[Aerospace] Fundamentals of Flight: Part 1

Introduction
In this section, we are going to go over the basic parts of an aircraft and their basic functions. We are also going to discuss the four fundamental forces in flight and also the parameters that affect flight conditions.

Parts of an Airplane

Here we are going to talk about the various parts of an airplane. The best way to do this is probably to show a picture. There’s an image I found on the internet that labels the basic parts.

The airplane shown above is a typical single engine propeller plane. They usually hold only a few people and are mainly used for pilot training and or recreational purpose. I think the plane shown above is a Cessna Skyhawk. It is the first plane that I received my Intro Flight lesson, pretty cool to fly in.

Starting from the front of the plane on the left side, we have the propeller, which is attached to the piston engine. This part of the plane is mainly used to propel the aircraft forward, creating thrust, which we will discuss later.

Behind that, we have the fuselage, which is the main body of the vehicle that hold various equipments, passengers, fuel and cargo. I feel that it is also necessary to mention that the pilots sit in an area called the cockpit. This is where all the controls are located. Traditional aircraft uses a hydraulic and cable steering control system. Now-a-days, most more-advanced aircraft use fly-by-wire technology, which is just a fancy term for controlling the various control surfaces using electronic actuators. The move toward computerized system also prompted engineers to design more toward glass cockpit. Back then, the display panels are mostly pressure gauges and analog knobs. Now-a-days, we have computer display, hence called glass cockpit.  

The most important part of an airplane is probably its wing. The wings is a horizontal plate with a profile shape that aerodynamically benefits the aircraft. It is the component that keeps the plane in the air. The tail and stabilizer are other fixed components of the plane, they are used to keep vehicle flying straight.

Last but not least, we have the control surfaces, not counting the landing gears, which I don’t need to explain. We have several control surfaces on an airplane, they are the ailerons, elevators and rudder. The 3 control surfaces are used to create the motions among the respective axis: roll, pitch, yaw. Looking at the picture below, we can see what each of the axis stands for.

Continue to Part 2

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