When people get asked about the different parts of a plane, they’ll most likely mention the wings, cockpit, tail, and even the landing gear wheels. However, not many people know what a fuselage does. Based on its name, many people think a fuselage is a container of some sort for fuel. In reality, a fuselage is simply hiding in plain sight.
What Exactly Is a Fuselage?
A fuselage comprises the entire airplane’s body, containing the hollow interior and other equipment inside an aircraft. It’s practically the ‘middle part’ of an airplane with wings at the side. It technically houses the cockpit and the tail by its rear.
If the fuselage’s outer shell is breached while in flight, the entire plane will be under intense stress due to air pressure. This endangers the passengers and crew with a sudden loss of pressure and oxygen levels. Thankfully, fuselages are made with durable material to protect their passengers while remaining light and aerodynamic.
In this article, we’ll go over a plane’s five different fuselage types.
- Wooden Fuselages
The early beginnings of fuselages were much different, primarily due to the limitation and experimentation by manufacturers. For example, wooden fuselages were built for optimal aerodynamic design. This means it was extremely light to accommodate flight capabilities but was limited in protection since it was composed of wire-bracing and fabric coverings. Although wood fuselages were used for primitive plane designs, modern hobbyists still prefer them for building small, lightweight planes.
- Aluminum Fuselages
Most modern airplanes use an aluminum fuselage because aluminum is naturally lightweight. Additionally, it’s resistant to rust, making it easier to maintain. This is why airplanes developed from the 1930s onward focused on all-metal designs. While aluminum is a great material for strong and light aircraft, it’s still not the best option for more heavy-duty planes traveling at supersonic speeds.
- Titanium Fuselages
Titanium alloys are typically more costly since they’re a premium material. This is why most commercial airplanes don’t have it. It’s more common to have titanium fuselages for military-grade aircraft since they have much better properties than other fuselage options.
- Steel Fuselages
Steel is a typical choice for construction material due to its weight and rigidity. However, it can also be used for aircraft. While its weight makes it less ideal for an entire plane, different components like landing gears can benefit from its durability. Additionally, steel fuselages are perfect for supersonic planes since it has much greater resistance than aluminum.
- Carbon Composite Fuselages
Most state-of-the-art aircraft forgo the traditional choice of steel or aluminum fuselages. Instead, they utilize carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers. These carbon composites are more resilient than typical fuselage materials, making them effective and durable during high-speed flights. With its light load, it’s much easier to build a plane with faster flight capability with half the load in weight.
A fuselage is just one of the many components of a plane, with thousands of airplane parts built and rebuilt every day. This is because airplanes need to keep improving to keep up with technological advancements. Since there’s so much scrap material to go around with, manufacturers have found a way to turn scrap metal into interesting trinkets for diehard collectors of aircraft accessories and memorabilia.
At Part of A Plane, we sell unique products derived from aircraft skins, making them have a unique feel and bearing. It's a great way to bring a piece of history and the ingenuity of airplanes to the palm of your hand. Shop for different fuselage creations today and feel the difference of having a stylish aircraft-based accessory