Wings develop the major portion of the lift of a
heavier-than-air aircraft. Wing structures carry some of
the heavier loads found in the aircraft structure. The
particular design of a wing depends on many factors,
such as the size, weight, speed, rate of climb, and use of
the aircraft. The wing must be constructed so that it
holds its aerodynamics shape under the extreme
stresses of combat maneuvers or wing loading.
Wing construction is similar in most modern
aircraft. In its simplest form, the wing is a framework
made up of spars and ribs and covered with metal. The
construction of an aircraft wing is shown in figure 4-8.
Spars are the main structural members of the wing.
They extend from the fuselage to the tip of the wing. All
the load carried by the wing is taken up by the spars.
The spars are designed to have great bending strength.
Ribs give the wing section its shape, and they transmit
the air load from the wing covering to the spars. Ribs
extend from the leading edge to the trailing edge of the
In addition to the main spars, some wings have a
false spar to support the ailerons and flaps. Most
aircraft wings have a removable tip, which streamlines
the outer end of the wing.
Most Navy aircraft are designed with a wing
referred to as a wet wing. This term describes the wing
that is constructed so it can be used as a fuel cell. The
wet wing is sealed with a fuel-resistant compound as it
is built. The wing holds fuel without the usual rubber
cells or tanks.
The wings of most naval aircraft are of all metal,
full cantilever construction. Often, they may be folded
for carrier use. A full cantilever wing structure is very
strong. The wing can be fastened to the fuselage
without the use of external bracing, such as wires or
A complete wing assembly consists of the surface
providing lift for the support of the aircraft. It also
provides the necessary flight control surfaces.
The flight control surfaces on a simple
wing may include only ailerons and trailing edge flaps.
The more complex aircraft may have a variety of
devices, such as leading edge flaps, slats, spoilers, and
Various points on the wing are located by wing
station numbers (fig. 4-7). Wing station (WS) 0 is
located at the centerline of the fuselage, and all wing
stations are measured (right or left) from this point (in
The stabilizing surfaces of an aircraft consist of
vertical and horizontal airfoils. They are called the
Figure 4-8.Two-spar wing construction.