What is the Wing of an aircraft?

‘Wing’ – Generally, birds use it to fly in the vast blue sky. The wing on an aircraft also does the same purpose effectively. The Wing is the most predominant part of an aircraft in producing lift.

But how does it produce the lift? The reason behind the lift generated by a wing is the famous ‘Bernoulli’s principle.’

Also, the lift varies with the angle of attack. The angle of attack is nothing but the angle between the line of the chord of an airfoil and the relative airflow. After a certain angle of attack, the aircraft begins to stall (generally in the range of 15-20 degrees).

Types of Wings and its configurations:

To attain different purposes and needs, there are many different types of wings. They are:

·        Rectangular Wing

·        Elliptical wing

·        Tapered Wing

·        Delta Wing

·        Trapezoidal Wing

·        Ogive Wing

·        Swept Back Wings

·        Forward-Swept Wings

·        Variable Sweep wings 

Types of wing configuration:

The three main types of wing configuration are:

·        High wing

·        Mid wing

·        Low wing

Low wing configuration:

In this configuration, the bottom of the fuselage bears the wing. The main advantage of this configuration aircraft has better visibility above and on the sides of the aircraft. It causes a better ground effect which increases lift and reduces the drag of the aircraft when it is nearer to the earth’s surface. It provides great support for the landing gears. Few disadvantages of this configuration are the Visibility of the passenger gets blocked and Lack of space for movement on the ground for ground staff at the time of aircraft maintenance.

Examples for low wing aircraft:

Airbus A380

Boeing 787

Mid Wing Configuration:

In this configuration, the aircraft with its wing attached at the mid-portion of the fuselage is known as Mid wing aircraft. It uses a symmetrical airfoil unlike, high wing & low wing aircraft. As its symmetrical airfoil gives more speed. This type of aircraft can be lifted in a vertically reverse direction. This enables stunt aircraft to flip & fly. It allows us to have a better rolling movement than high wing & low wing aircraft. Thus, it has better rolling stability. This aircraft is exclusive to carry weapons such as missiles and bombs. The reason behind this aircraft not being used as a commercial passenger is because it occupies a lot of useful space.

Examples of mid-wing aircraft:

De Havilland Vampire T11

Brewster SB2A Buccaneer

High wing Configuration:

In these aircraft wings are attached at the top of the fuselage are known as High wing aircraft. Almost all-cargo aircraft have this type of configuration. Unlike low wing aircraft, it has better visibility for the passenger sitting at the side of the wing. It provides lots of space available for ground staff to do maintenance of the aircraft, whereas low wing aircraft block the space. Even though it has clear visibility to the passengers, it blocks the visibility of the pilot while turning. The tedious task is refueling due to the height of the wing.

Examples of high wing aircraft:

Antonov An- 225

Boeing globe master C17

But why the new pilots are always trained in High wing planes?

Comparing with the other two types of configurations, the high wing planes are mostly preferred to train new pilots, because of the following reasons:


The accessibility in high wing planes is more convenient than the other two types. In high wing planes, getting in and out of the plane is easier. While in Low wing planes, the pilot has to step up on the wing to enter the cockpit. This gradually reduces the structural strength of the wing.

Effect of Heat:

While flying in low wing and mid-wing planes, the pilot will feel the warmth of the sun. But in high wing planes, the wing will provide shelter to the pilot’s cabin and reduces the warm feel.


In low wing and mid-wing planes, the visibility of ground in a side-ward will not be clear. The trainee pilot must have to lend an eye on the ground for the perfect landing. While in high wing planes, the visibility of ground is explicit and it will help the training pilot to practice safe landing.

These are some of the reasons why new pilots prefer ‘high wing planes’ for training purposes.

– by Pradeep and Rajarajan