I often notice people who throw with crushed flights. By crushed, I mean that the flight is not fully opened. They look more like an ‘x’ than a ‘+’. I typically witness this from people who leave their flights on and squish their darts flat into a dart wallet, or they have a dart case which does not protect their flights, or their flights are very old and they need replacing, etc.
Long ago, I read an article on the Unicorn website that mentioned that a flight loses about 20% of its air flow efficiency when it is in an ‘x’ shape (vs ‘+’ shape). Regardless of the actual percentage, what is important to me is knowing that the ‘+’ shape is the optimal shape required for a flight to properly do its job.
A new set of regular flights will stay in the ‘+’ shape in the beginning. But in time, they’ll start migrating to the ‘x’ shape unless you spread them back open with your fingers. I’ve found installing flight protectors when the flights are new, helps the flights keep their ‘+’ shape longer.
Nowadays, I use the champagne flights from L-Style. What I like about them is that they keep their ‘+’ shape for a long time, without the need for flight protectors or help from my fingers.
I am stickler for little details like this. Having my flights consistently in the ‘+’ shape may not make me a better player, but it does add an element of equipment consistency, which is a good thing.