Like so many great ideas, the Arizona E-Z Fletch “true helical” fletching tool was an idea that came from elsewhere but applied perfectly to the task at hand. In this case, believe it or not, it came from three NASA engineers who were attempting to win a model rocket competition by launching their model to the highest altitude.
As rocket scientists, they understood that the faster a model rocket stabilized at takeoff, the higher it could go. In real life, if a rocket is unstable at takeoff, it may never stabilize, given the extreme and constant thrust applied. So, in their world, stabilization is absolutely crucial.
This understanding led the scientists to the fins on the model rocket, which exist to stabilize the rocket. Model rocket fins, just like the vanes on your arrows, attach at an angle to produce spin, which in turn helps to stabilize the rocket. This technique is commonly called “helical.” As wind catches the angled fins or vanes, it forces the projectile (rocket or arrow) to spin. This spinning, just as with a bullet that’s fired out of a rifle barrel or with a football that’s thrown in a spiral, lends gyroscopic stability to the projectile, which prevents it from tumbling.
All of the competitions’ model rockets had these straight helical fins. What the rocket scientists knew was that a curved fin is stronger and creates more torque in flight. So, they curved or cupped the previously straight fins, making them true helical fins. And their model rocket, because it stabilized more quickly, went higher.
Again, like with so many great ideas, the twist was simple but profound.
The fact is, the word helix is derived from a greek word that means “twisted” or “curved.” So, in truth, the competitors’ fins were angled and not curved (straight helical) so weren’t actually true helicals.
Hearing this story, Arizona E-Z Fletch applied the same concept to attaching vanes to arrows, something nobody else does, either at the factory or aftermarket. It doesn’t require special vanes, only a specially designed fletching tool. That tool is the Arizona E-Z Fletch Mini or Bolt model.