5 Main Components of an Aircraft


The 5 Main Components of an Aircraft 

Airplanes are a remarkable feat of engineering. Our species has figured out how to get over 100,000 pounds worth of metal in the air flying smoothly. Over the past century, aircraft components have evolved to make flights more efficient, safer, and faster. Our aviation crew at our aircraft dispatcher school provides a brief introduction to the 5 main aircraft components.


The Fuselageinfographic on components of aircraft

The fuselage is one of the major aircraft components. Its long hollow tube, also known as the body of the airplane, holds the passengers along with cargo. This area includes the cockpit, so the pilots are in front of the fuselage. Despite there being different types of fuselages, they connect the major parts of an airplane. Out of the five basic parts of an airplane, this is the aircraft component that most people are most familiar with, as passengers.


The Wings

As an exterior part of an aircraft, the wings, commonly known as foils, are one of the aircraft parts that are most imperative for flight. The airflow over the wings is what generates most of the lifting force necessary for flight. Along with the large wings that stem from the middle of the fuselage, the wings also include two smaller ones at the back of most aircraft, at the tail. Airplane wings, while seeming fairly simple, are one of the many parts of a plane that has required tremendous feats of engineering. 

Check out our recent article, How Do Airplanes Fly to learn more about how aircraft parts and components work together to achieve flight.

What Are the Parts of an Aircraft Wing?

An aircraft wing consists of several key parts that work together to provide lift and stability during flight. The main components of an aircraft wing are the following:

  • Wing Root: The wing root is the part of the wing that attaches to the fuselage of the aircraft. It provides structural support and helps transfer the aerodynamic forces from the wing to the fuselage.
  • Wing Spar: The wing spar is a strong structural element that runs spanwise through the wing. It provides the primary support and carries the majority of the wing’s load. The spar often extends from the wing root to the wingtip.
  • Wing Ribs: Wing ribs are structural elements that span from the leading edge to the trailing edge of the wing, running perpendicular to the wing spar. They provide the wing’s shape and contribute to its structural integrity.
  • Wing Skin: The wing skin is the outer covering of the wing, enclosing the structure and giving the wing its aerodynamic shape. It can be made of various materials, such as aluminum or composite materials.
  • Wing Leading Edge: The leading edge of the wing is the front part that faces the oncoming airflow during flight. It is typically rounded or tapered to reduce aerodynamic drag and ensure smooth airflow over the wing.
  • Wing Trailing Edge: The trailing edge is the rear part of the wing, which helps define the wing’s shape and provides control surfaces like flaps and ailerons.
  • Wing Flaps: Flaps are movable surfaces located on the trailing edge of the wing. They can be extended or retracted to change the wing’s shape and increase lift during takeoff and landing.
  • Ailerons: Ailerons are control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing, usually toward the wingtips. They move differently, meaning when one aileron goes up, the other goes down, allowing the aircraft to roll and control its banking movements.
  • Winglets: Winglets are vertical or near-vertical extensions at the wingtips. They help reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency by decreasing the formation of wingtip vortices.
  • Wing Fuel Tanks: Many aircraft wings incorporate internal fuel tanks, which store the aircraft’s fuel supply. These tanks are designed to be an integral part of the wing structure.

What Are Some Internal Parts of an Aircraft? 

The aircraft comprises numerous internal components of various types that contribute to its overall structure. One of the most important parts of the aircraft is the instrumentation that forms the biggest part of it. Our airline dispatcher school would like to point out that the instrumentation of the aircraft is important because it provides crucial information to the pilot, including airspeed indicators, altimeters, attitude indicators, and navigation equipment. 

The Empennage

The empennage is located at the tail end of the aircraft. Its two main components, the rudder and elevator, help with the stability of the plane. The rudder helps the aircraft steer from right to left, and the elevator helps with changing elevation.


The Power Plant

The power plant of an airplane structure includes the engine and the propeller. The engine itself is a complicated system composed of many smaller parts like cylinders, fans, and pistons. Together, these aircraft engine parts work to generate the power or thrust of an aircraft. There are various intricacies in the power plant assisting in powering the aircraft, such as various aircraft fuel system components. 


The Landing Gear

You cannot have a safe plane without having the landing gear. Not only are these parts imperative to land, but the landing gear is also used to help an aircraft take-off and taxi. The landing gear includes shock absorbers for a smooth landing and takeoff, as well as the wheels on the plane, to name a few of the aircraft components responsible for movements on the ground. 

Why Should I Learn the Main Parts of an Aircraft?

Our aviation dispatcher school would like to point out that while the primary responsibilities of an aircraft dispatcher are related to flight planning, weather analysis, and communication with the flight crew, having knowledge of the main parts of an aircraft is beneficial for several reasons. For one, understanding the parts of an aircraft translates to more effective communication. Understanding the main parts of an aircraft allows the aircraft dispatcher to communicate effectively with the flight crew, maintenance personnel, and other relevant parties. By allowing them to convey technical information accurately and facilitating better coordination during pre-flight checks, maintenance issues, or emergencies.

Another reason aircraft dispatchers need to learn the parts of an aircraft is that it helps certain operational considerations. Familiarity with the main parts of an aircraft helps the dispatcher to understand the limitations, performance characteristics, and system dependencies of the aircraft. This knowledge can aid in making informed decisions regarding fuel planning, payload distribution, weight and balance considerations, and other operational factors that can affect the safety and efficiency of the flight.

Enter the Field of Aviation With Sheffield School of Aeronautics

At Sheffield School of Aeronautics, we provide industry-leading flight dispatch training courses. Looking to become an FAA flight dispatcher? We prepare students and allow students the opportunity to receive their FAA aircraft dispatchers license.Our students receive the tools and experience to find prestigious aircraft dispatcher jobs in the aviation industry upon completion of their aircraft dispatcher license. Contact us today to learn more about our various programs and how we could help you understand the dispatch license requirements and what the dispatcher salary is like.

*Post updated on November 24, 2021*


Additional Readings:

The Difference Between an Aircraft Dispatcher and An Air Traffic Controller

Jobs With the Highest Aviation Salary


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