Left-Handed Pilots Get It RightBy Vaughn College
Left-handed pilots are more prevalent in the aviation industry than one may think. Since about 10 percent of the population is left-handed, it makes one wonder why a large percentage of pilots are also left-handed, as many as 40 percent according to those in the field. This disproportionate ratio raises the question, “Are the challenges the same for right-handed pilots compared to left-handed pilots?” In honor of International Left Handers Day, we want to recognize the “lefties” who are commandeering the skies, and touch down on any challenges they may face.
Living in a right-handed world
Many lefties consider themselves ambidextrous since they’ve learned to adapt to living in a right-handed world. And when it comes to flying an airplane, left-handed pilots say it’s all about the same. Pilots use both hands to fly an airplane and undergo rigorous training to master the task. Ask almost any left-handed pilot and they’ll say it really doesn’t make much . History speaks for itself as some of the most famous aviators of our time are left-handed, including astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell and the late Wally Schirra, just to name a few.
All hands on deck
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you know there are two pilots in the cockpit―the captain and the first officer. When pilots begin their training, they are seated on the left in the captain’s seat with the yoke, or control column, on their left and the throttle in the middle on the right side. The flight instructor sits on the right in the first captain’s seat with the controls reversed. Since pilots need to know how to navigate from both positions, their left-handedness doesn’t really come into play since they need to master flying using either their right or left hands.
Getting it “write”
One drawback for most left-handed pilots is having to jot down notes while flying. They say it becomes second nature to them as they simply switch hands when they need to. Many left-handed pilots say learning to manipulate a throttle or stick is nowhere near as complex as learning how to write with your less-dominant hand.
August 13 is International Left Handers Day. If you are left-handed or know someone who is, then give yourself a hand with the knowledge that left-handed people are always in their right minds.
Interested in learning more about a career in Aviation?
Join our Aviation Training Institute Information Session on August 22!