Aircraft Fairings and Their Types

Posted on February 11, 2021 Anthony Cordle Aircraft Fairings and Their Types

An aircraft fairing is a structure that serves to produce a smooth outline and diminish drag on aircraft surfaces. Fairing's primary functions are as covers for gaps and spaces between parts of an aircraft to reduce both form drag and interference drag while improving appearance.

Types of Aircraft Fairing

There are many different types of fairings for use on varying parts of an aircraft. This blog will explain each one and its unique characteristics.

1. Belly Fairings - These fairings, also known as ventral fairings, are located between the main wings on the underside of the fuselage. Bell fairings can also be used to cover additional cargo storage areas or fuel tanks.

2. Cockpit Fairings - A cockpit fairing, or cockpit pod, is a type of fairing used on hang gliders to protect the crew. They are typically made from fiberglass and sometimes incorporate a windshield.

3.Elevator and Horizontal Stabilizer Tips - As their name suggests, these fairings are used to smooth out airflow at the edges of the elevator and stabilizer.

4. Engine Cowlings - Engine cowlings reduce the surface area of the engine, thereby reducing parasitic drag. They create a smooth surface which leads to laminar flow, and a nose cone shape which prevents early flow separation. Combination of the nozzle and inlet results in a reduction of isotropic speed around the cooling fins due to the speed-squared law and a reduction in cooling drag.

5.Fin and Rudder Tips Fairings - These fairings reduce drag at low angles of attack. However, they also reduce the stall angle, so the fairings used on control surfaces often depend on the application.

6.Fixed Landing Gear Junctions - Landing gear fairings, as their name suggests, are fairings designed to reduce drag at landing gear junctions.

7. Flap Track Fairings - Flap track fairings are found on jet airliners and other subsonic aircraft. When operating at transonic speeds between Mach 0.8 and 1.2, these fairings minimize wave drag through a process known as area rule.

8. Spinner - A spinner is a type of cover that streamlines the propeller hub.

9. Tail Cones - Tail cones recover the pressure behind the fuselage, thereby reducing the form drag. They are designed such that they add no friction drag.

10. Wing Root Fairings - Wing root fairings are in place to reduce interference drag between the wing and fuselage. Typically both above and below the wing, wing roots consist of rounded edges to reduce the surface and friction drag. Wing roots smooth out the high pressure at the leading and trailing edge, and the low pressure atop the wing and around the fuselage.

11. Wing Tips - Wing tips are typically complex shapes that reduce drag as well as vortex generation. They are especially effective at low speed.

12. Wheel Fairings - Also known as wheel pants or speed fairings, these provide a smooth surface & a faired nose and tail for laminar flow to reduce the turbulence created by the wheel and the adjacent landing gear legs and brakes. The drawback of these fairings is that they increase the frontal surface area, which slightly harms their drag-reducing capabilities. However, wheel fairings have the added benefit of preventing debris from being thrown upward against the wings or fuselage, or into the propeller.

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