Questions tagged [wing]

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94 votes
15 answers
19k views

Are wings any more efficient at creating lift, versus orienting the engine's thrust downwards?

As I understood from this article, wings on an airplane basically create lift by pushing air down. Maintaining the lift force expends energy because air needs to be continually accelerated downwards. ...
user9037's user avatar
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73 votes
4 answers
85k views

What is the purpose of the sharp pods under airliner wings?

What are the pods with the sharp trailing edges underneath the wings of large airliners, as shown in the image below? My best guess would be fuel tanks
Jonny's user avatar
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67 votes
12 answers
50k views

How do wings generate lift?

Just the basic question that every aviation enthusiast must be curious about: exactly how does a wing generate lift?
Jae Carr's user avatar
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64 votes
1 answer
30k views

What are the advantages of a Spinning Wing (Magnus Effect) and why haven't any been commercially produced?

What were the advantages and why was it never produced?
TesterMen Tester's user avatar
56 votes
3 answers
57k views

What's the advantage of the F4U Corsair's gull wing design?

What is the advantage of the F4U Corsair's gull wing design? Is there also a disadvantage to this? The wing design just seems odd, and as far as I know it is one of the only planes to use this design....
user avatar
55 votes
9 answers
57k views

Why are fuel tanks located in wings?

Passenger aircraft have fuel tanks in the wings. Why? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this location ? examples of disadvantages I would suspect: added weight increases the structural ...
summerrain's user avatar
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51 votes
1 answer
6k views

Does anybody recognize these wings?

I was on a tour at the University of Maryland, and I saw these wings sitting against the wall: I asked the guide, and he had no idea. (In case you can't tell these are two wings. The green lines ...
ptgflyer's user avatar
  • 2,156
49 votes
3 answers
21k views

Why does supersonic flight detach airflow from a wing?

I've read in several answers to questions that when a wing passes the speed of sound the airflow will become detached from the craft towards the rear quarter of the wing (thus making things like ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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48 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why does one of the Boeing 777's spoilers deploy differently from the rest?

There is one spoiler that isn't totally deployed. Look: Source: Airliners.net And also on this other picture: Source: Airliners.net Why aren't they deployed at the same angle?
user13197's user avatar
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45 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is the visual artifact seen over the wing from different air densities, a reflection or something else?

I have noticed a strange visual artifact over the wing of a Boeing yesterday. You can see two manifestations of the artifact in the pictures below. The first shows it at the front edge of the wing. ...
Lukas_Skywalker's user avatar
41 votes
13 answers
10k views

Other than a swing wing, what types of variable geometry have flown?

We're well familiar with swing wings, on small and large aircraft from both the east and west. What other types of variable geometry have been tried?
Adam's user avatar
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39 votes
3 answers
25k views

What are these hooks on the A320's wing used for?

I was flying on an A320 (equipped with sharklets) the other day, and I found these hooks on the wing's surface: Note that the single hooked attachment is outside the wing's "DO NOT WALK OUTSIDE THIS ...
shortstheory's user avatar
  • 3,996
37 votes
9 answers
41k views

Why does An-225 have anhedral wings though it is a cargo aircraft?

What are the rationale behind this anhedral high mounted wing configuration? Is that usual for very large carge aircraft?
menjaraz's user avatar
  • 2,435
36 votes
3 answers
13k views

How does an aircraft form wake turbulence?

This question discusses how wake turbulence can affect planes flying in formation. It got me wondering, how do aircraft (the wings in particular) form wake turbulence to begin with? It can't be as ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
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34 votes
5 answers
59k views

What are the advantages of a forward-swept wing over a rearward-swept wing?

What are the advantages of a forward-swept wing vs. a rearward swept one? Image credit: NASA Image credit: Paul Maritz / Wikimedia
flyingfisch's user avatar
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32 votes
6 answers
12k views

Why is it rare for small aircraft to have winglets?

I've noticed that winglets are very rare on small aircraft. I wonder why this is the case. Wouldn't they have the same advantages, especially because they travel at low speed? Or is it just a wrong ...
André Stannek's user avatar
32 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why doesn't the Concorde have any wing fences?

A Wing Fence is a straight, vertical "fence" running from forwards to backwards down the wing. This MiG-17 has three fences per wing. I've also seen them on delta-winged aircraft such as the MiG-25. ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 17.7k
30 votes
6 answers
5k views

Why isn't the wing span of a certain airliner longer with the longer fuselage versions?

The Boeing 737 next generation models (700,800,900ER) all have the same wingspan at 117ft 5 in. Why doesn't the wingspan increase with bigger and longer models? With the 737-900 wouldn't you need a ...
Ethan's user avatar
  • 9,349
28 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why do the wing tips on the Boeing 777X fold up instead of down?

The outer 11.4 feet (3.8 meters) of the wings of the Boeing 777X are designed to fold up when on the ground. Why aren't they designed to fold down? It seems to me that folding down would be more "...
Owen's user avatar
  • 443
27 votes
5 answers
5k views

If the profile of a wing pulls a plane up, why can planes fly inverted?

I'm simplifying here, but every introduction to flying shows us that the profile of a wing leads to lower pressure on the upper side of the wing, hence the wing and the plane attached to it will be ...
Krumelur's user avatar
  • 1,331
26 votes
6 answers
6k views

Do airplanes really expose their internal wires and electronics like this on the wings when braking?

While watching a video today about airplanes and how they have little thingies on their wings to make them come to a stop much quicker than otherwise, I noticed something very odd: Are those cables ...
C. Oesterle's user avatar
26 votes
3 answers
7k views

What is this part which is mounted on the wing of Embraer ERJ-145?

Take a look at the yellow parts which are mounted on the wing of an Embraer ERJ-145. What is it? Two closer images: From bottom:
Roh's user avatar
  • 3,319
26 votes
2 answers
12k views

What is the purpose of the small fins on top of the wing surface of Boeing aircraft?

I've noticed on most Boeing aircraft that there are small fins on the upper surface of many of their wings. They are about one inch high and maybe two inches long (it's difficult to judge size from ...
BillDOe's user avatar
  • 1,624
26 votes
3 answers
25k views

Why has the folding wing option of the Boeing 777 never been ordered?

The Boeing 777 has an optional folding wing mechanism to fit into tighter spaces, but it has never been ordered by airlines, according to Wikipedia. Why is this option so unpopular? Now with the ...
Ethan's user avatar
  • 9,349
26 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is wingtip design mature?

There are many wingtip design, all made to reduce vortex related drag, and neither boeing nor airbus seems to prefer one over another. They move from one design to another at each new aircraft, always ...
Manu H's user avatar
  • 16.5k
25 votes
6 answers
19k views

Why was the Spitfire's elliptical wing almost uncopied by other aircraft of World War 2?

The Spitfire was one of the most successful designs of its day, with flying qualities of a similar standard to the other best designs of the era. In its decade of production from 1936 it grew bigger, ...
Party Ark's user avatar
  • 13k
24 votes
2 answers
6k views

What was the first aircraft that could fly inverted?

I'm taking a guess and assuming the Wright Flyer was incapable of flying upside down. I'm just guessing it probably lacked the power... ;) So what was the first plane that could fly inverted for a ...
Jae Carr's user avatar
  • 24.2k
24 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why is the wrong explanation of "air travels a longer distance and creates a lift" so popular?

When I was learning for my license, one of the first diagrams I remember was about the wing profile. The air going around the wing and on the upper side it has to travel a longer way, thus generating ...
Krumelur's user avatar
  • 1,331
24 votes
4 answers
17k views

How does a flying wing keep from going into a flat spin when maneuvering?

How do flying wings, like the B-2 Stealth bomber, actually keep themselves from yawing out of control without a vertical stabilizer? For the record, I assume this has to be a simple mechanics process....
Jae Carr's user avatar
  • 24.2k
23 votes
5 answers
7k views

Could the principle of owls' silent flight be used for stealth aircraft?

I was wondering about the ability of owls to fly so silently. Is it because they flap gently, they flap less often or do is their structure responsible? I was thinking their principle of stalking can ...
Pratham Shah's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
5k views

Have any operational aircraft ever used over wing fuel tanks?

We are most familiar with under wing fuel tanks, has any operational aircraft ever used over wing fuel tanks?
jwzumwalt's user avatar
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23 votes
2 answers
83k views

What are the different wing planforms? What are each's advantages? Where are they commonly used?

I remember reading that there are four common wing planforms: Rectangular Eliptical Tapered Sweptback I'm sure there are more. What are the different types of planform out there? Each must have its ...
ryan1618's user avatar
  • 14.9k
23 votes
1 answer
3k views

How would a belt sander wing perform?

This is a theoretical question, the belt sander is an analogy to help visualize. How would a rectangular wing that is able to make its outer skin circulate around the airfoil perimeter perform? ...
user avatar
22 votes
7 answers
20k views

Do box-wings suffer from induced drag the same way as normal wings?

Most wings suffer from induced drag due to a pressure difference above and below the wing causing air to sneak around the tip, forming a vortex. There are various methods to minimize these effects, ...
falstro's user avatar
  • 11.8k
22 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why is the trailing edge sweep angle smaller at the wing root?

Many airliners have a distinct unswept part at the wing root at the trailing edge. See for example this image from Wikimedia of a B737-400. Other examples include the B777, A320, Embrear 145, and ...
Sanchises's user avatar
  • 13.3k
21 votes
2 answers
6k views

What are those arrow markings on the wing?

I recently flew on a Boeing 737-800 and found these arrow markings on the wing. What are they for?
256ABC's user avatar
  • 313
21 votes
3 answers
24k views

Why do (almost) all military transports have high wings and civilian transports low wings?

I've observed that almost all military transports have high wings (with a pronounced anhedral) and almost all civilian airliners have low wings (with a pronounced dihedral) — why is this? The ...
markvgti's user avatar
  • 311
21 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can we calculate the benefit gained from taping glider wing roots?

Most (all?) glider pilots will be familiar with the practice of taping wing roots. As most of the gliders in my glider club (and I would guess, in the world) are stored with the wings detached, the ...
bclarkreston's user avatar
  • 3,686
20 votes
7 answers
22k views

How does a fighter jet perform good and quick maneuvers with such small wings?

Fighter jets like the F-16, F-15, etc. have wings smaller than the length of the fuselage and can perform great maneuvers very quickly while an airliner with a long wingspan takes a lot of time to ...
Ethan's user avatar
  • 9,349
20 votes
3 answers
10k views

Why do non-aerobatic aircraft have a negative G limit?

Why do airplane wings have limit load of both positive and negative g's (e.g., the Weedhopper ultralight has a load factor of +5 and -2gs). Why not just have a positive limit load since most airplanes ...
Jessica Ham's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why are the wingtips of sailplanes painted red?

Modern (plastic) gliders are painted white (I suppose for thermal reasons), except for some shapes on the fuselage (generally blue or red, but it seems the color does not matter). And the aircraft ...
Manu H's user avatar
  • 16.5k
20 votes
4 answers
19k views

What is the difference between the Maximum Glide and Minimum Sink ratios?

In this comment a brief explanation is made of the differences between Max Glide Ratio and Min Sink Ratio: Sink rate is how much altitude you lose over time, for example, how many feet per second. ...
FreeMan's user avatar
  • 16.2k
20 votes
3 answers
20k views

What dictates the aspect ratio of an aircraft's wing?

When designing an aircraft, there has to be a decision as to the aspect ratio of a wing. It's been said that having a higher aspect wing will reduce drag for the same wing area, however most of the ...
Qantas 94 Heavy's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
5k views

What is the aerodynamic advantage to a cuffed wing like the Cirrus SR-22?

What is the aerodynamic advantage to a cuffed wing like this Cirrus?
Geoff's user avatar
  • 1,433
19 votes
5 answers
6k views

What control inputs to make if a wing falls off?

If a wing is severed due to structural damage or from a mid-air collision, what is the best control input to make? I would think opposite aileron and rudder, i.e. if right wing falls off, input full ...
Cloud's user avatar
  • 13.3k
19 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why doesn’t lightning punch a hole in the fuselage?

Electric arcing creates a huge temperature in the air around it. When lightning strikes planes, why doesn’t this high temperature air melt/deform the aircraft skin? Also can these high temperatures ...
Sohail Khan's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
5k views

Can any aircraft adjust the wing dihedral in flight?

Are there any aircraft that can mechanically modify the dihedral angle of the wings whilst in flight? Would this solution give any advantage?
Fabrizio Mazzoni's user avatar
19 votes
5 answers
4k views

What does the zig-zag pattern on Hawker Hunter's leading edge represent?

On some Hawker Hunters, there is a zig-zag on the leading edge of the wing, as shown below. Why do only some Hawker Hunters have this feature, and what is it for?
flyingfisch's user avatar
  • 14.5k
19 votes
2 answers
17k views

Why do all new European fighter jets have delta wings?

Why do all new European fighter jets - Typhoon, Gripen, Rafale have delta wings? As I know, they were all designed separately. And they are not new either. Is there any particular advantage that ...
user3624251's user avatar
  • 1,679
18 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why does the Pilatus PC-24 have such a large "Airplane Support"?

The PC-24 has, under the fuselage, a kind of huge support to hold the wings. If we compare with the Citation CJ4 or the Phenom 300, this difference is quite significant. Why??
Ana's user avatar
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