I have already been searching Google for the difference between an aileron and a flap, but I am not much satisfied, so now I am asking here on SE.

What is the difference between an aileron and flap? Especially, how do they differ in their shape and position?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Just to confuse things a bit, some planes have "flaperons", that combine the functions of flaps and ailerons. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2019 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ Really, @Man? I googled flap vs aileron and it came up with this detailed Wikipedia page. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_control_surfaces $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Oct 23, 2019 at 17:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Zero research effort. What is the difference between a wheel and a tail? $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2019 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


An Aileron is used to control the roll of an aircraft. Ailerons are found on the trailing edge of the wing, typically closer to the wing tip. Ailerons will move in opposite directions to each other, as one goes up, the other goes down.

Flaps are used to increase the amount of lift that a wing produces by increasing the camber and surface area of the wing. Typically they are located near the root of the wing. Flaps on each wing are moved together, both extend and retract at the same rate.

Flaps are generally more complex depending on type. The basic flaps will just pivot down from the lower edge of the wing. Modern airliners have a fowler flap which both pivots down and extends back from the lower edge of the wing.


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