- Optimizing The Airtronics M12 -

Get the most from this Pro-level pistol grip
By Aaron Waldron - Photos: Joel Navarro

Perhaps no other single item used by all RC’ers has benefitted from each leap of advancing technology as much as the transmitter, and Airtronics’ new marquee model, the M12, has some of the most useful bells and whistles yet. We talked with Airtronics’ surface product manager, Craig Kaplan, about the M12’s most functional features.

Race Mode (or R-mode)

The race starts when the track is wet, making for slippery conditions. Before the end of the race, however, the track dries out and grip increases. The M12’s Race Mode offers the ability to switch to a different set of radio parameters at the click of a button; once the track dries out, a flip of the finger can raise steering dual rate and switch to a more aggressive throttle exponential without interrupting your focus on driving. How non-intrusive is the switch to Race Mode? You can even adjust how quickly the radio transitions to the new settings!

Integrated antenna

You’re clumsy and tend to drop, bump, whack, or otherwise damage your transmitter. The M12’s antenna is hidden in the handle on top of the radio. There’s no dangling antenna to break; if you manage to drop and break the M12, the antenna will be the least of your worries.

Direct Model Select

You’re racing three classes at the same weekend-long event, which means you’re hitting the track with different cars several times per day. Since you’re making use of a fraction of the M12’s 50-model memory, this requires switching models each time you’re walking onto the stand. By selecting the three models you’re using for the Direct Model Select feature, one button allows you to cycle between the profiles without navigating through the radio’s menu. If you’re the kind of person who completes a lap or two of warm-up before wondering why your car is driving so erratically, only to find that you forgot to switch the model on your transmitter, this feature is for you!


We all know how to set up a 2-channel receiver; “one to turn, two to burn” means that channel 1 is steering, and channel 2 is throttle. But now you’re installing the M12 into a rock crawler, 1/5-scale touring car, or other application that requires complex servo mixing.

By selecting the appropriate option from the M12’s 10 different parameter types, the radio can not only pre-mix your servos for proper functionality but also display what receiver channels into which you need to plug each of the car’s servos.

Servo speed

You switched to a faster throttle servo for more immediate braking power, but noticed that ripping on the throttle opens the carburetor so quickly that the engine bogs down. Not only can you adjust the speed of your servos (obviously, you can’t go any faster than the servo’s own capabilities), but also the point in the servo’s travel where the speed is adjusted. That means you can slow down the throttle servo for the first bit of its travel until the engine rpm picks up, yet have the full reactivity you were looking for. Ergonomic Customization

You’re a nitro racer that will be spending long hours on the drivers’ stand bumping up through lower mains and logging thousands of practice laps. “There are so many different options available in the box, you can build it just the way you like it,” says Kaplan. The M12’s included options offer the most customizable ergonomics of any radio in history. With an included wheel drop down, adjustable steering wheel angle, grip size options, three steering wheel springs, and offset throttle triggers, the M12 is completely adaptable to anyone’s preferences.


You’re helping a newer racer with their setup and driving techniques. On top of this radio’s impressive telemetry and data logging capabilities, which allow you to monitor and recall useful information like battery voltage and engine temperature, the M12 can be bound to another radio to log its data as well. Even if bound to a radio that isn’t capable of telemetry, like the M11X, you can view that radio’s steering and throttle inputs. Now you can show your ham-fisted pupil exactly why his car jumps wildly out of control when he swears up and down that he’s tapping the brakes over that tricky double jump.


Your car feels really twitchy when you barely touch the steering wheel, but dead in the middle of a corner. Rather than a pre-determined curve, each of the M12’s four channels can be tailored with an exponential graph that has nine adjustable points. Another example: if you’re looking for an advantage while racing Stock Short Course and want more initial power the instant you even breathe on the trigger, you can spike the throttle curve at the beginning of the trigger’s throw but make the rest of its travel more linear.


There’s no shame in being the kind of RC’er who sets the basic adjustments of his radio in order to get the model to function correctly, and leaving “good enough” alone. But if you’re going to plunk down the cash for the top-of-the-line transmitter, why not get your money’s worth? You may never utilize every adjustment available in the M12’s expansive list of options, but picking and choosing the tips and tricks that offer the biggest benefit for your application can be the key to finding that extra edge you were looking for when you paid the cashier.