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My current kart has a groundspeed of 3/6 and an airspeed of 3/6. I'm assuming this means my top speed is the same for when on land and while gliding. Therefore, it would make sense that it doesn't matter whether I take an air path or a ground path.

So, the question is: in places where there's a glide section and a ground section that share the same path, and your airspeed and groundspeed are equal, is it better to keep the glide going for as long as possible, or to dive for the ground and cut it short? Does it matter at all? A good example of the situation would be the forest section of Rock Rock Mountain/Alpine Pass.

A more interesting situation occurs in DK Jungle - there's a gliding section above a water section. My kart has a waterspeed of 4/6. It doesn't feel like I save any time by diving into the water (or stowing the glider) instead of gliding over it, but maybe that's due to the angle I dive at or something. In theory is it even possible for it to help?

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I wish we got more of this kind of question. – StrixVaria Jan 15 '12 at 2:53

If your air speed is equal to another speed, it's usually better to stay in the air. This is because you can cut hills or turns that you can't while on land or water. For example, take this crude diagram:

Figure 1

Here, Player A (red) jumps off and glides far, landing farther up on the hill. Player B (blue) jumps off and dives quickly, landing lower on the hill. Player A landed farther up the hill, having a large advantage over Player B.

A good example of a situation of this is the first jump in Rock Rock Mountain. Just after the jump, there's a hill that slowly goes up. It's better to glide as far as possible to land as far up the hill as possible.

Also, this holds true in situations like this:

Figure 2

(That blue... thing is supposed to be a flight ramp.)

Here, the grass is cuttable by flying over it, rather than just hitting the ground.

Even with these things, sometimes taking the land route is still the better option. For example, flying through a walled canyon with turns is pointless, since there no flight advantage, and it's better to get the mini-turbo boosts from ground travel.

To sum it up: generally, the shortest route is the fastest, unless there's a very large difference between land/air/water stats.

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Makes sense, but missing a few variables. The first diagram only demonstrates where they land, not where they would be after a certain speed (assuming that fall speed is greater than glide speed), but does depend on the angle of the ramp, which would differ repeatedly. – Domocus Jan 16 '12 at 2:11
@Domocus: Running various tests on Rock Rock Mountain consistently yielded the same results. In each case, gliding was faster if all other variables (like coin count) were the same. As for the ramp angle, it seemed to make little difference based on the tests I did comparing Rock Rock Mountain and Music Park. – Alexis King Jan 16 '12 at 4:01

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