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Some history and theory about flight!Project details.....Click on Main to return to home site!Look at some interesting stuff...

Learn about the theory of flight!
Learn about various instruments and panels in the cockpit!
Learn about aircraft systems!
Variety of aircraft weapons!
Types of missions aircraft undergo!
Miscellaneous information...
See some new and emerging aircraft!

Aircraft are composed of the following parts: fuselage (body), wings (airfoil), empennage(tail), landing gear and power plant.


Fuselage: The body of the airplane is called the fuselage. The fuselage must be strong and streamlined, to enable it to withstand the forces that are created in flight.
The fuselage serves several functions. It is the attachment point for the other major components. It houses the cabin, the flight crew, passengers, and cargo.

Airfoil: The wing is a framework made up of spars, ribs and (possibly) stringers.
Spars are the main strength members of the wing and run along the length of the wing.
Ribs run from the leading edge to the rear of the wing and support the covering and provide the airfoil shape (camber) that allows the wing to create lift.
Wings generally have two types of control surfaces: Ailerons extend from about the midpoint of each wing outward to the tip. They move in opposite directions; when one aileron goes up, the other goes down. Flaps have two purposes: when they are lowered they increase lift and drag allowing the airplane to fly at slower speeds. They are used for landing and in some airplanes also for takeoff. They extend outward from the fuselage to the midpoint of each wing. They always move together. If one flap is down, the other is down.


The empennage, commonly called the tail assembly, is the rear section of the body of the airplane. Its main purpose is to give stability to the aircraft. It consists of:

Horizontal Stabilizer: fixed part that prevents the airplane from pitching up or down.

Elevator: moveable control surface attached to the rear (aft) of the horizontal stabilizer used to control the up-and-down motion of the aircraft's nose.

Vertical Stabilizer: fixed part that prevents the aircraft from yawing back and forth.
Rudder: movable control surface attached to the rear of the vertical stabilizer. Used to counter adverse yaw when turning the aircraft.

Three common types of landing gear are:

Conventional has two wheels forward and a third small wheel at the tail. Most often seen on older light aircraft and commonly known as a "taildragger".

Tricycle has two main wheels and a nosewheel.  Most modern light aircraft use this arrangement.

Tandem , used for large aircraft, has two sets of wheels located one behind the other on the fuselage.  The B-52 shown below uses tandem landing gear, as do most large airliners like the Boeing 747, 767, 777 and the DC-10.


Conventional above


Tandem landing gear

The powerplant can be an engine and propeller combination, a jet engine, or a combination of a jet engine with a propeller attached, called a turboprop.  The C-130 cargo aircraft with four jet engines with attached propellers is an example of a turboprop aircraft. The F-16 is an example of a "pure" jet powerplant. The ram jet and the rocket engine are also powerplants.

In the engine/propeller combination powerplant the engine drives the propeller which pulls the aircraft through the air.

A jet powerplant produces thrust from its exhaust gases which push the aircraft through the air.

A turboprop powerplant uses a jet engine to drive a propeller to pull that aircraft through the air. A turboprop also produces a small amount of thrust (push) from its jet exhaust.

All powerplants usually also drive attached accessory components to produce electrical power.

Because airplanes fly through air, aircraft systems are dependant on their outside environment.

( reviews/atmosphere.html)

The atmosphere is composed of a mixture of gases, mostly Nitrogen (78%) and Oxygen (21%). All gases have certain characteristics: weight, density, temperature, pressure, and mass. As temperature decreases the density of air increases. As the temperature of air increases the density decreases. Relative humidity is the ratio of the amount of water vapor a sample of air holds to the amount it can hold when saturated. On the Celsius scale water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100 degrees. On the Fahrenheit scale water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees.