It can get pretty annoying when your flights keep popping off the stems when you’re trying to play a game a darts, so in this article I’ve got 8 things to try if you’re struggling to keep your flights on your darts.
The Quick Answer
The best way to prevent dart flights falling off the stems is to use a flight punch and stem ring to lock the flight in-place. L-style flights are also less prone to falling off the stem compared to folded flights. Replacing the flights frequently will also prevent them falling off too easily.
Make Sure the Flight is Pushed on Properly
Most new players don’t actually push the flight onto the dart properly and this is typically the most common reason why the flight will pop off the stem quite easily.
When you are pushing the flight onto the stem, first locate the slots on the stem and line them up with the flight folds. Next, push the stem into the flight making sure you are holding the flight firmly. You should ensure the flight is pushed in as far as it can go on the stem to make sure it stays on there.
Replace Your Flights with a New Set
Damaged and worn-out dart flights will fall off the stem much more easily than newer flights. New flights are more rigid and sturdy so will have a tighter grip around the stem so they stay in place. When you play darts, your flights are likely to get pretty battered by incoming darts, depending on how closely you group your darts together.
You’ll need to replace your dart flights every few weeks if you are practicing most days. Professionals sometimes replace their dart flights several times within a match to ensure they’re in the best condition. Not only do new flights stay on the stems better, but they also ensure the dart travels through the air in as true a form as possible to make sure your darts are more accurate.
Once the new flight is in place, don’t keep removing it. The more times you remove the flight and put it back on the stem, the more worn out it will become and the looser the fit will be, causing it to fall off more easily.
Use Flight Protectors
Flight protectors will help to shield your flights from incoming darts and are used primarily to prevent robin hoods (when another dart becomes lodged in a dart which is already in the board). However, they are also very useful for keeping your flights on the stems. They work in two-ways to do this.
Firstly, the flight protectors prevent your flights getting damaged as much from incoming darts, and as we discussed in the previous point, damaged flights tend to fall off the stem more easily. Also, the flight protectors are pushed onto the end of the flight and help to lock them into place.
The good news is that flight protectors are very inexpensive. Check out this set of flight protectors on Amazon.
Image links to Amazon
Try L-Style Flights
L-style and other types of moulded flights are not only more durable than standard folded flights, but they also make it less likely for the flight to fall off the stem. Again, they are thicker and more durable than standard folded flights so you will not need to keep replacing them to ensure they stay on the stems.
The main advantage of the L-style flight system is that they have built-in caps where the stem is joined to the cap which locks them into place. This massively reduces the risk of the flight falling out and also helps to prevent robin hoods from occurring.
Check out my article comparing moulded and folded dart flights to learn more.
Here’s a quick YouTube video to show how L-style flights are attached to the stem.
Looking to find the best dart flight shape to improve your game? Check out my complete guide to flight shapes to learn everything you need to know.
Use Stem Rings
Stem rings are one of the best tools to help keep dart flights on the stem and prevent them from falling off. Stem rings clamp the flight down so that it stays in place. Simply remove the flight, place the ring on the stem, put the flight on the stem and then push the ring over the part where the flight and stem connect.
There are 4 main types of stem rings:
- Rubber O-rings
- Standard metal stem ring
- Springs (coiled stem ring)
- Slot stem rings (crowns, shaft caps or shell locks)
|Stem Ring Type
|Will stretch out
Easy to lose
|Easy to lose
Stable and sturdy
|Prone to robin hoods
|Good design options
|Lengthens the stem
Images link to Amazon
Punch Your Flights
If you are using a nylon stem and folded flight, then flight punches are a great way to help keep your flights on the stems.
Flight punches are very inexpensive and easy to use, you simply line your flight up with the punch (when it is not folded) and then press the flight punch down to make a hole at the bottom of the flight where it connects to the stem. Then you place a stem ring into the flight itself and then push the flight into the stem. This locks the flight in place and makes it very unlikely for it to pop out.
If you’re interested in trying this option, check out this Unicorn Flight Punch on Amazon for an easy and effectively solution to the problem.
Check out this YouTube video to see how a flight punch works.
Take a look at my article on punched flights to learn about all the pros and cons.
Try Different Shafts
Some dart stems (shafts) are grippier than others and will lock in the flight more firmly, whereas others tend to have a looser fit and smoother material which makes the flights prone to falling out.
Metal stems made from either aluminium or tungsten usually grip onto the flights better than nylon stems which are more likely to let the flight fall out. Take a look at my article on the best stem material to learn about the pros and cons of each type.
Most stems have a “push-in” mechanism for the flight but some stems have different designs such as the Unicorn Slick Stick wraps around the flight itself to help keep it in place. These are a good option to try if you don’t want to use any of the other methods on this list.
If your stems are quite worn then the flights are more likely to pop out. If you’ve have your stems for longer than you can remember and you can see visible wear and tear where the flight slots in then it may be time to get a new set.
Use Spinning Stems
One of the main causes for flights popping off the dart’s stem is when another dart hits them when they are already in the board. Spinning shafts make it so the flights are less likely to get damaged by other darts and hence, will not need replacing as often, but they also are less likely to ping off the stem when they’re hit because the spinning motion will relieve a lot of the impact.
Check out my complete guide to spinning stems to learn more about the pros and cons.
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