Gimbal Stick Ends and why they matter when flying drones...

Gimbal Stick Ends and why they matter when flying drones...

I see a good amount of pilots with the default stick ends and I wonder, did they just like those better or have they tried their options?...

I'll break down my experience with all types of different stick-ends and how it affected my flying.


Default Sticks - 

There is nothing wrong with the setup how it comes but depending on your hand size, remote and flying style, default may only get you so far.  

I believe getting used to ACRO flight in general is the best first step to lay the foundation of your muscle memory but once you have found your input rates and natural camera angle, adjusting the interaction between you and the remote is the next obvious step. I will go into how to help find your rates and camera angle in on another day...


Extended Throw-

This is what I naturally progressed to by getting new stick ends and not screwing them in all of the way to create further throw distance on the remote itself.  

While technically is it the same input going into the radio, more stick length creates more resolution in the physical sense.  Your fingers have to work more but depending on your relationship with your remote, this may work to your advantage.  

This style helps me the most when I am focused on being smooth over every other flight characteristic. 


Short Throw-

This type never really worked well with how I do my thing but this may be right for your flying style.  

Creating shorter distance means you can have more direct input over the remote for when you need have the sharpest reaction possible. Yes, you may sacrifice some smoothness in your inputs but for some tasks such as drone racing, being smooth may not be what you are looking for.  

Everyones reaction time and style is different, look for what works for you. 


3D Printed-

This is a great example.

3D printing opens up all kinds of possibilities to how you can interact with your remote but make sure to not get caught up with this fact.  Looking throughout the internet or having a buddy design something for you may be the best route because with this tool, you can make them short, tall, fat or shaped however your mind can imagine.  

The first upgrades I got where 3d printed in PLA and not being able to screw them all the way down is what made me test having longer stick throws... chaos breeds inspiration sometimes I guess...


Spikey Stick Gimbal Ends

 I changed to a "spikey" type to help get a grip for longer races.  I was using a radio with smooth default sticks and changed them over to test the contrast and it worked very well for how I was flying at the time! 

Once I started flying more professionally and having 10+ minute flight times, I felt like they were giving my fingertips fatigue that did not out-weigh the positives the spikes brought to my flights, so I ditched them.  

It also trained me to finesse the sticks more and not get caught up in the pressure that some shoots can bring. I found myself straining on scary lines etc. and the spikes reminded me to calm down because I would literally feel the pain of the spikes digging into my fingers... 

Thumb Pads-

Thumb Pads for Gimbal Sticks - pic by SoGo

 Now this is something I saw and never tried because I migrated to a pinch style fairly early in my FPV journey.  All I know is that is makes sense and I saw it positively effect several pilots when they adapted to this on their remotes.  

They mostly used add-ons for Xbox or PlayStation controllers that you can find online but I have seen a few 3D printed styles that were adapted for pilots comfort.  

Choose what works best for you, hopefully this gives you an idea of what to try first.