Flights are the fins or wings found at the back of darts. They stabilize the darts during flight and are made of various materials such as plastic polymers, nylon, foil & rip-stop nylon to name just a few. Like shafts, the dart flight is a personal preference. The material used to make the flights, its shape and size will all make the dart perform differently. The traditional shapes are the Kite and Pear but recently the slim shapes have become quite popular. Slim flights will help with tight grouping but they are not to everyone’s preference. Have a look at the different dart flights that are available in Darts shops through-out South Africa.
Dart Flights Types:
Hard Darts Flights.
Made out of stiff polyester plastic layers that are permanently sealed together using heat during manufacturing. Because the plastic is harder they don't tear as easily as Soft Flights, however if they do tear, they cannot be resealed and are ruined. Hard Flights do not flex like a Soft Flight when hit, but do "pop off" the shaft when hitting another dart. This is desirable as it reduces deflection and allows tight groupings. In the image is shown Harrows Darts Marathon FAT flights.
Nylon Dart Flight.
Made of ripstop nylon fabric these flights are by far the most durable type of flights available. These flights are really very hard to tear. The stiffness varies according to the weight and type of fabric used by the manufacturer, but is roughly midway between a Soft and Hard dart flight. The most common point of wear with this flight is at the front, where it is inserted into the shaft. Since ripstop nylon fabric is a thicker material, it is important to pry open the slots on the shaft for a properly loose fit to avoid damage to the flight.
Dimplex Darts Flights.
Dimplex flights are hard flights which have been embossed with a texture. The bumpy or ribbed surface tends to stiffen the flight, which some darters consider desirable. The extra surface area also adds a small amount of drag to the flight, which makes the dart slightly more stable in some cases. The various embossed types of flights are generally a little harder to insert into a metal shaft, due to increased thickness. Use a dart tool or knife blade to gently spread open the slots at the back of the shaft.
Flights tend to split at the back center, where the folds meet, when they are repeatedly hit by other darts. Flight Protectors are then used to protect this areas. Flight protectors are small metal or plastic devices that fit over the flights. The life of flights may be greatly extended by using Flight Protectors. They are reusable and as such may outlast many sets of flights. Flight protectors do not add any significant weight and will not change the way the dart flies.
Soft flights are made out of a flexible plastic sheet, preprinted with a variety of designs and then folded into shape. Adhesive (glue) holds the layers together. If the flight gets torn during use the layers can simply be pressed together with your fingers and the adhesive will "heal" the tear. Another benefit of this type of flight is that they will often flex out of the way if another dart hits it. They are also known as "Reseal Flights".
You may find different shaped flights perform better with different weight darts. But generally large flights can make the dart stall and if you are a lobber of the dart then a large flight may be best suited to your throw. Slim flights require a much harder straight throw as they give less support in flight than larger flights. When first finding a suitable flight, buy several different types and see which style suits your style of throw best.
Replacing Damaged Dart Flights.
Replacing damaged flights is very important as worn out darts can hinder the way you play and even cost you the win.