The aircraft fuselage is often considered the main airframe structure, serving as the point in which crew members, passengers, and cargo are held. Additionally, a number of major components are attached to the fuselage structure, including the wings and tail. With the great importance of the fuselage, ensuring that it is capable of withstanding the various pressures and stressors that aircraft are typically subject to is crucial for flight safety. Over the years, a variety of designs and materials have been used for fuselage construction, each providing their own benefits and drawbacks over the years.
For many lightweight aircraft, the truss-type fuselage is used for construction. Typically, the truss-type fuselage is one in which welded steel tubes are shaped into a box truss structure, allowing for structural integrity while remaining light in weight. Wood is sometimes an aircraft fuselage material used for box truss structures, and such types are covered with plywood. With the implementation of stringers, the box structure may be rounded and fabrics can be used to establish a better aerodynamic shape.
Between World War I and II, as well as during World War II, the geodesic structure proved to be a new popular method for constructing the aircraft fuselage. To achieve geodesic construction, flap strip stringers are wound around formers to create a basket-style appearance. With such a construction style, the fuselage can remain rigid but light, and wood may be used as the primary aircraft fuselage material. Due to a redundancy in design, aircraft that utilize geodesic construction can often face localized damage without risking complete failure. As a result, such aircraft proved useful during war times.
One of the more modern aircraft fuselage construction types is the monocoque shell in which the exterior surface also serves as the primary structure. In early monocoque fuselage construction, molded plywood was layered within a mold, though later designs began to use fiberglass cloth with polyester resin for the fuselage skin. With rigid foam plastics and fiberglass coverings, fabricating molds would not need to be used, though more finishing would be required. As molded fiberglass becomes increasingly popular for aircraft construction due to its many benefits, more manufacturers are beginning to use such materials for their monocoque shells.
Currently, the all-aluminum aircraft still proves to be the most widely used type, and the majority of such aircraft are manufactured with semi-monocoque fuselage construction. To achieve such a design, frames are placed into the shape of the fuselage cross sections, and they are affixed on a rigid fixture. With stringers, each of the frames is connected, and then sheet aluminum is used to create the surrounding skin. To connect the skin, fasteners such as rivets are used to secure the components together. Within the fuselage, various wires, controls, and equipment may be installed. While this method of aircraft construction proves to be very popular, it can be a very costly endeavor in order to establish accuracy. As a result, semi-monocoque structures are most often used for a series of production, allowing for many aluminum based aircraft to be produced with the same fuselage design. Similar to monocoque fuselages, the semi-monocoque fuselage has its external loads placed on the skin, both often being referred to as “stressed skin” structures.
With the importance of the aircraft fuselage, ensuring that your fuselage is well maintained and protected is crucial for safe and efficient flight. When you are in need of parts and components that you can steadily rely on for your aircraft operations, look no further than Fulfillment 3Sixty. Fulfillment 3Sixty is a premier online distributor of aircraft parts, offering customers access to over 2 billion parts and components sourced from top global manufacturers. Get started today and see how we can serve as your strategic sourcing partner.
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