125 votes
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Why are fuel tanks located in wings?

Several advantages: Wing structures are hollow and voluminous in order to provide structural rigidity against flutter and carry flight loads. This provides the space needed to store fuel. On a ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
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114 votes
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Does anybody recognize these wings?

Those wings are from an ERCO Ercoupe. The diagonal ribs are very distinctive.
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
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84 votes

Why are fuel tanks located in wings?

I see what you're saying, but there's something you're overlooking in your logic. You're looking at an airplane sitting on the ground, where the wheels are near the fuselage and most of the wings are ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
69 votes
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What control inputs to make if a wing falls off?

This one: Yes, an F-15 has once landed with a lost wing. However, the landing was a close call - 20 more feet and the plane would've overrun the runway. That landing took both skill and luck, as well ...
Therac's user avatar
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64 votes
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Why does one of the Boeing 777's spoilers deploy differently from the rest?

Roll control is provided by 2 flaperons, 2 ailerons, and 14 spoilers. Spoiler panels 4 and 11 are controlled mechanically rather than electrically. They are driven directly from control wheel ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
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54 votes
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Are wings any more efficient at creating lift, versus orienting the engine's thrust downwards?

Interesting question. Purely empirically, it is the lift-to-drag ratio you are looking for. If you take this value as given for any particular aircraft, you have a direct answer for how much more ...
Martin's user avatar
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51 votes

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

You will have both hydraulic system plumbing lines, the metal pipes, and wiring harnesses running along the rear spar, serving hydraulic actuators and electrical components like sensors and servos, ...
John K's user avatar
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46 votes

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

Extending wings The idea is to have a larger wing area at takeoff for more lift and a smaller wing area in flight for more efficiency. The NIAI RK and followup RK-I used two tandem wings that served ...
Adam's user avatar
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46 votes

Can a wing generate lift in excess of its aircraft's weight?

Yes, otherwise airplanes would be unable to go upwards into the sky.
user46095's user avatar
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44 votes
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Why doesn't the Concorde have any wing fences?

The main purpose of the wing fence is to prevent the boundary layer thickening in the wing due to the spanwise flow observed in swept wing, as can be seen below. Image from fuckyeahfluiddynamics....
aeroalias's user avatar
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44 votes

Have any operational aircraft ever used over wing fuel tanks?

Early aircraft designs used gravity feed to supply the engines with fuel. All those designs had their tanks located above the wing, and in biplanes in the center of the upper wing. The picture below (...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
43 votes
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Can a wing generate lift in excess of its aircraft's weight?

Yes, a wing can (given sufficient forward speed and angle of attack) generate lift greater than the weight of the aircraft. As with any "unbalanced" force, this will result in an acceleration of the ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
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41 votes
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Have any operational aircraft ever used over wing fuel tanks?

Both the Typhoon and English Electric Lightning used over the wing fuel tanks as standard equipment for many years. There may have been others. English Electric Lightning Typhoon (with conforming ...
jwzumwalt's user avatar
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40 votes

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

Oblique Wing A normal wing at takeoff then pivots during flight. High-risk idea to make transport aircraft more efficient in the transonic regime. Lighter and simpler than a swing wing, with no ...
Adam's user avatar
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40 votes

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

Their primary wing feathers have an unusual structure incorporating a fringed, comblike leading-edge, which reduces wind noise. The wing feathers also have an overall softness or flexibility. The ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
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40 votes
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Why do non-aerobatic aircraft have a negative G limit?

You can get negative load factors (g forces) in different ways than just flying upside down: Change in pitch: When you push on the control column, the pitch will start to decrease. Depending on how ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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37 votes

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

In addition to types already mentioned by other answers: Tiltwing Was used to allow VTOL operations by tilting the entire wing, as can be seen on the Hiller X-18. The concept was never used outside ...
bjelleklang's user avatar
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37 votes

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

In addition to quiet flyer's excellent answer: Owls have large wings in relation to their body size and weight. One might think that no, their bodies are quite large, but actually owls are kind of ...
Jpe61's user avatar
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36 votes
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What is this part which is mounted on the wing of Embraer ERJ-145?

They are called vortilons. They can induce a vortex to the upper surface of the wing at high angles of attack, which allows flying at higher angles of attack before stalling. Additionally, four ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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35 votes

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

Variable incidence, on the F-8 Crusader. From the Wiki page: The most innovative aspect of the design was the variable-incidence wing which pivoted by 7° out of the fuselage on takeoff and ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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35 votes

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

The Concorde had a drooping nose to allow it to be very streamlined during flight but offer better low-angle visibility when taxiing, taking off and landing. Nose down when landing: Diagram showing ...
Dronz's user avatar
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34 votes
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What are those arrow markings on the wing?

They are the overwing exit markings. You can see them in full in the following photo. Boeing 737 Max overwing exits. By Oleg V. Belyakov - http://spotters.net.ua/file/?id=110706&size=large, CC BY-...
aeroalias's user avatar
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34 votes
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What is this hole on the left wing of the Eurofighter Typhoon?

The Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) exhaust (Source) The item 72 is what you are looking for and it is labelled "APU exhaust". The black residue is soot from incompletely burned fuel. The Eurofighter ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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32 votes

Why are the wingtips of sailplanes painted red?

White is indeed chosen for thermal reasons. Gliders use epoxy resins which cure at room temperature and are then tempered at 60°C. This tempering shifts the glass transition temperature to something ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
32 votes

Do high-wing aircraft represent more difficult engineering challenges than low-wing aircraft?

Actually, in aircraft construction tension is preferable to compression: aeroplanes are thin walled structures, and compression forces introduce buckling. In a low wing aircraft, the fuselage is ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.7k
31 votes

Why are wings load tested upside down?

A wing can be tested in any orientation as long as the load is applied correctly. The classic wing test photo is the 787 in a fixture showing its extremely flexible wings. I thought it might be fun ...
Pilothead's user avatar
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30 votes

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

Stealth aircraft are built to reduce their observability in 3 main areas, with the goal of reducing the warning time an enemy has: radar optical and IR sound This is in order of detection range: ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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29 votes
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Why do all new European fighter jets have delta wings?

No, they were not designed separately. They were designed by people who had all participated in collaborations before. The origin was the research into unstable configurations performed by MBB in ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
29 votes

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

With regard to energy expenditure and power, for a given amount of force that is to be produced by accelerating an air mass, more power is required when you accelerate a small air mass in each period ...
David K's user avatar
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