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Wing structure

Wood and fabric-type wing structure

Types of wing and fuselage attachments.

Types of wing and fuselage attachments.

Wing Construction

Wing construction is similar in all types of aircraft. In modern aircraft, wings are usually all metal. Older planes had wings made of wood and fabric.

Wings need to be able to maintain their shape under the high degree of stress encountered in flight. They consist basically of a framework chiefly of spars, ribs, and sometime stringers. Spars are the structural elements that ultimately bear the load carried by the wing. Spars run the length of the wing from the point nearest the fuselage out to the wing tip. Most wings have two spars-the front spar and the rear spar, but some wings may have as many as five. The leading edge (the front of the wing) and the trailing edge (the rear of the wing) are additional structural components that run roughly parallel to the spars.

The ribs cross the spars and extend between the leading and trailing edges of the wing. The forming ribs support the wing covering and give the wing its shape. Compression ribs also bear the flight stress.

Stringers are found on some planes. They run the length of the wing and may be above or below the spars and ribs.

A skin covers the framework.

Wings can be attached to the aircraft fuselage in different ways, depending on the strength of a wing's internal structure. The cantilever wing structure is the strongest. It is attached directly to the fuselage without any external, stress-bearing structures. The semicantilever wing has one or two supporting wires or struts extending between each wing and the fuselage. The externally braced wing, typically found on a biplane, has a number of struts and flying and landing wires.