Leading edge

Cross section of an aerodynamic surface with the leading edge emphasised
The leading edge of the Buran space shuttle transported to the Technik Museum Speyer

Airfoil surface such as a wing is its foremost edge and is therefore the part which first meets the oncoming air.

- Leading edge

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Leading-edge slat

Slats are aerodynamic surfaces on wing leading edge of the of fixed-wing aircraft which, when deployed, allow the wing to operate at a higher angle of attack.

The position of the leading-edge slats on an airliner (Airbus A310-300). In this picture, the slats are drooped. Note also the extended trailing-edge flaps.
Slats on the leading edge of an Airbus A318 of Air France
Automatic slats of a Messerschmitt Bf 109
The wing of a landing Airbus A319-100. The slats at the leading edge and the flaps at the trailing edge are extended.
The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch had permanently extended slots on its leading edges (fixed slats).
A319 slats during and after landing

Fresh boundary layer effect: Each new element starts out with a fresh boundary layer at its leading edge. Thin boundary layers can withstand stronger adverse gradients than thick ones.

Chord (aeronautics)

Airfoil nomenclature showing chord line
Chord line of a turbine airfoil section.
Chords on a swept-wing

In aeronautics, the chord is an imaginary straight line joining the leading edge and trailing edge of an aerofoil.


Type of fin that produces lift while moving through air or some other fluid.

A swept wing KC-10 Extender (top) refuels a trapezoidal-wing F-22 Raptor.
A white stork flying by flapping its wings.
Condensation in the low pressure region over the wing of an Airbus A340, passing through humid air
Flaps (green) are used in various configurations to increase the wing area and to increase the lift. In conjunction with spoilers (red), flaps maximize drag and minimize lift during the landing roll.
The wing of a landing BMI Airbus A319-100. The slats at its leading edge and the flaps at its trailing edge are extended.
Winged tree seeds that cause autorotation in descent
A laughing gull, exhibiting the "gull wing" outline
Bat in flight

A rounded leading edge cross-section

Krueger flap

Krueger flaps deployed from the leading edge of a Boeing 747 (top left and right in photo).
Krueger flap operation
Slat operation

Krueger flaps, or Krüger flaps, are lift enhancement devices that may be fitted to the leading edge of an aircraft wing.

Leading-edge slot

Fixed aerodynamic feature of the wing of some aircraft to reduce the stall speed and promote good low-speed handling qualities.

A leading-edge slot on a STOL aircraft
Full-span leading-edge slot in the wing of the PZL-104M Wilga 2000
Partial-span leading-edge slot in the wing of a Stinson 108-3
Fieseler Storch with full-span slots
A Zenith STOL CH 701 showing its full-span slot.

A leading-edge slot is a fixed (non-closing) gap behind the wing's leading edge.


Cross-sectional shape of an object whose motion through a gas is capable of generating significant lift, such as a wing, a sail, or the blades of propeller, rotor, or turbine.

Examples of airfoils in nature and in or on various vehicles. The dolphin flipper at bottom left obeys the same principles in a different fluid medium; it is an example of a hydrofoil.
Streamlines around a NACA 0012 airfoil at moderate angle of attack
Lift and drag curves for a typical airfoil
Airfoil nomenclature
Different definitions of airfoil thickness
An airfoil designed for winglets (PSU 90-125WL)
An airfoil section is displayed at the tip of this Denney Kitfox aircraft, built in 1991.
Airfoil of a Kamov Ka-26 helicopter's lower rotor blade

Airfoils can be designed for use at different speeds by modifying their geometry: those for subsonic flight generally have a rounded leading edge, while those designed for supersonic flight tend to be slimmer with a sharp leading edge.

Stall strips

One of a pair of stall strips installed on an American Aviation AA-1 Yankee during manufacture
The CL-215 has a stall strip on the right wing only

A stall strip is a small component fixed to the leading edge of the wing of an airplane to modify its aerodynamic characteristics.

Mast-aft rig

Sailboat sail-plan that uses a single mast set in the aft half of the hull.

With no boom that could sweep them into the sea, sailors on this mast-aft rig are able to utilize the roof of the pilot house.
Model "HK-40" By RB Power and Sail of Thailand.

The stay that supports the leading edge of the sail causes far less turbulence than a mast, resulting in better airflow across the lee side of the sail.

UTA Flight 141

Scheduled international passenger flight operated by Guinean regional airline Union des Transports Africains de Guinée, flying from Conakry to Dubai with stopovers in Benin, Libya and Lebanon.

The destroyed cockpit section of the aircraft
The aircraft involved in the crash while still operating as American Airlines at Miami International Airport with Registration N865AA
An illustration of how centre of gravity works in an aircraft. A shift of centre of gravity would have diminished the aircraft's ability to fly properly.

The leading edge and the outer aileron from the right wing then separated from the airframe.

Tupolev Tu-144

Soviet supersonic passenger airliner designed by Tupolev in operation from 1968 to 1999.

Tu-144 prototype in flight on 1 February 1969
MiG-21I Analog, used as a testbed for the Tu-144's wing
Tu-144 prototype in June 1971, Berlin Schönefeld Airport
View of the front of the Tu-144, with the distinctive retractable moustache canards deployed and drooped nose
Aeroflot Tu-144 at the Paris Air Show in 1975.
Flight Engineer Panel.
The first production Tu-144S displaying at the 1973 Paris Air Show on the day before it crashed. The aircraft's planform and canards are clearly shown.
Tu-144 with distinctive droop nose at the MAKS-2007 exhibition
The Tu-144LL used by NASA to carry out research for the High Speed Civil Transport
Tu-144LL in flight
Tu-144 at the Paris Air Show, 2 June 1973, day before the crash
Tu-144S #77106 preserved at Monino museum
Tu-144D #77112 on display at Technik Museum Sinsheim, Germany
Tu-144 at Sinsheim, side view.
Panoramic rear view – TU-144 at Sinsheim Museum
Flight profile of Tu-144 and Mirage IIIR
Orthographically projected diagram of the Tu-144LL

The list included de-icing equipment for the leading edge of the air intakes, fuel-system pipes and devices to improve durability of these pipes, drain valves for fuel tanks, fireproof paints, navigation and piloting equipment, systems and techniques for acoustical loading of airframe and controls (to test against acoustic fatigue caused by high jet-noise environment), ways to reinforce the airframe to withstand damage, firefighting equipment, including warning devices and lightning protection, emergency power supply, and landing gear spray guards (a.k.a. water deflectors or "mud flaps" that increase engine efficiency when taking off from wet airstrips).