Ask Captain Dan: What are those panels on top of the wing surface? Our Resident Pilot Answers Flight Questions.

Toronto ON – Pilot Dan Baz is answering your flying questions here on the Cornwall Free News.


If you have a question about flying you can email Captain Dan or post below.


What are those panels on top of the wing surface that sometimes rise in flight and also on landing?
Question asked by Todd.


There are several panels on top of the wings of large jet airplanes, that move up, or down flush with the wings.  These panels are called “Spoiler panels” and they basically reduce the lift of the wings.  These spoiler panels are used for several functions.  In flight they can raise differentially, that is, on one wing only.
This assists in banking and thus turning the airplane.  If the pilot wants to turn the airplane to the right, the spoiler panels on the right wing will rise, the right wing will move down and the airplane will turn to the right.   If the pilot turns the airplane to the left, the spoilers on the left wing would rise.  In flight the spoiler panels can also be used to slow the airplane down or to increase the rate of descent.  In this case the spoiler panels rise symmetrically, equally on both wings, to reduce the amount of lift that the wings produce.
During landing when the airplane touches down on the runway, the spoiler panels rise on both wings equally and to maximum extension.  This stops the wings from producing lift, thus the weight of the airplane is transferred to the wheels and tires for more efficient braking.

A bit more about Captain Dan:

Captain Dan Baz enrolled in Flight School at the age of 16.

He has completed studies in Aircraft Engineering and Master of Business Administration. He has been at the controls of many different types of aircraft, from single engine Cessnas to large intercontinental jets on global routes.

Over the last four decades he has flown thousands of hours up in the blue sky.

Best Western

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