle to idle without shutting down. I have had a twin lose an engine inverted, in the middle of a maneuver. I am spring loaded to idle, check which engine and get on rudder when I hear a sound change. I don't need both engines out, at least on my planes, when I pull back too hard in an emergency.

3.7 Knob design. I agree 100%. Make my flap knob so I can feel where it is.

3.8 Auto Shut-down. This is OK as long as you can turn it off in software.

3.9 Built in Stand. I also like this.

3.10 Include a three-point or four-point harness. This is personal choice. I have tried them and a tray and I don't like them. I like my neck strap, especially in the winter. With a multi-point harness, you have to get into and get out of it every time you fly. I put my neck strap on once. It goes under my hood (I hete the cold) and under my collar. Once I get it comfortable, I can hook up or unhook any time without getting undressed.

3.11 Use distinctive Switches. We have different length switches, but this is hard to do in a small transmitter.

I am getting tired of writing like I was tired of reading all the bad reasoning in the "white paper." Single stick went away because it just wasn't very good for precision flying. If the top competitors don't use it the little guys aren't going to. They are going to try to emulate the best fliers. And, the best fliers that did use single stick did not use a 3-axis stick, rather they used top rudder which is not what the author proposes.

For those of you who are still skeptical, find someone who has a single stick and try a slow roll. Don't do a rolling circle, don't do 3D, just coordinate a slow roll with a 3 axis stick. Do this and then make your decision on single stick.
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Old 12-24-2004, 11:26 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Ed,

I agree on all points.

Judging by your AMA number you are up there.
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Old 12-26-2004, 04:19 PM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Dear Ed Moorman:

The PIPE Here once more...and sorry, Ed, but I'm someone who HAS to use "knobby" single stick radios...!!!

...and since I'm one of those persons that ALSO has general problems using a good MANY things that would force me to take my eyes off what I'm operating...such as computer AND musical keyboards...which I CANNOT use by touch (and therefore, the knowledge of just WHERE my fingers are at in any particular moment) alone, I HAVE to look at them while I use them...I'm simply NOT someone who could EVER use a dual stick radio, SAFELY, for ANY type of RC flying.

With a knobby radio, my hand is ALWAYS on the rudder knob, and the limited degree that I have, of what could be called "spatial knowledge", of where my right joystick hand is in relation to the joystick's center position, IS assisted by watching the plane's behavior as I fly it, while the "known position-by-feel-alone" of my right hand is at least always ON the rudder knob...even synchronizing the rudder and aileron controls together IS much easier for someone like myself.

There are enough of the people, that ARE making up AND using knobby radios of their own these days, that ARE similarly, or even more severely, challenged by how our eyes and hands & fingers were "wired" in a neurological manner as to how they can be educated to work together, while we were very young, to keep the existence of knobby RC aviation radios in continuance for QUITE some time to come...and that they simply cannot GET their own hands to work quite as well as other people can use theirs. And a number of my fellow knobby users HAVE sadly lost the use of some or all of the use of one of their hands...but having a knobby radio available to them DOES allow them to "at least" partially use a knobby radio to fly RC planes with once more.

It IS most fortunate that the Amateur Radio Service nowadays has a much easier requirement...only ONE written test...for an RCer to get themselves a Technician class ARS (Ham) license to build up their own knobby radio(s), so I still expect that, even though I'll always suspect that the TOTAL percentage of knobby-vs.-dual stick flyers will remain fairly small, Jef Raskin's idea of the three axis, single main joystick-ed "knobby" radio will REMAIN an appealing option to those of us who just feel that we can never fly a dual stick radio safely...for now, and for QUITE a number of decades into the future.

I'll certainly NEVER change from the "knobby-box" user interface...and it would be totally fruitless for anyone to change me from it!

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE!
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Old 12-28-2004, 07:47 PM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Ed,

I agree with much of what you say. I recently purchased a Kraft
single stick system to try, as a learning experience. My native
transmitter is mode I, but I can fly mode II if it is not a very fast
bird. I prefer mode I because it "separates" the two most used
controls - elevator and ailerons. What we really need is four hands
and four sticks![sm=biggrin.gif]

Later...
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Old 12-28-2004, 11:07 PM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

The Pipe,

I didn't pick up on your personal requirements for a single-stick transmitter from your first post, but after seeing your last post I understand. Until then, I thought you were just advocating the single-stick arrangement. Ed Moorman writes for a magazine that reviews flying hardware, and I doubt he would intentionally offend you.

I use Mode II, and own a Microsoft Sidewinder joystick for video games. Mode II suits me just fine at the field. On the simulator, I can't seem to get the Sidewinder rudder to work for me, and I wind up assigning rudder to a couple keybord keys. I thought it was really neat when I bought it (years ago, it was the first version they offered) and quickly found out I'm not wired for twisting the stick for rudder.

I'm glad it works for you, though! Happy flying,
Dave Olson
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Old 12-29-2004, 07:35 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

ORIGINAL: Ed_Moorman

I am getting tired of writing like I was tired of reading all the bad reasoning in the "white paper." Single stick went away because it just wasn't very good for precision flying. If the top competitors don't use it the little guys aren't going to. They are going to try to emulate the best fliers. And, the best fliers that did use single stick did not use a 3-axis stick, rather they used top rudder which is not what the author proposes.

For those of you who are still skeptical, find someone who has a single stick and try a slow roll. Don't do a rolling circle, don't do 3D, just coordinate a slow roll with a 3 axis stick. Do this and then make your decision on single stick.
Sorry but I must disagree with your assesment of single stick transmitters for pattern flying. I flew pattern from 1967 through 1974 and my experience was just the opposite. I flew two stick transmitters until 1971. I bought a Proline single stick transmitter for the 1971 season and my scores improved significantly for those maneuvers requiring simultaneous application of rudder, aileron, and elevator. I never remember doing a really good slow roll or 4-point roll before going to single stick. I could use the right stick or the left stick but not both at the same time. My advice is if you can pat your stomach and rub your head at the same time, then you can fly any mode you desire. If you can't, then get as many functions as possible on one stick.

I continued using my single stick Prolines until 1993 when I switched to Micropro. I now fly Evo transmitters but depend on coupled rudder/ailerons for most flying. How I wish I could get the Evo capabilities in the Proline single stick transmitte case. I used to build my own equipment so the task is within my skills except that I can no longer see well enough to solder on printed circuit boards.

If single stick wasn't good enough for top competitors, how come almost half the top pattern fliers up to 1975, including Ron Chidgey and Jim Kirkland, were single stick flier.

Chuck Anderson
AMA 371
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:03 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

ChuckA,
Man you've got to get you a good magnifying lamp! Something like these.
http://www.800watt.com/product.asp?pf_id=Lamp2090-5

John
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:09 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

ChuckA,

Why did single stick fall out of favor with top fliers after 1975?
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Old 12-29-2004, 09:41 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

ORIGINAL: Skypilot_one

ChuckA,

Why did single stick fall out of favor with top fliers after 1975?
I don't know but I suspect the lack of really good single stick transmitters at a reasonable price. You need to ask Ron Chidgey or someone else who continued to fly pattern after I stopped in 1974. I was never one of the top fliers but I did fly whith many of them. Jim Kirkland taught me how to fly RC in 1956 and he introduced me to many of the good fliers of that era. I dropped out of pattern contests because I didn't have time to practice. I know that most of them flew several days a week and bought fuel in 55 gallon drums. Jim Kirkland died of a heart attack while unloading a drum of fuel.
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Old 12-29-2004, 10:01 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Well that sucks about Jim Kirkland. I would like to be doing something better than that when I die.

I never found the single stick comfortable to hold and using my fingertip for the throttle in that awkward position just didn't work for me. I found trying to move the stick horizonal and vertical to the box held cradled made for some crappy flying while the transmitter was in my hands.
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Old 12-29-2004, 10:24 AM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

I always found that the large, heavy Proline transmitter to be very comfortable. The Proline had the throttle under the left thumb and was much easer to use. When I got the first Micropro, I had to move the throttle to that location because I found accurate throttle inputs to be much harder with my finger. I flew with the heal of my right hand resting on the bottom right hand corner of the transmitter and holding the rudder knob between my thumb and first finger. This let me make smoother and more precise. I could never fly holding the stick the way the Pipe does although I suspect that I would have had to change my style if I were flying today's 3D pattern. I always liked smooth Thunderbird style maneuvers and never cared much for brute power and snap roll maneuvers. I never liked the thinner and lighter Micropro single stick transmitters as well as the Proline. Incidently I still have three Proline and two Micropro single stick transmitters on the shelf. One Proline has been converted to Channel 05 for my nostalgia models. I could still use the others but they are on 53.4 and all the new code-free hams have made that frequency unusable at our field.
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Old 12-29-2004, 12:39 PM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Chuck,

I have two Competition Six transmitters and all the Proline schematics that I know of. I still have the metal cased receivers. How many channel are your Prolines?
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Old 12-29-2004, 12:45 PM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

My Ham stuff is on 05 also.
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Old 12-29-2004, 01:26 PM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Sorry to splash the cold water of reality onto your single stick dreams, but no major radio company can afford to build a new modern sophisticated computer single stick radio product. My guess is 99%+ of all R/C pilots worldwide were trained on and currently fly a two stick radio. A radio company simply cannot risk the 1 million dollars it would take to bring a single stick product to the mass R/C market without a proven market for it. I know some of you will say this is a "Catch 22" and I would have to agree.

I personally have a deep respect for Jef Raskin and his human interface opinions. I have also met "The Pipe" at the WRAM show and discussed this very issue with him in person. For all I know a single stick interface may be "better", but the marketplace is not always "rational" and we all know humans do not always gravitate towards "what is best for them". So...the evolution of R/C radios has moved to a two stick system and at this point the voices of those wishing to buy a sophisticated single stick product are but a whisper in the breeze next to a "two stick world" Hurricane.

With all due respect,

Glen Merritt
Marketing Manager for Hitec and Multiplex USA
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Old 12-29-2004, 03:30 PM
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Default RE: A new KNOBBY box RC radio "recommendation"...

Glen,

All that a manufacturer would have to do is add a 3-axis stick moving the rudder pot to one end of the gimbal and the trim to the other end and make the remaining stick just throttle. That would not take millions. Marketing could be as big or small as you like by combining advertizing with existing product ads. If you did a run of 1000 it would probably cost an extra $10-20,000 to make them, $10-20.00 each.

The bottom line is there is no real market for single stick. Why did it die out? Was the three axis gimbal that expensive to make? The Pro Line and Kraft signature series gimbals were high quality, the JR was also good, but the rest was as close to cheap as you could get.

People who really want a single stick are having them made in the USA by Marv Jensen for about $600.00.

With all due respect,

KB1DTB
PlaneKrazee is offline  
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