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the speed brakes

 The Speed Brakes


Lift Decreasing

  • Lift decreasing devices are the speed brakes (spoilers). In some installations, there are two types of spoilers. The ground spoiler is extended only after the aircraft is on the ground, thereby assisting in the braking action.
  •  The flight spoiler assists in lateral control by being extended whenever the aileron on that wing is rotated up. When actuated as speed brakes, the spoiler panels on both wings raise up. 
  • In-flight spoilers may also be located along the sides, underneath the fuselage, or back at the tail. In some aircraft designs, the wing panel on the up aileron side rises more than the wing panel on the down aileron side. This provides speed brake operation and lateral control simultaneously.

Lift Augmenting

  • Flaps are located on the trailing edge of the wing and are moveable to increase the wing area, thereby increasing lift on takeoff, and decreasing the speed during landing. 
  • These airfoils are retractable and fair into the wing contour. Others are simply a portion of the lower skin that extends into the airstream, thereby slowing the aircraft. 
  • Leading-edge flaps also referred to as slats, are airfoils extended from and retracted into the leading edge of the wing. Some installations create a slot (an opening between the extended airfoil and the leading edge).
  • At low airspeeds, this slot increases lift and improves handling characteristics, allowing the aircraft to be controlled at airspeeds below the normal landing speed.
  • Other installations have permanent slots built in the leading edge of the wing. At cruising speeds, the trailing edge and leading-edge flaps (slats) are retracted into the wing proper. 
  • Slats are movable control surfaces attached to the leading edges of the wings. When the slat is closed, it forms the leading edge of the wing.
  •  When in the open position (extended forward), a slot is created between the slat and the wing leading edge. At low airspeeds, this increases lift and improves handling characteristics, allowing the aircraft to be controlled at airspeeds below the normal landing speed.


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