Ailerons, Slats, Flaps and Spoilers: Essential for Flight

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All airplanes resemble one another, with good reason. The external parts of airplanes play a vital role in lifting the plane off the ground, keeping it in the air and lowering it to the ground when it-s time. Slats, flaps, ailerons and spoilers are all parts of an aircraft that are responsible for various aspects of flight.

A slat is responsible for increasing or decreasing the lift of a plane. They are movable parts located on the front of each wing and are attached with a metal hinge which allows for free movement.Additional information can be found at The flaps are located on the rear of each wing and are attached in the same manner. The flaps also help control lift of the plane. Both of these parts together affect drag as well. These moveable parts are used to get the plane off the ground and to lower the plane and then keep it on the ground when landing.

Ailerons are used to bank, or turn, the airplane. They are connected to the lateral edge of the wing by hinges. Normally you see one aileron pointed downward and the other pointed upward to keep the plane flying in a straight and level direction.

The spoiler is one more part that-s located on the wing of aircraft. The spoiler is between the slat and flap and affects lift. Spoilers are used to turn the aircraft just as ailerons are but spoilers act faster than ailerons. The trade off is when spoilers are used to turn the craft, the plane loses altitude.

The Modern Cockpit on a Jet Airliner

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The cockpit of a modern jet airliner is the control and information hub of the entire aircraft. Many new features -- of both the safety and comfort variety -- have been put into place in recent years. Virtually all cockpits are located at the front of the aircraft, primarily for visibility purposes.

The events of September 11, 2001 had an extremely pronounced impact on many things, airline cockpit design and safety implementations were greatly effected as well. The cockpits in most airlines have now been fortified in such manner that breaking into them using traditional means would be impossible.

While an airline's cockpit may look like an endless sea of gauges and switches to most, to a pilot every single knob and switch serves an extremely valuable purpose in properly piloting an airliner. Many of the modern instruments in an airliner cockpit have been calibrated in finely tuned ways, more so than was possible even as little as 20 years ago.

In an effort to reduce the dependency of the flight crew on one set of controls and flight information, there is often a second set of controls in a lesser used space of the cockpit. This redundancy is in place in case the first set fails.More info here: Cockpit Chronicles: A 'new' pilot's first trip on the line

The History of the P-51 Mustang WWII Fighter Plane

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Perhaps no modern warplane has received more accolades than the P-51 Mustang. The aircraft's success as a fighter and fighter-bomber endured through two wars and many versions are still flying today. The aircraft was born of desperation as Britain faced an onslaught from the Luftwaffe and the RAF was seeking to purchase aircraft. At the time the most advanced fighter in production in the United States was the Curtis P-40. North American Aviation was contracted with to build the P-40 and it was then that the P-51 was born.'Dutch' Kindelberger, an engineer, knew something better was possible and it was. Edgar Schmued designed a new fighter, equipped with an Allison engine that the British used as a fighter bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft had excellent low altitude performance and the Army Air Force ordered the plane as the A-36 Apache. Tests with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine delivered astounding performance and a new long range escort fighter took to the air.

The P-51 served in the European and Pacific theatres of war and finished the campaign as B-29 escorts to Japan. The Mustang served in Korea, almost eliminating the North Korean Yak's until MiG 15's arrived. Today there are still many P-51's flying and the distinctive sound of the Merlin is still heard as the silver fighters amaze another generation.

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