How Do the Wing Flaps on an Airplane Work?

The architecture that allows an airplane to fly is an incredible feat of engineering and involves thousands of individual components working together in unison. An easily overlooked but vital component on the wings of the aircraft is the flaps. This article will discuss what the flaps are and their function during the different phases of a flight.

What Are the Flaps?

Flaps are devices mounted on the trailing edge of most fixed-wing aircraft. Their primary goal is to reduce stalling speed, which is the speed that the aircraft must fly at to produce lift. Furthermore, they decrease the distance needed for takeoff and landing. Flaps were first used on aircraft in the 1910s but were not routinely used until the 1930s.

  • Flaps During Takeoff : During takeoff, flaps work to reduce the needed distance for takeoff by increasing the lift of the wings. In doing so, the aircraft is enabled to take off at a lower airspeed. Specifically, flaps will extend downwards at an angle of 5-15 degrees. This angle will create a greater pressure difference between the upper and lower part of the wing, thus increasing lift.

  • Flaps During Landing : Before the wheels touch the ground in a landing sequence, the goal is to keep the plane's lift and drag high. By maintaining a relatively high lift, the aircraft is enabled to land at a slower speed, while a greater drag permits a steeper descent angle. Both of these factors decrease the total length of runway needed for the aircraft to land. Typically, flight manuals call for a steeper angle of 20 to 40 degrees, which is usually close to the maximum extension for the flaps. However, once the airplane has touched down, the flaps are almost always put in the fully extended position,helping slow the plane to a stop.

  • Flap Malfunction : If you are in need of any components for your aircraft's flaps, look no further than Aerospace Aces. We are a leading online distributor of premium aerospace components with a large inventory and skilled team of account managers ready to assist you. Aerospace Aces is fully committed to providing the highest quality items to our customers, which is why we ensure that our inventory routinely undergoes visual inspection, document verification, and other measures before shipping to screen out any defects. Furthermore, we work directly with trustworthy manufacturers to bring you authentic parts and have a unique No-China Sourcing pledge.

Are you facing a shortened time requirement? Aerospace Aces has some of the shortest lead and shipping times in the industry. You can immediately request a quote from any product page on this website and receive a personalized quote in just 15 minutes or less. In addition, we use our international supply chain to offer our domestic and international customers the benefit of expedited shipping all the time.


January 10, 2024

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