23
$\begingroup$

We are most familiar with under wing fuel tanks, has any operational aircraft ever used over wing fuel tanks?

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What has the picture to do with your question, are you asking if this is an over wing fuel tank aircraft? $\endgroup$ – Mast Jan 8 '18 at 12:04
41
$\begingroup$

Early aircraft designs used gravity feed to supply the engines with fuel. All those designs had their tanks located above the wing, and in biplanes in the center of the upper wing. The picture below (source) shows an Etrich Taube with the cylindric fuel tank mounted above the fuselage.

Etrich Taube

The next application of overwing tanks were "Doppelreiter" fuel tanks (slipper fuel tanks) which were used on some German fighter airplanes in WW II. They were mounted above and behind the wing, and to everyone's surprise they had little impact on the top speed of the airplanes, and in case of the Me-309 helped to increase it slightly. They were the first practical application of Küchemann carrots and worked much like the flap track fairings of today's airliners.

FW-190 A with Doppelreiter tanks

FW-190 A with Doppelreiter tanks.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Great research! Very interesting. $\endgroup$ – jwzumwalt Jan 6 '18 at 12:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Peter Kämpf "They were mounted above and behind the wing, and to everyone's surprise they had little impact on the top speed of the airplanes, and in case of the Me-309 helped to increase it slightly" How is it aerodynamically possible? Positively stunning anyway. $\endgroup$ – qq jkztd Jan 6 '18 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ @qqjkztd: Area ruling is the answer. At that time, nobody knew of it, so the effect cam as a surprise. $\endgroup$ – Peter Kämpf Jan 6 '18 at 20:49
35
$\begingroup$

Both the Typhoon and English Electric Lightning used over the wing fuel tanks as standard equipment for many years. There may have been others.

enter image description here English Electric Lightning

enter image description here Typhoon (with conforming tanks)

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Seen for Electric Lightening, but for the Typhoon? Seem more like conformal fuel tank(s)... $\endgroup$ – Kanchu Jan 6 '18 at 19:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "Lightening" means "getting lighter". You mean "lightning": electrical discharge during storms. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Jan 6 '18 at 21:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The Typhoons fuel tanks in the picture are conformal fuel tanks, not overwing fuel tanks - the F-16 and F-15 also use conformal fuel tanks. The Typhoons conformal fuel tanks are also not in operation, they are still under development. $\endgroup$ – Moo Jan 7 '18 at 1:02
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I was just thinking, for the many non-expert but who-doesn't-love-planes readers of this site .... you blokes should just include one word under photos like that, letting the reader know which photo is which. (Probably just "too obvious!" to you!) $\endgroup$ – Fattie Jan 7 '18 at 14:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, note that the name of the manufacturer is "English Electric". It's "the Lightning, made by English Electric", not "the Lightning, an English plane made by Electric." $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Jan 8 '18 at 12:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.