This page is intended for college, high school, or middle school students.
For younger students, a simpler explanation of the information on this page is
available on the
are transportation devices which are designed to
people and cargo from one place to another.
Airplanes come in many
shapes and sizes depending on the
mission of the aircraft. The airplane shown on
this slide is a turbine-powered airliner which has been chosen as
a representative aircraft.
The fuselage, or body of the airplane, is a long hollow tube which
holds all the pieces of an airplane together. The fuselage is hollow to reduce
As with most other parts of the airplane, the shape of the fuselage is normally
determined by the mission of the aircraft. A
supersonic fighter plane has a very slender,
streamlined fuselage to reduce the
drag associated with high speed flight. An
airliner has a wider fuselage to carry the maximum number of passengers.
On an airliner, the pilots sit in a cockpit at the front of the
fuselage. Passengers and cargo are carried in the rear of the
fuselage and the fuel is usually stored in the wings. For a fighter plane,
the cockpit is normally on top of the fuselage, weapons are carried on the
wings, and the engines and fuel are placed at the rear of the fuselage.
of an aircraft is distributed all along the aircraft.
The fuselage, along with the passengers and cargo, contribute a significant
portion of the weight of an aircraft. The
center of gravity
of the aircraft is the average location of the weight and it is usually
located inside the fuselage. In flight, the aircraft
around the center of gravity because of
generated by the
rudder, and ailerons.
The fuselage must be designed with enough strength to withstand these torques.
Parts of an Airplane:
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