View of the Flaps operation on the wing during a landing
Dear Capt. Lim
Can I please know what is flaps used for?
Tan Jun Yan
How an airplane fly
Hi Jun Yan,
Flaps are devices at the trailing edge of an airplane wings used to either increase its lift or drag depending on the selection by the pilot. The higher the selection of the flap is, the greater the drag. It is like when your palm is flat against the wind flow as you stretch your hand out in a moving car. As you reduce the angle against the airflow, the drag reduces and you get better lift whereby your hand moves up.
Flaps are used when the aircraft is slowing down in preparation for a landing. In a plane, flaps are usually used for both takeoff and landing. They are partially extended before takeoff to increase lift and reduce the runway distance required to leave the ground. They are fully extended during the landing phase to allow the aircraft to safely approach the runway at the lowest possible speed.
When a bird flies, it flaps its wings - moving them up and down swiftly. In that sense, its function is slightly different as compared to the flaps which move very gradually in an airplane.
There are many different types of flaps in airplanes but all serve the purpose of either increasing the lift or drag depending on the need of the aircraft.
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