Now I've heard that passenger airliners do not generally have airbrakes , and simply use their spoilers as airbrakes since they can perform the same function.

Are there any major jets that use speedbrakes (by major I mean widely used by countries or airlines, and it must be a passenger jet)

  • $\begingroup$ Possible Duplicate: For large jets, what is the primary means of slowing down after landing? $\endgroup$
    – Farhan
    Oct 30, 2014 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ You understand that a spoiler is essentially a type of airbrake, right? It's just specifically one that also reduces lift. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Oct 31, 2014 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JonStory as you pointed out, they're not the same. Spoilers reduces lift (vertical force), thus if a pilot wishes to maintain vertical speed, AoA has to be increased. When AoA increases, drag increases. Airbrakes increases drag directly by countering the forward momentum of the aircraft. I believe that's what the OP is asking. $\endgroup$
    – kevin
    Nov 2, 2014 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ Airbrakes also reduce lift (vertical force) - when your aircraft slows down, it reduces lift.... the Spoiler has lift reduction as a primary function with reduction in airspeed secondary, whereas an airbrake is the reverse: the essential point remains that both reduce lift and airspeed. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Nov 2, 2014 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


Yes (for some values of major)

BAE 146
Adrian Pingstone

Fokker 70
(c) Harm Rutten

  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure if thrust reversers (2nd picture) would count as conventional airbrakes. $\endgroup$
    – yankeekilo
    Oct 30, 2014 at 14:54
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @yankeekilo: redirect your gaze to the rearmost point of the Fokker 70 fuselage. $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2014 at 14:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hehe, talk of human factors... I was browsing on my smartphone on the go and only registered the reversers :D $\endgroup$
    – yankeekilo
    Oct 30, 2014 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @yankeekilo. Actually Concorde used to use its reversers as airbrakes during the descent. $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2014 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ @vectorVictor Very interesting! That would sure merit an answer if not for the demise of the Concorde program. $\endgroup$
    – yankeekilo
    Oct 31, 2014 at 9:35

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