I have been told that 4 out of the top 5 at the recent Pattern (F3A) World Championship in Argentina used Mode I stick configuration on their transmitters. This gives me reason to promote my Mode III stick set-up which I have been using for many years. Futaba makes this Mode available in most of their transmitters but they call it "Mode IIII".
Lets begin with an explanation of the 3 main stick configuration in use today.
The most popular and widely used stick configuration is Mode II. On this mode we have throttle & rudder on LH stick , aileron & elev on RH stick.
Mode I is a carry over from the old reed days and here we have rudder & elev. on the LH stick with throttle & aileron on the RH stick. Mode III is the reverse of Mode I with throttle & aileron on the left, rudder & elev. on the right.
Now I can hear the arguments already and I would agree that a good case could be made for learning to fly on the stick mode that is most popular in your area.
For general sport flying for you to learn to fly on mode II may well be the best way for you to begin. But if you have any ambitions of flying aerobatics competitively then Mode I or Mode III is definitely the way to go.
Here is why, I will use Mode III for my explanation as this is the one I use but the same principles applies to Mode I.
On Mode III aileron control is placed on your left hand along with throttle. Now imagine doing a slow roll, all you have to do is lean the stick slightly to the left or right to establish the roll rate and all the co-ordination is done with rudder and elevator on your right hand. Being right handed would be some benefit here.
This ability to co-ordinate all the corrective inputs with the right hand applies to all rolling maneuvers incl. rolling loops and rolling circles as well giving this pilot a great advantage over the one having to use two sticks to accomplice the same thing.
Quite some years ago as a result of my influence two already accompliced pattern fliers in Canada switched from Mode II to Mode III and they both went on to win the Canadian Nationals, one of them shared the podium with myself and one other team member when we won the team world championship in Australia in 1991.
I would also point out that Gernot Bruckman of Austria who won the free style at the recent Tucson Shootout is flying mode III so there is a lot of evidence in support of this set-up.
Now I don't want to give anyone the idea that switching stick modes will somehow make you a winner. Flying aaerobatics is all about practice, set up and reducing pilot workload. I strongly believe that mode III reduces pilot workload and that Mode III is the best option for a person who is right handed where Mode I would be best suited for a left handed person.