Dart flights – 101
There are literally hundreds of variations of flights you can use at the tail-end of your dart setup, “hundreds” when you take into consideration the shape, thickness, material and of course, style. So why? What should I use? What’s the difference and how will it affect my darts to help me produce a more consistent throw?
In this, we’ll explain what the different shapes mean, how they affect the dart and what perhaps would be best suited to your throw.
Although I could guess over 30 different shapes of flights available on the marketplace today, including novelty shapes, there are four main shapes of flights that these are all derived from. There’s Standard, Kite, Pear and Slim. The job of the flight (along with the stem length) is to affect the speed of the dart to the board and thus the landing of the dart into the dartboard. Each of the four main shapes have a slightly different surface area from Standard (largest) down to Slim (smallest, with Kite and Pear shaped in between). For the technical out there, a Standard set of flights has the flight surface area approximately 25% bigger than a Slim flight (depending on manufacturer), so there’s not a huge difference, but enough to affect the dart’s flight time and trajectory to the dartboard.
A setup with Slim flights will travel to the board quicker than the same setup with Standard flights as it effectively has less drag in the air given its smaller surface area. Given this, the Slim setup will have the dart land into the board slightly more level to the floor and the Standard flight setup will sit up more as it travels slightly slower to the board. The travel time is not really noticeable at all to the human eye and this is also based on a consistent throw. An example of a smaller flight area would be the 16 times World Champion, Phil “the Power” Taylor who typically uses the Vapour or Vapour S dart flight (a variation of the Kite and Pear shape together). This flight has a very small flight surface area, that’s why his darts land in the dartboard with the points higher than the flights, hence he reverse stacks his darts into the dartboard.
Dart flights come in a variety of thickness and are measured in microns (one millionth of a metre). Flights can be purchased between 50 microns right up to a thickness of 200 microns with the standard around the 100 micron mark. Believe it or not, the thickness of the flight will actually affect the landing of the dart into the dartboard too just like the shape, but not nearly as much.
The main reason to buy a decent thickness of around say 100 microns, is its durability. A 50 or 75 micron flight might be cheaper, but it won’t last too long, especially if you are grouping your darts well and are at an intermediate level or higher. For the majority, 100 micron flights will do.
Dart flights are made from different types of materials. These can range from hard or soft plastic polymers, nylon or made from a hard foil. Again, like thickness, the material used to make the dart flight affects more its durability and how long the flights will last, rather than the darts trajectory or landing into the dartboard. Typically, flights made from foil are novelty types that will not last too long or are best suited for the home darter for use in the garage or on the practise board.
Whilst we have talked about the basics of foldable dart flights here, there is also a multitude of molded dart flight styles on the market today. These styles remain a personal preference with the shape and thickness of the flight the main contributing factors to how your dart will land into the dartboard. The reasons for preferring molded flights is its rigidity of the flight as molded flights typically ensure that your flight remains in a constant shape, do not bend or split like foldable flights will eventually end up. The other preference for molded flights is they are manufactured to ensure the flight stays on the stem, or in many cases is actually part of the stem as an all-in-one system. Again, its personal preference here with the flight shape key to the darts performance into the board.
So what flights should you use for your set-up?
Once you have a set of darts you like the feel of, the correct weight barrels for how hard you throw and the length of stem preferred. Use a standard set of flights, throw to the dartboard quite a few times to see how your darts land into the board. If they stand up too much, try using a pear or even slim set of flights to even out the landing of your dart. Remember there are many variety of dart flights available on the market today and for the cost of a couple of dollar’s, testing a variety of them at home may well be the difference of a win at the oche at your next competitive game!
Bullseye Darts has over 6,000 flights in stock at any one time so there’s plenty to choose from.
Straight Arrows everyone.
Owner – Bullseye Darts