Glossary of Aeronautical Terms

 

Ailerons - Control surfaces on the trailing edge of each wing that are used to make the aircraft roll. When flying straight and level, moving the control stick to the right will raise the aileron on the right wing and lower the aileron on the left wing. This will cause the aircraft to roll to the right.

Airfoil – An object with special shape that is designed to produce lift efficiently when the object is moved through air. For example, the cross-section of a wing is an airfoil

Angle of attack - The angle of a wing to the oncoming airflow. A pilot pulls back on the control stick to raise the elevator. This causes the aircraft to pitch which increases the angle of attack.

Camber – The curve of an airfoil.

Elevators - Control surfaces on the horizontal part of the tail that are used to make the airplane pitch. Pulling back on the control stick will raise the elevators. This causes the aircraft to pitch and increase the angle of attack

Engine - A machine that uses combustion to create energy. An airplane will normally either have jet engines or engines that drive one or more propellers. In either cases, the engine provides the thrust force that pushes the airplane through air.

Flaps - Moveable parts of the trailing edge of a wing that are used to increase lift at slower air speeds. Flaps increase lift by changing the shape of the airfoil. A pilot will extend the flaps when the airplane is landing. By extending the flaps, the pilot is increasing the camber of the wing, the size of the wing and the wings angle of attack. All of these actions will cause lift to decrease so the airplane can land more slowly.

Fuselage – The part of the airplane to which the empennage and wings are attached. The fuselage is where the passengers and cargo are located. It is streamlined so that it produces the least possible drag

Horizontal stabilizer – The horizontal part of the tail known as tailplane. It increases the stability of the aircraft

Landing gear – Another word for undercarriage. The landing gear if often retractable – it can pull into the fuselage of the aircraft to reduce drag

Propeller – A device that consists of the blades (shaped like airfoils) that spin around the central hub, lie a fan. An engine causes the blades to turn. When the blades turn, they create thrust by biting into the air and forcing it to move back. The amount of thrust can be controlled by changing the speed of the propellers.

Rudder – A control surface on the trailing edge of the vertical part of the tail that is used to make the aircraft yaw. The rudder is controlled by the rudder pedals. Pushing the left rudder pedal will tilt the rudder to the left. This will cause the nose of the aircraft to turn to the left.

Vertical stabilizer – The vertical part of the tail also known as Fin. It helps to increase the stability of the aircraft