keep smiling (and flying)...

Wings and Wheels

tricycle undercarriage - two wheels under the wing area and a nose wheel all attached under the fuselage. this is quite a common configuration ... i have started my training with this configuration.

wheels are needed to manoeuvre on the ground - landing, taxiing and parking. brakes are also required.

the undercarriage or landing gear
- fixed (lower cost, speed and weight) and retractable (for higher speed and an endorsement on licence is also needed).

the nose wheel is used to steer the aircraft on the ground. the nose wheel is operated from within the cockpit via pedals mounted on the floor. left pedal pushed forward will turn the aircraft left and same with the right pedal. brakes are normally operated by the same pedals but depressing them lower down. brakes can be operated independently or simultaneously. when operated independently it can help aid in steering and providing a on the spot or tight turn whilst on the ground. use the nose wheel configuration for crosswinds and prepared surfaces.

tail wheel is another configuration and generally referred as a "tail dragger". A licence endorsement is needed for this undercarriage configuration. generally seen in older aircraft as they were operated on grass fields or strips and a nose wheel was vulnerable to damage on these uneven surfaces. the tail wheel is harder to manage on the ground and during take off and landings (in crosswinds). they take off into the wind, they are lighter and offer less wind resistance or drag. many agricultural and aerobatic aircraft still use a tail wheel configuration, for unprepared runways for ag work and reduction of drag and weight for aerobatics.
wings - not only used for lift but fuel storage. the engine won't run without fuel!

high wing - the wings are mounted on the top of the cabin area. may also have struts. they are bars from mid wing to cabin. great for scenic flights. farmers aircraft are also configured in this way as the wings can clear fences and makes it easier to load and unload freight. e.g. cessna 172 or de havilland Canada dash 8

low wing - the wings are mounted on the bottom of the cabin area. used for training and operations in busy areas or for maneuvering near the ground. e.g. piper pa Cherokee or curtiss p-40

mid wing - not that common as the spar of the wing interferes with the cabin space and its complex to transfer the flight loads without a continuous spar.. e.g. de havilland vampire or dyott

shoulder wing - the wings are mounted above the middle section of the fuselage. e.g. arv super 2

parasol wing - the wings are above the fuselage and not directly connected to the fuselage. it is suspended and has structural support by either a system of struts or as in older aircraft, wire bracing. e.g. amateur built pietenpol air camper
Streamlining - used to make the aircraft more efficient. the aircraft needs to be as light and streamlined as possible as it needs to push through the air, the wings have to generate lift to overcome weight. to reduce drag, fairings (structures) are added to the aircraft. for example: fairings are added to blend the wings to fuselage, the antenna to roof, also to cover the wheels.
cowls is the covers that are placed over the engine.