Familiarisation with the Aircraft


1.- Be able to identify the different parts of an aircraft

2.- See a cockpit/system resume of the aircraft

3.- Describe the Four Forces of Flight

-Aircraft Parts-

Before we even enter the aircraft. It is recommendable to have a basic knowledge of the parts that form it and their specific function

  1. Propeller -> It is attached to the engine and moves the aircraft forward

  2. Engine -> It uses fuel to generate energy and move the propeller

  3. Fuselage -> Central part of the aircraft where is the pilot, the passengers, the baggage...etc

  4. Landing Gear -> It supports and allows directional control when the aircraft is on the ground

  5. Wings -> Generate lift and store the fuel for the engine

  6. Navigation Lights -> Red/Green lights used to know the aircraft position

  7. Ailerons -> To incline the wings to the left/right

  8. Flaps -> Devices use to generate additional lift and drag

  9. Radio Antenna -> To allow communication with the control tower or other aircraft

  10. Horizontal Stabilizer -> Horizontal component of the tail

  11. Elevator -> To move the nose up/down

  12. Vertical Stabilizer -> Vertical component of the tail

  13. Rudder -> To move the nose left/right

  14. Flashing Beacon -> Light to indicate that the engine is running

Foto de Antonio Moran.jpg

-Aircraft Cockpit-

A cockpit, also known as flight deck is the area from which the pilot operates the different aircraft controls and systems

In this section, we will introduce you to the flight instruments ("six-pack") that can be displayed in analogue or digital systems

  1. Airspeed Indicator -> Indicates the speed of the aircraft in knots (1 kt = 1.852 kph = 1.15 mph )

  2. Attitude Indicator -> Indicates the position of the aircraft wings and nose in reference to the Earth´s horizon

  3. Altitude Indicator -> Indicates our altitude over the sea level (1 ft = 0.3048 m)

  4. Turn Coordinator -> Indicates direction and coordination of a turn (we will discuss coordination in another lesson)

  5. Directional Gyro -> Indicates the heading (North/East/South/West) in which the aircraft is pointing

  6. Vertical Speed Indicator -> Indicates how fast the aircraft is climbing/descending (ft/min)


-The Four Forces of the Flight-

The wings of an aircraft keep the aircraft in the air, but there are four forces in total that act to make the flight possible. These forces push the aircraft up, down, forward or slow it down:

  1. Lift -> It is the force that makes flight possible and it is produced by the wings. Lift opposes weight

  2. Thrust -> If the lift is the force that makes flight possible, thrust is the force that sustains it. It is the force that moves an aircraft in the direction of motion and is created by a propeller or a jet engine. Thrust opposes drag

  3. Weight -> It is the force caused by the mass of the aircraft being pulled to the centre of the Earth by gravity. Weight opposes lift

  4. Drag -> It is the force that acts opposite to the direction of motion and tends to slow an object. Drag is caused by friction and differences in air pressure (we will discuss this later on). Drag opposes thrust