Choosing Dart Flights
Standard or Slim Dart Flights?Choosing the Right Shape and Texture for Your Style
Are you new to the game of darts and confused by the huge variety of shapes, sizes and textures of dart flights? Trouble finding the flights that will help you perfect your game? The following article is for you! All the variations in flight style serve a purpose and picking the right flights can really help improve your score!
So, why different dart flight styles? Generally speaking, smaller and smoother flights will allow darts to cut through the air faster with less drag, yet they will be less forgiving to variations in angle of attack. Conversely, bigger, more textured flights will make darts fly slower through the air with more drag and they will be more forgiving to variations in angle.
Let's take a look at the two most common flight shapes, standard and slim...
Standard Flights - Probably the most common dart flight and also one of the largest. Standard flights should be used if you throw with less force or like to "lob" your darts at the board. You may also want to use standard flights on steel tip darts, if your darts are heavier, or if they have longer shafts. Heavier darts require less force to stick in the dart board and larger flights will help keep darts aloft for longer with a lighter throw.
Standard flights can also help to straighten and stabilize the path of a dart in the air. If your darts are consistently sticking in the board with the flight angled to the floor, you may want to increase the size of your flights. The added drag from larger flights will push the shaft of the dart upwards, helping to correct a downward angle. Ideally, you want your darts to hit the board at a perfectly flat angle, or with the flight pointing slightly upwards, not more than 5-10 degrees. Additionally, as longer shafts can have a tendency to "fish-tail" through the air, darts with longer shafts may benefit from the stabilizing effect of larger dart flights.
Slim Flights - Smaller than standard flights, slim flights are good if you like to throw harder, want to avoid "lobbing" your darts or if you use lighter darts or short shafts. Soft tip darters may benefit from using slim flights because soft tip darts are generally lighter, thus requiring a harder throw to stick in the board. Additionally, if your darts stick in the board at a high, upward angle (greater than 10 degrees) you may want to switch to a smaller flight like a slim. Smaller flights will help reduce drag in the air, allowing the end of the dart to drop slightly in flight. Finally, slim flights will help reduce the chances of bounce-outs and damaged flights from tight groupings, especially if your darts have short shafts.
Other Flight Shapes - Beyond the common standard and slim flights, there is a large variety of flight shapes including pear, Combat, Vortex, Fan Tail, etc. These shapes range from larger than standard to smaller than slim.
When choosing from the less common flight styles just remember -
Larger flights are better for:
- softer throws or "lobs"
- heavier darts
- longer shafts
- steel tip darts
Smaller flights are better for:
- harder or straighter throws
- lighter darts
- shorter shafts
- soft tip darts
Smooth vs. Textured Flights - Smoother flights will drag less through the air while textured flights (like the embossed "Dimplex" flights) will drag more heavily through the air. If you find that your darts are flying just a tiny bit differently than what you want, you might try changing to a coarser or smoother texture while staying with the same shape. Flight texture can help serve as a "fine adjustment" to really dial in your game.
Spreading Your Flights - Remember to properly spread your flights before throwing your darts. You want the fins of all your flights to stand at exactly 90 degrees to one another, otherwise you will not enjoy the full benefit of the flight!
One of the best ways to keep your flights perfectly spread is to use aluminum flight protectors.
Aluminum flight protectors will also help prevent damage to your flights and you won't have to spread your flights before each throw, allowing you to concentrate more fully on your game.
Keep in mind that you do not necessarily have to follow these guidelines! Many advanced, talented darters play with a combination of light barrels, short shafts and standard flights. If you are trying to find the best configuration for your playing style, try several combinations of flights, weights and shaft lengths. Experimentation will help you discover the perfect set of darts for your style!