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Many people across the world know badminton as an outdoor sport that you can play in your backyard with your friends and family and is often perceived as a slow paced and low impact sport. However, we at BadmintonBites advocate indoor badminton as the world’s fastest racket sport and want to break the perception of badminton as an “easy” sport. A big part of this misconception is because it is difficult, if not impossible, to play a serious game outdoors because of increased environmental factors – with wind being the biggest. While we love indoor badminton because of the controlled environment, outdoor badminton is available to a larger audience due to its lower cost and higher accessibility as indoor space may be difficult to find. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) recognized this problem and came to innovate a new shuttlecock that they found to have the best resistance to wind and could give the best outdoor experience – they called it the AirShuttle.

The AirShuttle is a specially designed shuttlecock by BWF that has increased durability, stability, and wind resistance and is used to play AirBadminton. The AirShuttle was developed from 2015 to 2018 and was the product of over 30 prototypes that were tested rigorously. These prototypes were tested in independent studies at the University of Alicante and the University of Malaya using groups ranging from complete beginners to Olympic level athletes. The prototype with the best results became the AirShuttle, and BWF officially introduced it to the world in March 2020.

AirShuttles and AirShuttle Case Standing
AirShuttles

If you’re interested in more in-depth AirBadminton material, we have other posts you would definitely want to check out.

Why is it Called an AirShuttle?

AirShuttle is a trademark name owned by BWF and is named that way to follow the same naming pattern as AirBadminton, which is the official name of the sport. Having “Air” in front of AirBadminton and AirShuttle emphasize that the sport and shuttlecock refer to an outdoor version of badminton since the outdoors typically has more wind – hence the “Air”.

What are the Dimensions of an AirShuttle?

Diameter (in) Height (in) Height of Base (in) Height of Skirt (in) 
AirShuttle2.62.80.82
Synthetic Shuttlecock2.63.30.92.3
Feathered Shuttlecock2.53.512.5
Diameter (cm) Height (cm) Height of Base (cm) Height of Skirt (cm) 
AirShuttle6.771.95.1
Synthetic Shuttlecock6.78.42.35.8
Feathered Shuttlecock6.48.92.56.4

The AirShuttle’s diameter is the same width as a synthetic shuttlecock’s and is 15% shorter in height.

The AirShuttle’s diameter is 4% larger than the feathered shuttlecock’s but is 20% shorter in height.

AirShuttle, Synthetic Shuttlecock, and Feathered Shuttlecock
AirShuttle, Synthetic Shuttlecock, and Feathered Shuttlecock

Interestingly, you’ll notice that the AirShuttle is the smallest of the shuttlecocks but is also the heaviest (at 0.30 ounces (8.50 grams)), making it the most dense. This is all part of its design to make it the best for outdoor play.

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How Heavy is an AirShuttle?

An AirShuttle is 0.30 ounces (8.50 grams), which is significantly heavier (58 to 77% heavier!) than standard feathered and synthetic shuttlecocks which weigh between 0.17 and 0.19 ounces (4.75 and 5.50 grams). The AirShuttle is heavier in order to be more wind resistant since wind is usually a big factor when playing outdoors and can make or break a good experience. According to BWF, the AirShuttle is able to withstand wind conditions up to 7.5 mph (12 kph), making it able to withstand most light breezes (which feathered and synthetic shuttlecocks can’t). By being more wind resistant, the AirShuttle allows players to play in windier conditions than feathered and synthetic shuttlecocks would while still giving a good experience. Because of this, the AirShuttle is by far the best shuttlecock for outdoor use.

What is an AirShuttle Made Of?

BWF said that they will release the details of the AirShuttle material once they have locked in a manufacturer but as of November 2020, we have not seen any updates. However, from the prototypes and what we can tell of the AirShuttles that are currently sold, the skirt is made of polypropylene and nylon while the base is made of nanofoam. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms “skirt” and “base”, we made an easy to understand but thorough post exactly on this in What are the Parts of a Badminton Birdie?. We even sacrificed some birdies by cutting it apart to show you exactly what it looks on the inside, so check it out!

Polypropylene is a tough and recyclable plastic that can actually be found in many household products, such as utensils, rugs, and even batteries. Polypropylene is best known for being light and yet extremely durable, making it ideal to be used in the AirShuttle.

AirShuttle Skirt
AirShuttle Skirt
AirShuttle Base Down
AirShuttle Base
AirShuttle Base Up
AirShuttle Base

How is an AirShuttle Made?

AirShuttles are made using a technique called injection moulding. In essence, polypropylene, the plastic the AirShuttle’s skirt is made of, is melted and inserted into a mold and then cooled. Once it is cooled, the plastic is ready to be used as part of the AirShuttle’s assembly. While it sounds fairly simple, injection moulding is actually quite a complicated process. If you’re interested, you can learn more in this informative video.

What Racket and Strings Should I Use With the AirShuttle?

We recommend playing with spare badminton rackets and thick strings such as the BG-65. While AirBadminton was designed to be played with any badminton racket, we recommend using your less expensive rackets and thick strings to play this sport as the equipment is more susceptible to hard surfaces (if you play on grass or streets) and the AirShuttle is fairly heavy. A dropped racket can be scratched easily and thin strings would break even faster against the heavier AirShuttle.

How Does the AirShuttle Affect My String Tension?

Since the AirShuttle is heavier than regular feathered or synthetic shuttlecock, racket strings are easier to break when striking it. BWF understands this, and recommends players to use string tension between 17.5 and 20 lbs (8 and 9 kg)for all players on their AirBadminton equipment page. The lower string tension is recommended as it gives the strings more slack which is more appropriate for the heavier AirShuttle, allowing the strings to last longer.

In comparison, most badminton players use string tensions higher than 20 lbs (9 kg), which you can see why in What Badminton String Tension Should I Use?. Don’t be fooled into using your regular badminton rackets that are strung at higher tensions to play AirBadminton as that is a recipe for broken strings and possibly even rackets! Remember, the AirShuttle is up to 77% heavier than synthetic and feathered shuttlecocks – which is a BIG difference – so you can’t treat them the same.

What’s the Difference Between an AirShuttle and a Feathered or Synthetic Shuttlecock?

Besides its weight (which we covered above), the AirShuttle differs from feathered and synthetic shuttlecocks in its design. It has 5 pillars supporting its skirt that also connect to its base. This makes it so the skirt of the AirShuttle is not actually uniform like in feathered and synthetic shuttlecocks as the pillars have more material – and therefore are more dense – than the other parts of the skirt. Although not uniform, the skirt is symmetric, which makes it so it doesn’t wobble.

The AirShuttle also tends to fly more horizontally than feathered and synthetic shuttlecocks due to its weight and better wind resistance. This is why the AirBadminton court is longer than regular badminton courts and also includes a dead zone. If you’re wondering, AirBadminton courts are 52.5 ft (16 m) long while regular badminton courts are 44 ft (13.4 m). This makes AirBadminton courts 8.5 ft (2.6 m) longer than regular badminton courts – a 19% increase! We have all sort of insights like these in our posts What are the Dimensions of a Badminton Court? and What are the Dimensions of an AirBadminton Court? – make sure to check them out!

Deconstructed Synthetic Shuttlecock, Feathered Shuttlecock, and AirShuttle Top View
Deconstructed Synthetic Shuttlecock, Feathered Shuttlecock, and AirShuttle

Where Can I Buy the AirShuttle?

The AirShuttle is available in many places online, most notably AirShuttle.one, which is a dedicated AirBadminton and AirShuttle webshop. While they ship to many places in the world, they mainly only have free shipping to countries in Europe as of 2020. See their most up to date shipping information in their FAQ. In the United States and Canada, you can buy the AirShuttle from Amazon and Yumo Pro Shop for convenience.


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