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7 Essential Parts of Aircraft & Its Functions [Pictures & PDF]

In this article, you will learn about the different parts of aircraft and their functions. All are explained with Names & Pictures.

You can also download the PDF file of this article at the end.

What is Aircraft?

A vehicle that can fly by gaining support from the air is called an aircraft. It does this by using either static lift, the dynamic lift provided by an airfoil, or, in rare instances, the downward thrust from jet engines to overcome the force of gravity.

Have you ever wondered how many airline components make up the Airplane you’re boarding? Undoubtedly, there are a lot of components in an aircraft. Actually, there are literally millions of parts in today’s commercial airplanes.

You will find similarities among aircraft parts for every type of aircraft, whether you are piloting a jet with twin turbines or a model with a single engine. This article will take you through the main components of a common aircraft so that you can get a basic understanding of the design of an aircraft.

So let’s get started.

Read Also: The Complete List of Car Engine Parts and Its Function (Pictures)

Parts of Aircraft

Parts of Aircraft
Image: freepik.com

Following are the main parts of aircraft:

  1. Fuselage
  2. Cockpit
  3. Wings
  4. Tail or Empennage
  5. Engine
  6. Propeller
  7. Landing gear

#1 Fuselage

Fuselage - Parts of Aircraft

A fuselage is the main body section of an aircraft, where crew members, passengers, and cargo are housed. The fuselage of a single-engine aircraft usually has an engine mounted on it.

However, the engine may also be mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage, which can further be used as a floating boat when it is used in amphibious aircraft. Additionally, the fuselage positions the control and stabilization surfaces in relation to the lifting surfaces, which is necessary for the stability and maneuverability of the aircraft.

Fuselage constructions come in various forms, some of which are detailed below.

a) Truss Structure

It is a fuselage design consisting of supporting structural members that don’t bend under pressure. Many light aircraft still use this structure, which is made of welded steel tube trusses. Also made of wood and frequently covered in plywood is a box truss fuselage structure.

b) Geodesic Construction

Geodesic fuselage structures are well known to be solid, lightweight, and durable. In most cases, they were made of wood or aluminum with a fabric covering the shell for added comfort and aesthetic appeal.

Geodesic fuselage structures aim to improve the aircraft’s shape to decrease drag and increase speed, and they were used for the British Vickers during World War II. Additionally redundant, the geodesic structure can withstand localized damage without experiencing catastrophic failure.

c) Monocoque Shell

An exterior surface is the primary structural component of monocoque fuselages. In other words, they are not built on the same frame as truss fuselages. An early model aircraft with a monocoque shell structure is the Lockheed Vega.

It was made of molded plywood and had multiple layers that cover a plug in the mold. Other monocoque shell variants include a fiberglass-type cloth with polyester resin and an epoxy resin variant.

d) Semi-Monocoqne Shell

A fuselage design includes a substructure of bulkheads and formers, as well as stringers, to support the fuselage’s flight loads and stresses. When building an all-aluminum fuselage, the semi-monocoque fuselage structure is preferred.

It has frames intended to form the fuselage’s shell and is fastened to a rigid fixture using cross sections. To join with the fixture, stringers are fastened.

Read Also: 32 Essential Parts of Boat & Their Function [Names & Terminology]

#2 Cockpit

Image: wikipedia.org

Pilots control aircraft or spacecraft from a cockpit or flight deck, which is usually located near the front of the aircraft. An aircraft’s cockpit houses the controls that allow the pilot to control the aircraft as well as flight instruments on an instrument panel.

The cockpit and aircraft cabin are typically divided by a door in commercial airplanes. According to Wikipedia, all significant airlines strengthened their cockpits to prevent hijackers from entering after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Below is a description of the various controls and instruments found in cockpits. Each of the airplane’s components listed below plays a crucial role during each stage of flight.

a) Instrument Panel

This gives the pilot information about the flight, the engine, and the aircraft’s circumstances, much like the dashboard on a car. The critical information may be displayed on an interactive screen or using the standard “6 Pack,” depending on the aviation electronics (avionics) installed in the aircraft.

b) Flight Controls

There are generally two types of flight control systems on aircraft: primary systems and secondary systems. Using these systems, the pilot is able to control the flight efficiently and effectively.

c) Pilot Seats

It is designed to accommodate two people in the cockpit, a pilot seated on the left and a copilot seated on the right.

d) Rudder Pedals

When an airplane is in flight, the rudder pedals control how much yaw the plane will make, and on the ground, these pedals are used to steer.

e) Overhead Panel

It contains the aircraft systems, such as the air conditioning, electrical, fuel, and hydraulic systems, that are located in the overhead panel.

f) Side Consoles

On certain aircraft, the side consoles can be used for communication instruments and documentation, depending on the aircraft arrangement.

Read Also: 5 Types of Air Compressors: Working principle and Application (PDF)

#3 Wings

Wings - Parts of Aircraft

In aviation, a wing is an airfoil that aids in lifting a craft that is heavier than air. Because they generate lift, an aircraft’s wings are essential for flight. However, they can regulate the amount and direction of lift through various wing components.

Lift is produced by the shape of the wings and the speed with which the plane moves forward. Wings offer an unrestricted view below and good lateral stability when elevated above the fuselage (high wings).

Some of the essential components, which are described below, are found in wings.

a) Ailerons

Along with the elevator and the rudder, ailerons are one of the three main control surfaces that steer a plane. They are situated on the wing’s trailing edge and assist in regulating the roll of a craft.

In the cockpit, when a pilot turns to the left, the left aileron rises, reducing lift there, and the right aileron descends, increasing lift there, causing that side to rise. Consequently, the aircraft starts to roll to the left and turn.

b) Flaps

Ailerons and flaps both sit on the trailing edge of the wing. The flaps produce more lift and drag because they move symmetrically on each side, unlike ailerons. When aircraft speeds are lower, such as during takeoff and landing, flaps are frequently used to increase lift and lower stall speeds.

c) Winglet

There is a special part of an airliner’s wing that is bent up, known as a winglet, which is attached to the tip of the wing. Winglets were developed in order to lessen induced drag.

d) Slats

It is also called a leading-edge device since it is located at the front of the wing. It temporarily alters the shape of a wing so it can acquire more lift, much like flaps do.

e) Spoilers

Spoilers are used to assist the aircraft in descending while lowering the airfoil’s lift capacity. As a result, the aircraft can descend and lose altitude without increasing its speed.

Read Also: Different Types of Jet Engines: It’s Working and Applications

#4 Tail or Empennage

Empennage - Parts of Aircraft

Similar to the feathers on an arrow, it is a structure at the back of an aircraft that offers stability while in flight. Together with the wings, it produces lift. The majority of aircraft have an empennage that houses control surfaces as well as vertical and horizontal stabilising surfaces that stabilize the yaw and pitch flight dynamics.

Although early aircraft had effective control surfaces, they were virtually unflyable without stabilizing empennages. The elevator, rudder, horizontal stabiliser, static wicks, and vertical stabiliser make up the tail assembly, which is described in more detail below.

a) Horizontal Stabilizer and Elevator

The horizontal stabiliser aids in preventing the nose of the aircraft from oscillating up and down (pitch). The elevator is one of the main flight controls and is a hinged piece that is attached to the horizontal stabiliser.

As the pilot pulls back on the yoke, the elevators rise, pushing down more force on the tail, lifting the plane’s nose. In order to increase lift, the nose must be raised. This modifies the wing’s attack angle.

b) Vertical Stabilizer and Rudder

In order to weathervane into the relative wind, the aircraft uses its vertical stabiliser. This lessens the likelihood of the aircraft’s nose moving side to side (yaw). The primary flight control on the vertical stabilizer’s trailing edge is the rudder.

The pilot uses the left and right pedals in the cockpit to control the rudder. Pushing the left pedal causes the rudder to deflect to the left, which causes the nose to yaw left and the tail to move to the right. The aircraft makes coordinated turns when the rudder and ailerons are used together.

c) Static Wicks

These aircraft parts are used to discharge static electricity from aircraft while they are in flight and are also known as static dischargers or static discharge wicks. Almost all civilian aircraft are equipped with them, which resemble small sticks pointing backward from the wings.

Read Also: 23 Types of Metals and Their Properties & Uses [Examples]

#5 Engine

Engine - Parts of Aircraft
Image: istockphoto.com

The engine, which is frequently referred to as an aero engine, is the propulsion system’s power source. In order for the plane to fly, it produces thrust. Reciprocating and turbine engines are the two main categories of aircraft engines. While many small UAVs now use electric motors, a few have been rocket-powered in the past.

a) Piston or Reciprocating Engine

With reciprocating engines, air enters the engine, is compressed, combined with fuel and an electric spark to ignite, and then burns. Exhaust gases exit the engine through the manifold at the back. The propeller is turned by the engine, which produces thrust that propels the plane forward.

b) Gas Turbine Engine

As an alternative, a turbine engine’s compression, fuel mixing, ignition, and exhaust all happen simultaneously and similarly. In this instance, the power is produced by the engine’s air exhaust.

Read Also: 30 Parts of Bicycle & Their Functions [Names & Pictures]

#6 Propeller


The propeller creates a swirling slipstream that propels it forward or backward by converting the rotary motion from an engine or other power source. It is mounted vertically to produce thrust, much like a wing, to propel the plane forward.

It is affixed to the engine, which spins rapidly, producing lift from the pressure difference they create. However, rather than causing the plane to fly upward, this lift propels the aircraft forward by producing thrust. The forward thrust then forces air to pass over the wings, producing the vertical lift.

Additionally, a propeller has a few crucial parts that are crucial to its operation.

a) Propeller Hub

The hub is the principal housing that connects to the engine’s output shaft and holds the blades and pitch change mechanism together.

b) Propeller Blade

The propeller blades closely resemble an airplane wing in shape. The propeller blades are rotated to produce lift, also known as thrust, which propels the aircraft forward using the engine’s rotational power.

c) Leading Edge

It is the portion of the propeller blade next to the hub’s forward end. This edge is the most far away when looking at the propeller from behind. To move forward, the leading edge leads into the flow.

d) Trailing Edge

it is the portion of the propeller closest to the hub’s back end. This edge is closest to the propeller when viewed from behind. When delivering a forward thrust, the trailing edge pulls away from the flow.

Read More: A Complete List of Bike Engine Parts [Names & Functions]

#7 Landing Gear

Landing Gear

The undercarriage of an aircraft or spacecraft used for takeoff or landing is known as landing gear. There are two pieces of landing gear under the belly of the plane: a rear wheel and strut that soften the impact with the ground. They may retract into the fuselage when a plane lands.

General aviation frequently uses wheels that are tricycle-shaped, with one wheel in front and two behind, or tailwheels, with two wheels in front and one under the tail.

Closing It Up

So now, I expect I’ve covered everything about this article. If you still have any doubts or questions on this topic, you can contact us or ask in the comments. If you like this article, then please share it with your friends.

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About Saif M

Saif M. is a Mechanical Engineer by profession. He completed his engineering studies in 2014 and is currently working in a large firm as Mechanical Engineer. He is also an author and editor at www.theengineerspost.com

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