- Leading edge
The leading edge is a line connecting the forward-most points of a
wing's profile. In other words, it's the front edge of the wing. When an aircraft is moving forward, the leading edge is that part of the wing that first contacts the air.Crane, Dale: "Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms, third edition", page 305. Aviation Supplies & Academics, 1997. ISBN 1-56027-287-2]
During a tailslide, from an aerodynamic point-of-view, the
trailing edgebecomes the leading edge and vice-versa.
The leading edge may be equipped with one or more of the following:
leading edge extensions,
* a leading edge cuff
The leading edge of a wing can be perpendicular to the airflow, in which case it is called a straight wing. If it meets the airflow at an angle it is referred to as a
swept wing. Some aircraft, like the General Dynamics F-111, have moving wings which are referred to as swing wings.
In high-speed aircraft (such as the
Space Shuttle), air friction can cause extreme heating of the leading edge. This was the cause of the accident of the Space Shuttle Columbiaduring re-entry on February 1, 2003. The accident was preceded by a small amount of damage to the RCC tiles on the leading edge, which occurred during take-off.
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