This started back in the days of reed systems. Reed systems had two buttons for each servo (also known as an actuator). One button drove the servo one way and the second button drove it the opposite direction. It was almost impossible to operate two servos (4 buttons) with one hand, so the two main control functions, Elevator and Aileron, were placed on opposite sides of the transmitter. Many flyers still prefer this configuration even with today's radios. Many contest flyers insist that this gives better control of the aircraft. Mode 1 is not very popular among sport flyers in the U.S.A.. but it is dominant almost everywhere else.
Mode 1 has the Throttle and Aileron on the right stick. The Elevator and Rudder are on the left stick. The location of other controls vary with each manufacturer.
This mode has the Aileron and Elevator, the two main controls, on the right stick. The Throttle and Rudder are on the left stick. This mode has the advantage of making it easier to learn to fly. Most trainer aircraft can be flown with only the right stick except for takeoffs and landings. Mode 2 has become the default mode in the U.S.A. If you order a Radio Control unit from an American company, you will receive a mode 2 system unless you specify otherwise.
Sailplanes and three channel trainer aircraft usually do not have ailerons. The Elevator and Rudder servos are then connected to the right stick of a mode 2 system. This makes learning to fly much easier.
These transmitters use a three axis stick. It combines the Elevator, Ailerons, and Rudder into a single control which can be operated with one hand. While once popular, this mode has all but disappeared. Generally they are only available in deluxe versions.
Frequently Asked Questions