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Date: 2020
Publisher: Gale, a Cengage Company
Document Type: Topic overview
Length: 363 words
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Airplane An airplane soars through the sky. An airplane soars through the sky. © Skycolors

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Words to Know

part of a plane or boat with blades that turn

Airplanes, or planes, are a kind of aircraft. They have an engine and wings. Airplanes are heavier than air.

There are many kinds of airplanes. Some carry passengers. Others carry cargo.

The military also has airplanes. Some are fighter jets. They fly very fast.

Some planes are small. People fly them for fun. These planes have a propeller in the front.

Parts of an Airplane

Planes have many parts. Some basic parts are discussed here.


The fuselage is the body of the plane. It has a frame. It is covered in lightweight materials.

The inside of the fuselage is hollow. It carries people or cargo.


The wings have parts. The pilot can move these parts. This changes the amount of force on the wings.


The tail is in the back of the plane. It helps the plane fly. It helps it fly straight.

Landing Gear

The landing gear helps the plane land. It reduces shock. This makes the landing smooth.

Planes often have two tires under them. They have a third under the tail.


A plane also has one or more engines. Larger planes have more engines.

Smaller planes have one engine. They also have a propeller.


The flight controls make the plane move. They are in the cockpit. The pilot and copilot use the controls.


Flight instruments are also in the cockpit. They help the pilot know where to fly the plane. They let the pilot know about nearby planes.

How Planes Fly

Gravity makes it hard to fly planes. Gravity is a force. It pulls things toward Earth.

Four forces help planes fly. They are lift, weight, thrust, and drag.

The wings on a plane push air down. But the air pushes up. This creates lift.

The weight on a plane must be even. It cannot be heavier in the front of the plane. It cannot be heavier in the back, either.

Thrust pushes a plane forward. It is created by the engine.

Drag is a force. It slows the plane. Planes are made in a special way. This reduces drag.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|NMGGKX369966226