Questions tagged [wing]

The structures extending from the sides of the plane that generate most of the lift to keep the plane in the air.

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89
votes
14answers
16k 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. ...
64
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3answers
57k 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
62
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1answer
26k 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?
53
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9answers
30k 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 ...
52
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3answers
38k 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....
52
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11answers
30k 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?
49
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1answer
5k 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 ...
44
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2answers
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. ...
42
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3answers
15k 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 ...
42
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2answers
6k 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?
37
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3answers
10k 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 ...
35
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9answers
27k 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?
35
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3answers
18k 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 ...
32
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2answers
8k 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. ...
31
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6answers
8k 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 ...
31
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5answers
46k 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
27
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6answers
4k 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 ...
27
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2answers
6k 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 "...
26
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2answers
8k 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 ...
26
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3answers
3k 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 ...
25
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5answers
4k 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 ...
24
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5answers
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 ...
24
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5answers
11k 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, ...
24
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2answers
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 ...
23
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2answers
4k 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?
23
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2answers
5k 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 ...
21
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7answers
17k 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 ...
21
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2answers
872 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 ...
20
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3answers
6k 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 ...
20
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3answers
17k 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 ...
20
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4answers
11k 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....
19
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2answers
60k 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 ...
19
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2answers
5k 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?
19
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5answers
2k 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?
19
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6answers
15k 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, ...
19
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2answers
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 ...
19
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3answers
17k 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 ...
19
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1answer
3k 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?
18
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2answers
19k views

How does chord length affect wing design?

In comments on the answer to a question about transonic speeds and control surfaces I came across this comment and I'm having a hard time understanding it. If you increase the chord, lift goes up ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Why are there so few aircraft that had inhabited wings?

According to an answer by John Frazer The only successful plane with inhabited wing might have been the Ju-38 Is this true? In the whole history of aviation there was only one aeroplane with ...
17
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3answers
22k 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 ...
17
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3answers
5k views

Why does the Beech Staggerwing have its low wing ahead of the high wing?

Why does the Beech Staggerwing have its low wing in ahead of the high wing? What are the aerodynamic ideas behind this? Other biplanes of the era had the opposite, low wing behind the high one.
17
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4answers
11k 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. ...
17
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3answers
5k views

Why was the A380 built with a gull-wing design?

I've noticed that the wings on the A380 are very curved in comparison to the 747. I mean the 747 has a lot of wing flex but the A380 has less wing flex and the wings are flexed down in comparison to ...
16
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3answers
3k 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?
16
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5answers
5k views

Do airplanes need wings?

Couldn't you just generate lift with a long body? Maybe a little broader than a normal plane. As a design enhancement, we would need a heavier bottom, so the plane doesn't flips to a side.
16
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4answers
5k views

How many people can stand on airliner's wings?

This photo of Allegiant Air flight 331 got me wondering: how much weight would a typical airliner's wings be able to hold? Aside: Apparently these folks didn't realise that if they smell gas in the ...
16
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3answers
24k views

Why are delta wings not commonly used in commercial airliners?

Delta wings are most commonly seen on military aircraft. I understand that delta wings are ideal for supersonic flight, and provide high maneuverability. Having high maneuverability and speed are ...
16
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2answers
2k views

What are these three indentations on the SBD's wing?

I was looking at pictures of WWII planes and noticed that the SBD Dauntless had 3 indentations towards the tip of the wing. What were these for?
16
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4answers
12k views

Is wing flex good?

I've noticed that the wings of the 787 and A380 tend to flex a lot. Does wing flex help an aircraft in any way?

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