Disc Golf Information: How Disc Weight Affects High-Speed Distance Drivers
I am not an aerodynamicist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last week. The flattest flying brand new Spirit I have thrown so far was a 185 g “S”-plastic Spirit – hopefully the information below will explain why this happens.
Two main factors affect a disc’s overstability when it begins to lose spin revolutions and velocity. (Assuming, of course, that you threw the disc with proper technique, trajectory and angle and hard enough to get on a flat flying plane for long enough to get forward penetration.)
1) The first factor is deflection angle of the wing.
No matter the weight of a disc, the greater the difference between the angle (or concave radius) on the underside of the wing and the angle on the dome of the flight plate (above the parting line), the more it will begin to fade left as soon as the velocity begins to decrease. For example, a Sabre has nearly an equal angle on its wing as it does on its dome; thus, is why it is one of our best-gliding and landing discs on the market. Conversely, the Speed Demon has a very long, deep, and fairly concave wing at a much steeper angle than its rather flat dome, which creates significant drag and forces the disc to cut back hard even before it decelerates.
2) The second factor is gyroscopic weight distribution, or the ratio of weight between flight plate and rim.
In the 185 g Spirit that flew dead straight right out of the hopper, a greater amount of plastic was “pushed” into the flight plate, making the rim-to-flight-plate weight ratio lean more towards the flight plate than in the 175 g Spirits produced after we got the injection profile lined out. The 175 g and 185 g Spirits were made from the same weighted batch of plastic, just distributed differently in the mold by temperature, pressure and injection speed. Out of our entire line, Speed Demons and Spirits have the highest rim-to-flight-plate weight ratio; in a 175 g Spirit or Speed Demon that ratio would be 120 g/55 g (rim/flight plate). Aside from the Aerobie™ Epic™, these two discs have the most gyroscopic weight distribution of any discs on the market, allowing them to spin faster and longer. This along with their low overall height and high nose sharpness explains why these discs are among the fastest anywhere.
Just like with the angles of wing deflection, the closer to each other the rim and flight plate weights are, the straighter the disc will fly as it decelerates. The Sabre’s ratio between rim to flight plate in a 175 g disc is about 95 g/80 g, also helping it to fly extremely straight.
Check out any competitive yo-yo or ask someone who competes in that sport about revolutionary designs in the past few years if you want to see gyroscopic weight distribution in a different arena!