What do the numbers mean?
The Innova Flight Ratings System was designed as a way to describe a discs intended flight. Flight Ratings are broken into four main categories: Speed, Glide, Turn, & Fade. These characteristics can be used to rate various aspects of each disc’s flight. Each disc has a distinct “personality”; the flight path that makes that disc unique. Flight Ratings can be used to compare golf discs to each other. Other companies have adopted a similar system, but it’s important to note that flight ratings shouldn’t be used to compare discs between brands since each company rates discs differently.
Flight Ratings are based on right hand backhand (RHBH) throws.
Speed [1 to 14]
Speed is the rate at which a disc can travel through the air. Speed 14 Distance Drivers are the fastest, having the PDGA maximum legal wing width. Faster discs cut into the wind with less effort and are best when throwing up wind. Slower discs take more power to throw upwind, but they’re easier to throw more accurately and may actually go farther downwind. High speed discs are not recommended for beginners as they require more power to fly properly.
Glide [1 to 7]
Glide describes the discs ability to maintain loft during flight. Discs with more glide are best for new players, and for producing maximum distance. Beginners wanting more distance should choose discs with more glide. Discs with less glide are more accurate in high wind situations.
Turn [+1 to -5]
High Speed Turn is the tendency of a disc to turn over or bank to the right (for RHBH throws) during the initial part of the flight. A disc with a +1 rating is most resistant to turning over, while a -5 rating will turn the most. Discs rated -3 to -5 make good roller discs. Discs with less turn are more accurate in the wind. Discs with more turn are easier to throw for beginners.
Fade [0 to 5]
Low Speed Fade is the discs tendency to hook left (for RHBH throws) at the end of the flight. Fade is rated from 0 to 5. A disc rated 0 will finish straightest, while a disc rated 5 will hook hard at the end of the flight. High fade discs are usually used for Spike and Skip shots.
Innova’s flight ratings are not meant to describe the exact flight of any disc model. They are to be used to compare between models. For instance, a Wraith, with the flight ratings 11, 5, -1, 3 is faster than the speed 10 models and slower than the speed 12 and 13 models. The Glide, Turn, and Fade cannot be compared to other speeds, but can be compared to other discs with the same speed rating. This way the Wraith can be compared to a Mamba or Krait on the same line, but cannot be compared to the speed 7 Eagle.
While the flight ratings should give the thrower a good expectation of a disc’s flight, the exact flight is dependent on many factors like the particular material it is made with and, the throwers style and speed.
Can Plastic Type really affect the flight of your disc?
If you’ve been playing disc golf for even a short period of time, you probably understand that as the weight and characteristics of a disc change so does that disc’s flight capabilities. But what many may not realize is that the various types of plastics used during the manufacturing process might also play a huge factor.
Your disc’s plastic type can potentially alter the stability or glide just as much as any other variable would, and this can lead to some confusion among beginning players.
Latitude 64 Plastics
MVP and Axiom Plastics
Most players are familiar with Innova’s plastics, so here’s a very rough guide to how some manufacturer’s plastics compare to Innova’s:
|Discmania (literally the same plastics as Innova)||C-line||D-line||S-line||G-line||P-line||X-line|
|Discraft||Z||Pro-D = DX but somehow worse||ESP,|
Ti ~ stiff Star
|Trilogy||Opto/Lucid/VIP||Zero/Classic/Retro/BT in differing firmness||GL/Fuzion/TP||Frost/Fluid/Elasto|
|Prodigy||400 series ~ gummy,|
750 series ~ super stiff champ
|MVP||Proton||Electron = nicer DX||Neutron||Plasma|
Brief Description of Terms
- Stability is a description of the disc’s flight path.
- Understable means a flight that turns right (RHBH throw).
- Stable is a flight that doesn’t turn.
- Overstable refers to a flight that turns left (RHBH throw).
- Spike/Spike Hyzer is a shot that lands almost vertically and doesn’t skip.
- Skip is a shot that is meant to fly after it hits the ground.
Understable discs are much more speed sensitive than stable or overstable discs. An understable disc will often fly stable to overstable at low speed. Beginners tend to throw discs at lower speeds. For more information on these terms or others, refer to our Glossary of Terms.
If you want to seriously geek out on discs, there’s a lot of data for you out there, here are some good places to start:
- infinitediscs.com/Disc-Matrix is a great website for comparing discs, as Infinite Discs actually rate all the flight numbers themselves, often coming up with quite different figures than the manufacturers. This may be confusing but at least it’s an objective and uniform way of approaching all brands. They also allow customer’s reviews, which can be quite enlightening.
- marshallstreetdiscgolf.com/flightguide/ who doesn’t love tabulated data? This is a quick and easy way to compare discs you love and discover discs you might like to try.
- pdga.com/documents/pdga-approved-discs just a list of all the approved discs with detailed measurements including rim depth, rim width, and rim to diameter ratio. Only for hermit level geeks.