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The two drawings in the question are confusingly wrong, as far as the names of the lines is concerned. What is called the "relative wind flowing over the wing" and the "total" is actually the chord line. The reason it is not the "relative wind flowing over the wing" or "total" is because it does not show the actual ...


I propose you first read this answer. The flow over the wing is accelerated along the pressure gradient (or orthogonal to the isobars), and this gradient is swept with the wing. Therefore, acceleration and deceleration is orthogonal to the direction of wingspan. The spanwise speed component remains unaffected.


As some other answers have hinted, the question suffers from the misconception that the physical location of each of the vector arrows, including the small "spanwise" arrows, is intended to show the physical location on the wing where the airflow is moving in some given direction. That is not the intent at all. Any one of the vector triangles is ...

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