A single engine airplane typically used by student pilots is shown above.
The fuselage is the structure which houses the pilot and passengers, as well as the instrument panel and controls.
The wings provide the major LIFT for the airplane.
Ailerons are located near the outer portion of the wing. The ailerons operate in opposition to each other, such as when the left aileron is up, the right aileron is down. This configuration causes the aircraft to "roll" to the left. Placing the ailerons in the opposite position causes a roll to the right.
Flaps are located on the inboard end of the wing, next to the fuselage. Flaps can be deployed during descent to landing to provide increased lift, and increased drag to slow the aircraft. Flaps permit a steeper descent without build-up of excessive speed.
The horizontal stabilizer and elevators are located on the tail of the fuselage. The horizontal stabilizers are fixed. The elevators are hinged at the aft end of the stabilizers. The Elevators control the pitch (nose-up or nose-down) state of the aircraft.
The vertical stabilizer is attached to the tail of the fuselage. The rudder is hinged to the aft end of the vertical stabilizer. The rudder permits the pilot to move the tail of the aircraft left or right by use of the rudder pedals in the cockpit..
The landing gear shown above is a "tricycle" type, which is comprised of the main gear and the nose wheel. Some aircraft, however, have a tail wheel instead of the nose wheel. These aircraft are usually of earlier design, and are lovingly called "tail draggers" by many pilots. Most "training type" aircraft have "fixed" landing gear, such as the gear remains stationary in flight and cannot be "retracted". Higher performance aircraft usually are equipped with "retractable" landing gear to reduce aerodynamic drag during flight.
The engine and propeller provide the forward thrust necessary to attain sufficient speed to achieve flight. The engine is housed under the cowling, at the nose of the aircraft.
Some aircraft have secondary control surfaces called trim tabs. These tabs can be located on the elevators to aid in maintaining pitch of the aircraft. Other tabs can also be located on the ailerons and rudder to aid in stabilizing the roll and yaw characteristics as an assist in maintaining the flight configuration selected by the pilot.
Axes of Rotation
The aircraft is free to move around 3 different axes.
- The LONGITUDINAL AXIS is an imaginary line( line X - X ) from nose to tail. Rotation around the LONGITUDINAL axis is called ROLL. Roll is controlled by the ailerons. When the pilot turns the CONTROL WHEEL (or in some aircraft a control stick), to the RIGHT the right aileron deflects upward, while the left aileron deflects downward. This causes the right wing to produce less lift and the left wing to produce greater lift. This unequal lift causes the airplane to ROLL to the right as long as the ailerons remain in this condition. In order to stop the roll, it is necessary to neutralize the ailerons. The aircraft will remain in a "banked" condition until rolled back to level by application of opposite aileron action.
- The LATERAL AXIS is an imaginary line ( line Y-Y ) from wingtip to wingtip. Rotation around the LATERAL axis is called PITCH. The "nose up" or "nose down" pitch of the aircraft is controlled by use of the elevator surfaces of the tail. When the pilot pulls the control wheel (or control stick) rearward, the elevators deflect upward, forcing the tail downward. This is referred to as a "nose up attitude". When the control wheel or stick is moved forward, the opposite reactions occur, causing a "nose down attitude".
- The VERTICAL AXIS is an imaginary vertical line (line Z_Z )running through the center of gravity of the aircraft. Rotation around the VERTICAL axis is called YAW. Yaw is predominately controlled by use of the rudder. Left rudder pedal depression in the cockpit deflects the rudder surface to the left. This causes the tail of the aircraft to move to the right, creating a yaw to the left about the vertical axis. Application of right rudder similarly causes yaw to the right.