Flight Rating Guide
Here, we will break down how flight ratings work into great detail. Understanding these numbers will help you pick out the right discs easier.
Most brands now use a 4-number flight rating, something like "9,4,-1,2".
The first number is for Speed (scale of 1-14): Speed is relative to how much potential speed the disc has, but it's very important to keep in mind that you need to put more spin into the faster discs to get them to go faster and therefore fly farther. Higher speed discs don't perform well at lower speeds and don't neccessarily go farther either.
The second number is for Glide (scale of 1-6/7): Glide is pretty simple, it just relates to how much the disc wants to stay aloft vs drop down to the ground quickly. The higher the number, the more it wants to stay aloft. Low glide discs can be easier to control.
The third number is for Turn (scale of +1 to -5): Turn relates to the direction the disc should move early in the flight. The more negative the rating, the more it will turn. The direction depends on the spin of the shot- clockwise throws will go right with more turn, and counter-clockwise throws will go left with more turn.
RHBH Right hand backhand/LHSA Left hand sidearm= Clockwise spin.
LFBH/RHSA= Counter-Clockwise spin.
The last number is for Fade (scale of 0-5): The higher the fade, the more left it should drop off as it slows down towards the end it's flight for a Clockwise spin, and vice versa.
Here are some notes about specific rules to follow when looking into numbers, that we've learned from 11 years of experience selling discs and 21 years of experience throwing them.
~The most important thing to understand is that higher speed does NOT automatically mean more distance. Higher speed drivers truly need more effort put into them to get them to stabilize in flight and keep going. The lower the throw speed relative to how fast the disc needs to be thrown, the more 'overstable' it will behave compared to it's rating.
~Different plastics/weights have a HUGE effect on rating. Sometimes a brand will reflect that but not often. Basically, across all brands, the more 'baseline' the plastic is, the more 'understable' the flight will be. Also, the lighter the weight, the more understable. But to some degree with lighter weights- you get more potential distance!
~"Trilogy" (Dynamic/Westside/Latitude) ratings are usually rated as more 'overstable' than they are when comparing to another brand. We suggest subtracting 1 from the turn AND the fade when comparing to another brand for many models.
~The ratings are most useful for comparing one model to another, and not assuming the disc will fly as it's rated, due to the many variables of thrower type and speed, plastic, weight and even shape.
~Disc shape (which varies based on the run, they're not consistently manufactured), makes a HUGE difference in flight. There's no set standard across the board for the difference made. One rule that holds true almost all of the time across all brands is that high-speed overstable drivers with more dome tend to be more overstable than flatter ones, but this is usually reversed in lower speeds (9 or less). Understable discs tend to be more understable if they're domey. Keep in mind there is no set rule with this, just an observation based on years of experience.
~Overstable means less (closer to 0) turn and more fade. Understable means more (more negative) turn and less fade.