It’s been over a year since rebranding as “Firenock: The Science of Archery” and we’ve learned a lot about how best to share our products with our customers. Most importantly, we’ve learned that most who want the best are willing to take the time to learn from and about the best. Therefore, welcome to this new education. Here, we’ve broken down the foundational, key points of arrow flight—AeroFlight.
How does an arrow fly? Everyone at Firenock learned basically immediately that that is truly the million dollar question. For whether you’re a recreational or competitive archer, how your arrow flies, or more specifically, how to ensure your arrow flies where you want it to, is what matters the most. And while the list of factors that that perfect flight depends on is quite long, this page should clarify the most important ones.
What matters before launch?
The factor that matters the most before launch is something called the null point or “node”. The node of an arrow is the unique point where no vertical or horizontal (axes shown in green above) movement occurs at initial launch. But  how do you find it,  why should you find it, and  what do you do with it after you find it?
- Loosely hold a complete arrow by its nock end and knock it on a hard surface from a few inches from the front of the shaft until you hear a solid shift in tone. The arrow should also bounce less.
- Your arrow rest should match up with the node when you pull back. That way, there will be a minimal chance of your arrow skewing away from true center at initial launch.
- To take full advantage of your arrow’s inherited null point, use it when turning your archery set-up today.
What does the path or trajectory of an average arrow look like?
The trajectory of flight for a standard arrow looks like the diagram above. After leaving your bow, your arrow flies on a parabolic path. It also will usually stick your target at an acute angle. Below, we’ve included the trajectory of flight for an identical set-up, but for an arrow equipped with the AeroConcept System. Learn more about what that means on the AeroComponent page.
What happens (if anything) to that arrow during flight?
Consider this—your arrow oscillates during flight. And during this oscillation process, a lot of energy is lost. This is because the shot arrow, as any object with energy, needs to reach an equilibrium.
Pictured to the right, the ideal arrow motion scenario (and unfortunately the one most believe to always be the case) is a linear flex through a center point where the first and second dynamic bend are 180 degrees from one another. This would result in the expense of the minimum amount of elastic energy lost. Further, even if it was to flex in a parabolic motion, the true center of the shaft would always be maintained.
Unfortunately however, such a scenario is “ideal,” even a perfectly extruded aluminum arrow which homogeneous material and a linear spine would not move in this fashion. To reach that “equilibrium,” an arrow actually sporadically flexes and bends during flight.
Exactly how sporadic an arrow’s movement during oscillation depends on several factors. To the right, we’ve broken down the three central motions that occur during flight. Note that all motions happen simultaneously.
- A linear flex results in the deformation of the center of the arrow from round to elliptical, and many cases off-center elliptical.
- A circular longitudinal arrow flex results in both ends of the arrow flexing in opposite directions, which is known as torsion
- An off center rotation that follows a parabolic path that results in fluttering of the arrow shaft during flight.