Innova Discs: What Do The Numbers Mean?
The Innova Flight Ratings System was designed as a way to describe a disc’s intended flight. Flight Ratings are broken into 4 main categories: Speed, Glide, Turn, and 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 the disc unique. Flight Ratings can be used to compare Innova golf discs to each other. Other companies have adopted similar systems, but it is important to note that flight ratings shouldn’t be used to compare discs between brands since each company rates discs differently. The following 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 the 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 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 I 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 at the end of the flight. High fade discs are usually used for Spike and Skip shots.
Plastics Affect Flight
Different plastics can affect the flight ratings of Innova discs, especially the longer-range drivers. Generally Champion and Glow Champion produce discs with less high-speed turn than our other premium plastics like Star and GStar, and Pro.
- All Innova Premium plastics like Star and GStar, Champion, and Pro will retain their original flight characteristics for an extended period of time.
- DX, XT, KC Pro, and R-Pro Plastic will change flight characteristics over time more quickly than Innova premium plastics. This is a desirable trait for some people who will carry the same model in multiple stages of wear to get different flights for different situations while throwing the same mold.
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.
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 can not 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 can not 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 thrower’s style and speed. Champion plastic generally produces the most high-speed stable discs, followed by Star, DX, Pro, and R-Pro.