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Boeing 777 flaperon
Flaperons on a Denney Kitfox Model 3, built in 1991
Flaperons (Junkers style) on an ICP Savannah Model S, built in 2010
Work of the flaperon of Boeing 777

A flaperon (a portmanteau of flap and aileron) on an aircraft's wing is a type of control surface that combines the functions of both flaps and ailerons. Some smaller kitplanes have flaperons for reasons of simplicity of manufacture, while some large commercial aircraft such as the Boeing 747, 767, 777, and 787 may have a flaperon between the flaps and aileron. The 787 has a configuration known as a SpoileFlaperon that combines the action of spoilers, flaps and ailerons into one control surface.


In addition to controlling the roll or bank of an aircraft, as do conventional ailerons, both flaperons can be lowered together to reduce stall speed, similarly to a set of flaps.

On a plane with flaperons, the pilot still has the standard separate controls for ailerons and flaps, but the flap control also varies the flaperon's range of movement. A mechanical device called a "mixer" is used to combine the pilot's input into the flaperons. While the use of flaperons rather than ailerons and flaps might seem to be a simplification, some complexity remains through the intricacies of the mixer.[citation needed]

Some aircraft, such as the Denney Kitfox, suspend the flaperons below the wing (rather in the manner of slotted flaps) to provide undisturbed airflow at high angles of attack or low airspeeds.[1] When the flaperon surface is hinged below the trailing edge of a wing, they are sometimes named "Junkers flaperons", from the doppelflügel (lit., "double wing") type of trailing edge surfaces used on a number of Junkers aircraft of the 1930s, such as the Junkers Ju 52 airliner, and the iconic Junkers Ju 87 Stuka World War II dive bomber.[citation needed]


Research seeks[when?] to coordinate the functions of aircraft flight control surfaces (ailerons, elevators, elevons, flaps, and flaperons) so as to reduce weight, cost, drag, and inertia, and thereby achieve improved control response, reduced complexity, and reduced radar visibility for stealth purposes. Beneficiaries of such research might include drones (UAVs) and the latest fighter aircraft.[citation needed]

These research approaches include flexible wings and fluidics:

Flexible wings

In flexible wings, much or all of a wing surface can change shape in flight to deflect air flow. The X-53 Active Aeroelastic Wing is a NASA effort. The Adaptive Compliant Wing is a military and commercial effort.[2][3][4] This may be seen as a return to the wing warping used and patented by the Wright brothers.


In fluidics, forces in vehicles occur via circulation control,[clarification needed] in which larger, more complex mechanical parts are replaced by smaller simpler fluidic systems (slots which emit air flows), where larger forces in fluids are diverted by smaller jets or flows of fluid intermittently, to change the direction of vehicles.[5][6][7] In this use, fluidics promises lower mass and costs (as little as half), and very low inertia and response times, as well as simplicity.[citation needed][clarification needed]

See also


  1. ^ "LAA Type Acceptance Data Sheet Issue 7 Rev A" (PDF). Light Aircraft Association Data Sheet. March 2, 2021. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  2. ^ Scott, William B. (27 November 2006), "Morphing Wings", Aviation Week & Space Technology, archived from the original on 26 April 2011, retrieved 27 April 2011
  3. ^ "FlexSys Inc.: Aerospace". Archived from the original on 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  4. ^ Kota, Sridhar; Osborn, Russell; Ervin, Gregory; Maric, Dragan; Flick, Peter; Paul, Donald. "Mission Adaptive Compliant Wing – Design, Fabrication and Flight Test" (PDF). Ann Arbor, MI; Dayton, OH, U.S.A.: FlexSys Inc., Air Force Research Laboratory. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2011-04-26.
  5. ^ P John (2010). "The flapless air vehicle integrated industrial research (FLAVIIR) programme in aeronautical engineering". Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering. London: Mechanical Engineering Publications. 224 (4): 355–363. doi:10.1243/09544100JAERO580. hdl:1826/5579. ISSN 0954-4100. S2CID 56205932. Archived from the original on 2018-05-17.
  6. ^ "Showcase UAV Demonstrates Flapless Flight". BAE Systems. 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  7. ^ "Demon UAV jets into history by flying without flaps". London: Associated Newspapers Limited. 28 September 2010.