Flight archery does not require targets. Flight Archery is all about seeing how far you can shoot an arrow.
Flight is the home of the mad scientists of archery. The tinkerers, the experimenters, the dreamers. Bows for flight have been compared to Grand Prix racing cars or drag racers. The dedicated Flight bow is not built for reliability or durability. Its built to throw an arrow as far as is physically possible with no consideration for the future! This bow will be tuned and refined right to the edge of catastrophic failure. The limbs will be stressed to the limit, strings with as few strands as possible for speed and arrows hand-made and relentlessly fiddled with for aerodynamic perfection. Many of the wildly bizarre experiments especially limb shape and composition have found their way into mainstream target archery especially through companies like Border Bows whose Hex and CV range of limbs have radically recurved tips and use aerospace composite materials although may not be as stable as more conservatively configured limbs.
In competitions there is no need spending all day shooting 144 arrows as only one arrow is going to count – the furthest one. In the USA, only one end of six arrows is shot in any one Class. You don’t get sighters. You walk to the line, shoot what is effectively one end and then go find your arrows. British Flight Archery Competition consists of four rounds of 6 arrows and an archer can shoot in up to four classes. Although this doesn’t sound much, by the time everyone has walked up to find their arrows and marked the furthest arrow, the competition can result in a very long day.
How far can you shoot an arrow? The furthest distance shot with any bow is 2,047 yards (1,871.84m). This was shot in 1988 using a crossbow. The furthest with a hand-held – and pulled – bow is 1,336 yds 1′ 3″ (1,222.01m) , shot by Don Brown with an unlimited conventional Flight bow in 1987. (2018 records)
Live in Glasgow and having trouble visualising 1,222m? Think of standing at the motorway end of Sauchiehall street and dropping your arrow into the John Lewis store in the Buchanan Galleries.
Although any archer with a bow can shoot flight and there are categories for target archers rather than specialists, its pretty difficult to find a big enough area to allow flight archers to go wild. To practice your art you need somewhere like Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. This is a perfect location for flight as highlighted by these interesting articles from The Salt Lake Tribune (their archive is acting up so here are the links from google – the top two articles). Competitions you can imagine, are not very numerous in the cramped UK but they do happen.