What Are Ailerons?

An aileron (which means “little wing” in French) is a hinged flap that is usually located at the trailing edge of each wing of an aircraft. Ailerons are flight control devices used in controlling rolls or other movements around the aircraft’s longitudinal axis, such as banking. Engaging the ailerons tilts the lift vector and thus results in a change of flight path. Ailerons are interconnected, so that when one is pointed upwards, which decreases the lift on its side, the other is pointed down, increasing the lift on that side of the aircraft. Some newer aircraft may have a second set of ailerons, in which case the ailerons are differentiated using the terms outboard ailerons and inboard ailerons.

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