Old 02-20-2014, 09:34 AM
chadair chadair is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Years Playing: 6.6
Courses Played: 32
Throwing Style: RHBH
Posts: 65
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Hey I can do a better job explaining my point...

Selecting the disc angle of attack (nose up/down relative to the air flowing over it) is more than just finding the angle with the lowest drag. There has to be adequate lift to keep the disc in the air. Drag is lowest at a 4 degree nose down angle because there is zero lift at that angle... but that's not all a disc needs, it also needs lift. The forces of lift and drag should be balanced over the course of the entire flight to maximize distance.

The master's thesis referenced in the blog has a good discussion about how angle of attack changes throughout a disc's flight, resulting in more lift as the disc slows down and settles to the ground, thereby extending flight. A perfect throw has all these aerodynamic forces working just right.

The paper studied an ultimate disc- basically a large putter, where there isn't the same advantage to throwing nose-down. With high speed disc golf drivers, the aerodynamics are such that a slight nose-down angle still has a positive lift coefficient. Even though the lift coefficient is very small, the forward velocity is very high, resulting in adequate lift to counteract gravity.

Interesting scientific rabbit trail here.
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