airplane aeroplane, or aircraft, heavier-than-air vehicle, mechanically driven and fitted with fixed wings that
support it in flight through the dynamic action of the air. Parts of an Airplane The airplane has six main partsfuselage, wings, stabilizer (or tail plane), rudder, one or more engines, and landing gear. The fuselage is the main body of the machine, customarily streamlined in form. It usually contains control equipment, and space for passengers and cargo. The wings are the main supporting surfaces. Modern airplanes are monoplanes (airplanes with one wing) and may be high-wing, mid-wing, or low-wing (relative to the bottom of the fuselage). At the trailing edge of the wings are auxiliary hinged surfaces known as ailerons that are used to gain lateral control and to turn the airplane. The lift of an airplane, or the force that supports it in flight, is basically the result of the direct action of the air against the surfaces of the wings, which causes air to be accelerated downward. The lift varies with the speed, there being a minimum speed at which flight can be maintained. This is known as the stall speed. Because speed is so important to maintain lift, objects such as fuel tanks and engines, that are carried outside the fuselage are enclosed in structures called nacelles, or pods, to reduce air drag (the retarding force of the air as the airplane moves through it). Directional stability is provided by the tail fin, a fixed vertical airfoil at the rear of the plane. The stabilizer, or tail plane, is a fixed horizontal airfoil at the rear of the airplane used to suppress undesired pitching motions. To the rear of the stabilizer are usually hinged the elevators, movable auxiliary surfaces that are used to produce controlled pitching. The rudder, generally at the rear of the tail fin, is a movable auxiliary airfoil that gives the craft a yawing (turning about a vertical axis) movement in normal flight. The rear array of airfoils is called the empennage, or tail assembly. Some aircraft have additional flaps near the ailerons that can be lowered during takeoff and landing to augment lift at the cost of increased drag. On some airplanes hinged controls are replaced or assisted by spoilers, which are ridges that can be made to project from airfoils. Airplane engines may be classified as driven by propeller, jet, turbojet, or rocket. Most engines originally were of the internal-combustion, piston-operated type, which may be air- or liquid-cooled. During and after World War II, duct-type and gas-turbine engines became increasingly important, and since then jet propulsion has become the main form of power in most commercial and military aircraft. The landing gear is the understructure that supports the weight of the craft when on the ground or on the water and that reduces the shock on landing. There are five common typesthe wheel, float, boat, skid, and ski types.
seeks to design more conventional aircraft that have reduced runway requirements. seeks to produce craft that take off and land like helicopters. airplanes have become less dependent on large values of lift from the wings. in which one wing sweeps to the rear and another forward. have made supersonic flight possible at low altitude. Recent developments in fan-jet engines.g. To keep runway lengths within reasonable limits the variable-sweep. Similar alterations have been made in the vertical and horizontal surfaces of the tail. or wings) with two propellers chain-driven by a gasoline motor. power-driven. The lessened lift associated with swept-back wing designs increases the length of runway needed for takeoffs and landings. On Dec. e.4 kg) or less per horsepower. in which a turbine powers a set of vanes that drive air rearward to augment thrust. that flight in heavier-than-air craft was achieved. short-haul traffic between small airports. Much research has also gone into reducing the noise and air pollution caused by jet engines. wing has been developed. For certain applications. the Wright brothers produced the first manned. In some cases these radically backswept wings have evolved into a single triangular lifting surface. With the use of jet engines and the resulting higher speeds. Consequently. however. 1903. known as a delta wing. but these failed. or swing. The first flight lasted 12 sec. but that can fly much faster. A plane of this type can extend its wings for maximum lift in taking off and landing. and swing them back for travel at high speeds. The other approach. which is closely associated with the ratio between power load (horsepower) and weight. it was not until the beginning of the 20th cent. The modern piston engine weighs about 1 lb (0. produces an arrangement that causes a minimum shock wave at supersonic speeds.C. heavier-than-air flying machine near Kitty Hawk. One. again with the aim of decreasing drag. but later flights on the same day were a little longer. wings have been shortened and swept back so as to produce less drag. It is thought that if this modification were applied to supersonic transport (SST) designs it would somewhat lessen their objectionable noise levels. The evolution of the airplane engine has had a major effect upon aircraft design. N. the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) approach. and jet and gas-turbine engines are much lighter.Developments in Airplane Design Early attempts were made to build flying machines according to the principle of bird flight. A proposed variant of the swing wing. The machine was a biplane (an airplane with two main supporting surfaces..4 kg) per horsepower. 17. it is desirable to have airplanes capable of operating from a runway of minimum length. The Wright brothers' first engine weighed about 12 lb (5. Two approaches to the problem have been tried.
. a safe landing was made after each attempt. No solution has been proposed to lessen their high fuel consumption. especially at supersonic speeds. that is bisected by the fuselage of the plane. short takeoff and landing (STOL).
000 Boeing 777 flights each month. 3.
. cost as much as a BMW. There are 24. 4.airplane • The first United States coast to coast airplane flight occurred in 1911 and took 49 days • When airplanes were still a novel invention. 5. 6. A “blackbox” is actually orange in color to make it more visible in the wreckage. seat belts for pilots were installed only after the consequence of their absence was observed to be fatal – several pilots fell to their deaths while flying upside down • An airplane’s “blackbox”‘ is a device which records conditions and events on an air vessel. You can fit 45 mid size automobiles on only one wing of a Boeing 747400.000 trips to the moon and back. There are 800 Boeing 777 flights each day.000 have been sold from Boeing. It took 75. There are approximately 200. One wind shield or window frame of the Boeing 747-400's cockpit. 1. The Boeing 747 (all versions) have traveled an estimated 35 billion statute miles. 8.twin engine jetliner in the world. and it has carried the entire world population of 6 billion people and it has traveled more than 25 billion miles. 2. You can fit 6 million golf balls inside of a Boeing 757 freighter. The term black box might come from its charred appearance after an air crash • A 747-400 has six million parts (half of which are fasteners) made in 33 different countries • Seventy-five thousand engineering drawings were used to produce the first 747 • The outer skin of an aeroplane is only 5 mm thick. 7. the takeoff weight is increased by about a ton These are some fun facts about Boeing Commercial jetliners.000 engineer drawings to build the first Boeing 747100. Only 7. 9. The Boeing 737 is the most popular twin aisle .000 flights every day around the world. 10. when full of high pressure air. The Boeing 767 sucks in enough air during take-off in both of its engines to fill the Goodyear Glimpse in 7 seconds. that is the equavilent of 75. more than 3.5 in (19 cm) separate the passengers from the outside During takeoff.