The Main Parts of an Aircraft Wing

The wing structures of a fixed-wing aircraft are one of the most important elements for achieving flight, serving to manipulate airflow in such a way that generates lift for remaining airborne. While the entire wing is needed for heavier-than-air flight, the structure would be nothing without the various sections and parts that make it up. To help you better familiarize yourself with the design and functionality of aircraft wings, we will discuss their various components in brief detail.


One of the first and foremost elements of a standard aircraft wing is the wing spar, that of which establishes the structural integrity of the assembly. As the backbone of the wing, the spar is placed within the structure. While extremely rigorous and strong, the wing spar does exhibit some flexibility for the means of smoothing out the effects of turbulence.


To promote the efficiency of an aircraft traversing through air, engineers have to mitigate the amount of drag that detracts from forward movement and propulsion. Fairings are a form of aerodynamic cover that are placed in various sections of the wing, typically being used for cover flap control actuators and wing roots.

Fuel Tanks

While some aircraft may have their fuel tanks placed within the fuselage, a large number of models store fuel within the wings. Contrary to what some may think, wing structures are fairly spacious internally, and this allows for an ample volume of fuel to be stored within placed fuel tanks. As an example, an aircraft like the Airbus A380 stores over 80,000 gallons of fuel within its wing fuel tanks.


When an aircraft is in flight, one may have noticed various mechanical surfaces that adjust on the wings, one of which comes in the form of small rectangular assemblies situated on the trailing edge of each wing. Known as ailerons, these flight control surfaces adjust up and down to manipulate the flow of air over the wing. As ailerons move in opposite directions on each wing when activated, they allow for pilots to conduct a rolling movement.


Spoilers are another common wing flight control surface, and they are most often found on larger aircraft models. As panels that are placed near the wing’s center or trailing edge, spoilers are used to increase drag. While this may seem contradictory to the role of wings, increasing drag and reducing lift is useful for when the aircraft wishes to descend without changing heading. Once on the runway, the aircraft will then fully deploy spoilers to place all of the vehicle’s weight on the wheels. Spoilers may come in various types, those of which include the ground, speed, and roll spoiler variations.


Flaps are yet another wing flight surface that is located near the trailing edge, and they are adjusted to manipulate the size, shape, and chord line of the wing. By using flaps, pilots can slow down the aircraft for a more optimal landing, or for decreasing the distance needed for takeoff. Depending on the design of the aircraft, wings may feature plain flaps, split flaps, slotted flaps, Fowler flaps, or other such types.


While the previously mentioned structures are common to countless aircraft, there are other various parts and structures that also play a role in the creation and control of lift. NSN Unlimited is a leading distributor of aircraft parts, presenting customers access to an unrivaled inventory of new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to explore our massive set of offerings as you see fit, and our team is always ready to assist you through the purchasing process however necessary. See why customers steadily depend on NSN Unlimited for all their operational needs when you get in touch with one of our representatives.


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