Can there be an aircraft (not an airplane like in this other question) without wings and stabs (rudders and elevators)?

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    $\begingroup$ Very briefly... $\endgroup$
    – Sanchises
    Aug 10, 2018 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! I don't really understand your question, do you have a picture or some reference that will show us what you're asking? This question might help. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Aug 10, 2018 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ Unless you consider fan blades to be wings: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Landing_Research_Vehicle $\endgroup$ Aug 10, 2018 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ This might be relevant too. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Aug 10, 2018 at 21:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @fooot Aircraft are a superset of airplanes, so the question is not a duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – Pilothead
    Aug 11, 2018 at 0:34

3 Answers 3


There are lots of aircraft that fly without wings and control surfaces.

enter image description here



Sure can. Balloons do it all the time. For a heavier than air aircraft, there a a couple of options.

Lifting body using a reaction system for stability and control. Here the fuselage itself creates the lifting force and the aircraft would use a flight computer to control the craft and maneuver it using a reaction control system. This can consist of thrust vectoring from the engines or separate thrusters, similar to those found on a spacecraft to control roll, pitch and yaw motion.

Another option is a pure powered lift arrangement ie a rocket belt or similar craft which can direct its lift engines to hold it aloft and to propel it forward.


No, aircraft do not need wings or stabilizers. However, they are very desirable for takeoff and landings.

enter image description here
This is an example of an unmanned aircraft without wings or stabilizer. It could just as easily be manned.

enter image description here
This is another example of a manned aircraft without wings.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I didn't downvote, but those little fins are stabilizers... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Aug 11, 2018 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ The second rocket you posted (Saturn V) actually has stabilization fins at the bottom of the first stage. But there are rockets which stabilize their trajectory with vernier thrusters and engine gimbal only. $\endgroup$
    – Philipp
    Aug 12, 2018 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ Rocket doesn't really fit the definition of aircraft. $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2018 at 16:06

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