Those who are frequent flyers might have noticed something odd about the aircraft’s wings. Have you noticed the additional components at the ends of the wings? These sections are known as Winglets, while some are bent upwards, others are oval in the shape.

Do you know the reason for shaping them like that? Continue reading to find out the details behind such shape.

The Purpose of Winglets

Winglets have been in use for decades but hardly anybody would have taken out time to find out the real purpose they serve.

These curved shaped surfaces are primarily used for reducing wingtip vortex produced due to the pressure difference between the upper and lower surface of the wing while an airplane is flying.


Wingtip Vortices – What are these?

When an aircraft is in the air, the airflow is split at the front of the wing. Because of the angle at which the wing is fixed to the aircraft fuselage, there is higher air pressure at the lower surface of the wing than on the upper surface. This leads to the pressure difference between the top and bottom parts of the wing, thus forming leaving behind vortices or mini-tornadoes as the aircraft moves.


The Concern for Aircraft

Wingtip Vortices badly affects the performance, cuts into fuel mileage, range and the speed of the aircraft. They look to be beautiful in the sky but it can cause an aircraft flying through the same region to lose its stability and can lead to an emergency situation.


Winglets – The Best Solution

Winglets have been a major part of the aircraft designs since the 1980’s. The winglets that you see on most of the modern airplanes helps reduce these wingtip vortices thereby increasing their efficiency and reducing fuel burn. They also help cut carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and reduce the community noise. This helps the airlines save money by decreasing the amount of fuel consumed.


The Fun Fact

Why don’t you try out yourself? Simply, make a paper airplane, one with the winglets and other without them. You will see the difference in the Flight directions for sure.


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