Flight Charts and Stability Ratings
Flight Chart Explanation
On this page I will explain what the flight numbers mean and what exactly we mean with classifications such as "Stable-Understable".
We match the typical Innova flight charts with MVP's classifications such as Stable-Understable and rim width to give you the best idea possible of how a disc will fly prior to actually throwing it!
A simple way to think of a disc is a spinning air plane wing. It works on similar principles and with that in mind it will make understanding the flight numbers and stability ratings much simpler!
Overstable and understable can be confusing to new players but can be simplified very easily. An overstable disc simply wants to fall to the ground faster and will want to fade sooner and harder. An understable disc generates more lift which will make the disc "turn" or go the opposite direction that it naturally wants to fade, so for a right-hand back-hand thrower the disc wants to fade to the left and an overstable disc will fight harder to go to the left and an understable disc will turn to the right until it is going slow enough to fade. Understable discs generally have more glide than overstable.
Speed is a rating typically between 1 and 14 that explains how fast the disc must be thrown to achieve the expected flight ratings. Think of the disc being an airplane wing, if the wing doesn’t get up to speed it will not perform as expected! Discs that are thrown below their speed rating will behave more overstable and discs that are thrown way above their speed rating will tend to turn. A good indicator of a disc’s speed is its rim width.
The Glide rating on discs tells you how well a disc floats in the air. You will typically see this rating vary between 1 and 7. The lower the number the less glide a disc has. Discs with a high amount of glide will not seem to drop nearly as much over a similar distance than a disc with lower glide even if they are on the same flight path! The benefit to this is you will see a little bit of added distance and they will help stay in the air when you have a tail wind or a wind that is blowing at your back. The downside is that it can be harder to pin point your exact landing spot.
Turn is a measurement of how much lift the disc generates. You will generally see numbers between 1 and -4 for turn with 1 being a very overstable disc and -4 being very understable. When the disc generates an excess of lift the disc will flip up the opposite to how it naturally wants to fade. Back to our airplane wing analogy, this would be similar to a wing that generates a huge amount of lift and then will want to go way up into the air. But a disc is spinning so because of gyroscopic forces it can’t go straight up. When a disc makes too much lift it is known as being “flippy.”
You will hear players wanting their disc to “turn over.” This simply means they wanted more or less turn on their throw. Controlling the turn on your throws is crucial to playing a good round of disc golf.
The higher the turn rating generally the more understable the disc. Understable discs are generally seen more beginner friendly because they will try to stay in the air but you will find understable discs in every players bag as they can be used to manipulate shots that otherwise would be impossible!
Fade is how much a disc tries to fall back to the ground. This typically falls within the range of 0 to 4. The higher the rating the more the disc will try to fight to the ground. A more overstable disc will begin the fade phase of flight earlier and end up further away from the center of your throw. Discs that have a high amount of fade and no turn are great for when you throw into a head wind, or a wind that is blowing in your face. This makes the disc feel like it is going faster than normal which can induce discs to “turn over” when you don’t want them to.
Our stability ratings are based on MVP's overstable to understable ratings. There are five stability ratings to help us describe the general feel of a disc through its entire flight.
Discs that are highly reluctant to turning and want to fade back to the ground are overstable. Overstable discs typically are rated with 0 turn and 3 or more fade. Some of the most overstable discs even have lower glide ratings and the most overstable discs even have a positive turn rating which means the disc will be wanting to fade right out of your hand!
Discs that have a small amount of turn and a larger amount of fade are generally considered Stable-Overstable. They will turn slightly and then fade back past the center line that you were aiming on. These are the primary drivers that many professional bags are built around.
These discs are very straight. They may have a small amount of turn and fade. These discs are great for making it down a long tunnel shot.
These discs generally offer the most distance potential. They typically have -2 or -3 turn and -2 or -3 fade. They will turn for you and will come back at the end of the flight to be close to the center line of your throw.
Understable discs generally have -2 or more turn with 1 or less fade. They will turn over for you and hold the line and will take a long time to fade. These discs are generally considered the best for new throwers.
And that is it! Hopefully when reading or talking about flight numbers and stability of discs you will have a greater understanding. The best way to learn how this all correlates to discs is to look at the rated flight numbers and throw. By doing this you can see how a stable-understable disc with ratings of Speed: 6, Glide: 5, Turn: -2, Fade: 1 is different from a truly understable disc with ratings of Speed: 6, Glide: 5, Turn: -3.5, Fade: 1! Thank you for reading!