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Evolution of the Aircraft Wings

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The wings are the heart of an aircraft. Missing wings means an incomplete aircraft. Almost everything has an evolution. The planet Earth, humans, animals, countries, cultures, religions, etc. You can endlessly continue counting the amount of things that have an evolution. Just like other things, aircraft wings also have an evolution. Just imagine, why would someone spend days and nights in order to bring the idea of the aircraft wings into practice? Who could it be? How did the wing slowly develop? How difficult could it be? Every single question like these slowly builds up the evolution of the aircraft wings.

Evolution never ends. Everything keeps evolving and so do the aircraft wings, with the main motive to improve aircrafts and make them way more advanced. If you will look at a modern airliner and compare it with an aircraft of the early twentieth century, you will see a big difference. The credit of the first successful airplane in the history goes to the Wright brothers.

The Wright brothers play a very important role in the history (revolution/evolution) of the aeronautics. They made the first successful airplane in 1903. Sounds very ridiculous, because how did they manage to do that successfully in a period when technology didn’t used to be as much advanced as now or when such technology wasn’t introduced to everyone?

Orville Wright (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912) are the Wright brothers. After their first attempt was unsuccessful, they immediately realized that wings must have a high aspect ratio in order for the aircraft to fly. The higher the aspect ratio of the wings, the faster and better it will be able to generate lift.

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That must’ve been a big advantage for them, otherwise it would’ve been very difficult or eventually impossible for them to develop the first successful airplane, so again, the wings and its functions are very important to have a clear vision about. In other words, if they were able to produce a wing shape that was good enough to generate the sufficient amount of lift, then 60% of them would’ve been done and they obviously did.

In 1900 and 1901, the Wright brothers designed the wings of their first gliders, but all the data they used for it was not invented by them. It was based on Otto Lilienthal’s aerodynamic data, but unfortunately, they got to know that their measured aerodynamic lift was not the same according to the data they used for the production of their wings. Bad luck, but struggle is a part of every achievement. In short, the wings designed by them were not that good because they didn’t produce/generate enough lift.

After their unsuccessful attempt in 1901, they learned that a wing must be produced that should have the ability to generate enough lift. In 1902, the glider they produced was successful, because the wings generated enough lift. The aspect ratio of that glider can indeed be compared to modern conventional airplanes. They started understanding the science behind building an airplane way better than before, what actually led them to make the first successful airplane ever in the history.

This was the beginning, but one and a half decade later, the First World War began. This war is a very unforgettable period in the history as it took the lives of many innocent people. Many planes were used during the war. Whenever you go to a museum (related to the war), you will get to see all those planes that were used during the First World War. You will notice that they are completely different, based on structure. Especially those wings.

The evolution of the wings will continue, because technology will never stop from getting advanced. A century ago, wings were not as strong and beneficial as they are now. Who could’ve thought a full century ago that one day, fuel will be stored in the wings of an airliner or that the wings of any type of aircraft will contain tons of components in it that will make the presentation of the aircraft much better.

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Evolution of the Aircraft Wings. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from
“Evolution of the Aircraft Wings.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
Evolution of the Aircraft Wings. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Mar. 2023].
Evolution of the Aircraft Wings [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2023 Mar 27]. Available from:
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