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Old 02-13-2013, 01:40 PM
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Default Δ in Altitude/Temp/Humidity Make Discs Fly _____

I realized this has been hashed and rehashed before in separate threads for each, but I need to get this info all in one place so I can respond to a question a buddy asked me. Specifically, for those that truly know and not those people that think they might have a good idea or heard from some guy I'd like to know how the weather variables below impact the flight of a disc from the following standpoints: More/Less Distance, More Overstable/More Understable, More/Less Glide



Higher Altitudes = _____ Distance, _____stable, _____ Glide
Lower Altitudes = _____ Distance, _____stable, _____ Glide

Hotter Temps = _____ Distance, _____stable, _____ Glide
Colder Temps = _____ Distance, _____stable, _____ Glide

Higher Humidity = _____ Distance, _____stable, _____ Glide
Lower Humidty = _____ Distance, _____stable, _____ Glide



If you have some scientific basis for your feedback or additional links and/or references, that would be a "nice to have", but just completing the six lines above would be VERY helpful. TIA!
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:57 PM
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I can help with humidity. In my experience, higher humidity makes discs fly shorter distances, more understable, and with more glide.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:17 PM
jtencer jtencer is offline
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I believe that the air density is really the parameter that matters and that Temperature, Altitude (pressure), and Humidity each just effect the density.

More Dense: Less Distance More Understable Less Glide
Less Dense: More Distance More Overstable More Glide

Basically the stability is a function of lift (more lift = more turn) and glide is somewhat a function of drag but not entirely. The distance stat may not be consistent for all people and all throws but does seem to hold true for me and also for the distance comp people.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtencer View Post
I believe that the air density is really the parameter that matters and that Temperature, Altitude (pressure), and Humidity each just effect the density.

More Dense: Less Distance More Understable Less Glide
Less Dense: More Distance More Overstable More Glide

Basically the stability is a function of lift (more lift = more turn) and glide is somewhat a function of drag but not entirely. The distance stat may not be consistent for all people and all throws but does seem to hold true for me and also for the distance comp people.
Yeah, this is pretty much the case. However, I would say that more dense has more glide and less dense has less glide. However, the discs still won't go as far when the air is dense because the effective speed of the disc is lower.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:22 PM
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The only difference I have really found in terms of elevation is that the disc is slightly more overstable. Distance and glide seem to stay the same. (I live and play mostly at ~5000', but rountinely play mountain courses of 9,000'+ in the summer. My family lives in TX where the elevation is about 800'.)

Temperature really tweaks things. Cold makes the disc less stable, less glide, and less distance. (Summers 90-100 consistantly, winters 20-40 consistantly)

Humidity I can't really speak to because the humidity comes with the elevation and temperature change as well.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtencer View Post
I believe that the air density is really the parameter that matters and that Temperature, Altitude (pressure), and Humidity each just affect the density.
^ this makes sense, although I don't know for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtencer View Post
More Dense: Less Distance More Understable Less Glide
Less Dense: More Distance More Overstable More Glide
^ This seems to be what I've observed, but again, I'm not sure about all the science behind it. I would think that as air density increases, the disc gets more "bite" on it, so it discs are beahve with less stability as air density increases. Also, the denser air seems to slow discs down faster ( greater drag), resulting in less distance. Hard to discern how much distance is from "glide."

I can say I achieve greater distance with the same disc in significantly warmer weather. Not sure if a few degrees makes a difference, but 30-40 degree reduction in temp degrees ceratinly reduces overall distance.

Last edited by BogeyNoMore; 02-13-2013 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5QU166Y View Post
Yeah, this is pretty much the case. However, I would say that more dense has more glide and less dense has less glide. However, the discs still won't go as far when the air is dense because the effective speed of the disc is lower.
Glide is essentially a "parachute affect" where air under the flightplate helps to counteract the pull of gravity. With less dense air, there is less to hold it up.

As for distance, I would think it depends on the disc. Overstable discs need a lot of airflow to stay flat, so with less dense air, they presumably would hyzer out more quickly. However, an understable disc that tends to flip quickly in dense air, may be more resistant to turn, holding a longer flight line. So a person's max distance will probably end up being the same, it just might take different discs to achieve that distance.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogeyNoMore View Post

I can say I achieve greater distance with the same disc in significant;y warmer weather. Not sure if a few degrees makes a difference, but 30-40degree reduction in temp degrees ceratinly reduces overall distance.
And it's also really tough to separate out the actual difference in disc flight from the issues that come with throwing in cold weather like poor grip, poor footing, tight muscles and extra layers.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogeyNoMore View Post
This seems to be what I've observed, but again, I'm not sure about all the science behind it. I would think that as air density increase, the disc gets more "bite" on it, almost like throwing it faster) and denser air would slow the disc down faster, resulting in less distance. Hard to discern how much distance is from "glide."
Discs are designed to cut through the air. Even in dense air, resistance has a negligible effect on speed.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradharris View Post
Discs are designed to cut through the air. Even in dense air, resistance has a negligible effect on speed.
Nonetheless, air resistance is the primary force that will decelerate a disc until it finally hits the ground. Isn't that why we refer to high speed turn vs. low speed fade? The disc is going slower at the end of flight because the wind resistance has reduced the initial velocity.... how negligible can it be?

Or do you mean air density has a negilbe effect on wind resistance? Seems more plausible to me.

Last edited by BogeyNoMore; 02-13-2013 at 02:41 PM.
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