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Let's Talk Exponential 


What is expo? Expo, in relationship to your radio, is the softening of the stick around center. This makes the stick less sensitive in relationship to the percentage you've entered. This percentage in the radio softening the center is known as digital expo. 

   I personally find too much expo can give you a disconnected, almost mushy feeling from the helicopter. Not enough, and your aircraft can be uncontrollable or overly sensitive. Myself, I like to fly with very little digital expo, as I feel this gives me a more connected feeling to the aircraft. 

   Although I don't run a lot of digital expo, I do run my radio control sticks out quite a ways (also known as mechanical expo). The farther the stick is run out or extended, the further you need to move the stick to get the same amount of control throw, thus adding a type of expo. In fact, I don't run my sticks at the same length. My right cyclic stick is a little shorter than my collective and yaw stick. 

   Food for thought: If you have your control sticks very short, but have a lot of expo in the radio, are you gaining anything? Many other factors can contribute to the helicopter's sensitivity and controllability; expo is just another piece of the puzzle. 

   One more factor that can contribute to needing more or less digital expo might be in how you hold the control sticks. On a recent poll I took of 70 pilots, 34 said they pinch the sticks, 33 fly with their thumbs, and 3 do something in between. Consider how you fly and how it affects your expo needs.  

 Don't be afraid to try changing your setup. However, when changing something, make small movements and only change one part of the equation. This way you know what works and what doesn't.

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