In my understanding the afterbody is everything trailing behind the nose of the craft excluding the wings and fuselage, and will thus include the empanage.

What exaclty is meant by the afterbody?

  • $\begingroup$ aftbody or afterbody? $\endgroup$ May 25, 2014 at 10:52

2 Answers 2


Each vessel, whether land, sea, or air, should (might) have a defined afterbody. The afterbody is defined as:

The afterpart of a vehicle; The part of a vessel abaft midships; A companion body that trails a satellite or spacecraft; A section or piece of a launch vehicle, rocket, or spacecraft that enters the atmosphere unprotected behind the nose cone or other body that is protected for entry

and Merriam-Webster Online defines it as:

: the after part of a body: such as
a : the part of a ship abaft midships
b : the bottom portion of a seaplane hull or float aft of the main step

To show you, visually, an easy to see set of examples, consider the following pictures of floatplanes (seaplanes):

Flying boat 1 Flying boat 2 Flying boat 3

In the first and second images, the afterbody is that part of the aircraft behind the step, which is the little 'notch' or, well, 'step' just behind the main wheels. In the third picture, the afterbody is everything after the step, which is the more steeply angled section under the wings. The step is generally just aft of the center of gravity of the plane.

Generally speaking, if one were to discuss the afterbody of a large airliners, such as the Airbus A380, the afterbody would be the fuselage from the wings back, but not including the tail (where the rudder and elevators are.) I could not find any Airbus references to 'afterbody' however. I did find some references to the afterbody of a Boeing 787, being that part of the plane behind the pressurized cabin, which is the very back of the plane, including the tail.

Not a very good solid definition where everyone agrees, sorry.

  • $\begingroup$ Well it does clear things up a little, thank you for the thorough answer. $\endgroup$
    – Jonny
    May 25, 2014 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ On an airliner I would expect that the afterbody is the conical part aft of the cylindrical fuselage section. Whether that includes the tail surfaces is questionable. I would prefer to use other words. $\endgroup$ May 25, 2014 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ I agree it is a very loosely defined term. The paper I am reading on fuselage design is constantly referring to 'afterbody' without ever defining it anywhere. The work was done by and for McDonnell Douglas so maybe they have a specific definition for it. $\endgroup$
    – Jonny
    May 26, 2014 at 5:48

A very good answer I got from user Andries on Eng-Tips Forum:

"The afterbody is the rear section of the fuselage. The airflow in this region is often turbulent and afterbody design therefore has quite significant drag reduction issues . In many jet aircraft the afterbody contains the jet exhausts and their effect adds to the complexity of the design of this part of the fuselage."


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