AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

How Do Flaps Work?

When operating aircraft, it is essential that one understands major operating components that make flight successful, such as flaps. As different phases of flight necessitate different wing shapes, flaps are affixed along the trailing edge of wings to easily achieve this feature. Working to change the shape of the airfoils, flaps can be raised or lowered to alter a vehicle's lift and drag during takeoff and landing procedures. In this blog, to better understand the purpose of flaps, we will be diving into how they function as flight control surfaces, and how they serve to affect aircraft while airborne.

While primary control surfaces like rudders, ailerons, and elevators exist to control an aircraft's altitude through the use of aerodynamics, secondary flight control surfaces like spoilers, slats, air brakes, and flaps also exist to perform similar functions. In specific, flaps are considered a type of high-lift device that are manufactured based on an aircraft's overall size and design, with some employing up to 3 flaps per wing to greatly increase its curvature. In contrast, smaller vehicles primarily utilize a single, appropriately sized flap per wing. However, regarding aircraft of various sizes, most flaps are primarily affixed to the wings with hinges and are affected by changes in wing camber and chord.

Located directly between the fuselage and ailerons along the outer edges of the wings, flaps can change wing camber and chord when extended and retracted. As wing camber (or curve) is directly proportional to the coefficient of lift, additional lift is created when flaps are extended as air must be redirected around a larger surface area now composing the wing. In regard to a wing’s chord line (or cord), this element is the measurement of a straight line from the leading edge of the wing to its trailing edge. When flaps are lowered, this action changes the cord line, altering and expanding the form of the wing.

Seeing as how increasing aircraft wing surface area can bolster lift, this becomes useful when pilots must induce drag. With this in mind, extending flaps can also reduce aircraft stall speed when preparing to land by minimizing the vehicle's need for a longer descent when nearing touchdown. Moreover, this gives aircraft featuring flaps the ability to increase their angle of attack in flight; therefore, modern planes can now ascend and descend at steeper angles than their flapless counterparts. Common types of flaps currently used today include Krueger flaps, plain flaps, owler flaps, slotted flaps, and others.

A compulsory item on many aircraft, like all components, flaps require mandatory maintenance to promote part longevity and to ensure all associated parts are without damage. If defects are present upon routine inspection based on the assembly’s manufacturer recommendation, all damaged parts should be replaced immediately, leaving the plane grounded until repairs have been made.

When you require specific aviation products to fulfill your operations, we at Stacked Aerospace are available 24/7x365 by phone or email to assist you however necessary. A proud subsidiary of the ASAP Semiconductor family of websites, we operate with strict AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, ensuring that all procured parts are authentic, and ready for immediate implementation. No matter your aerospace part needs, we herold an inventory of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find components, those of which include various types of flaps, chord lines, engines, motors, and more. To receive a rapid quote for your comparisons on any item of interest, we invite you to take advantage of our instant RFQ service to receive a comprehensive quote in as little as 15 minutes or less! 


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February 28, 2022
September 28, 2021

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