Essay by SoloHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1994

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One of the first things that is likely to be noticed

during a visit to the local airport is the wide variety of

airplane styles and designs. Although, at first glance, it

may be seen that airplanes look quite different from one

another, in the long run their major components are quite

similar. These similarities lie in the fuselage, wing,

empennage, landing gear, and powerplant. The four forces of

flight which all planes have in common are lift, weight,

thrust, and drag.

The fuselage serves several functions. Besides being a

common attachment point for the other major components, it

houses the cabin, or cockpit, which contains seats for the

occupants and the controls for the airplane. The fuselage

usually has a small baggage compartment and may include

additional seats for passengers.

When air flows around the wings of an airplane, it

generates a force called 'lift' that helps the airplane fly.

Wings are contoured to take maximum advantage of this force.

Wings may be attached at the top, middle, or lower portion of

the fuselage. These designs are referred to as high-, mid-,

and low-wing, respectively. The number of wings can also

vary. Airplanes with a single set of wings are referred to

as monoplanes, while those with two sets are called biplanes.

To help fly the airplane, the wings have two types of

control surfaces attached to the rear, or trailing, edges.

They are referred to as ailerons and flaps. Ailerons extend

from about the midpoint of each wing outward to the tip.

They move in opposite directions - when one aileron goes up,

the other goes down. Flaps extend outward from the fuselage

to the midpoint of each wing. They always move in the same

direction. If one flap is down, the other one is...