Major parts and components of an aircraft airframe

The airframe is a major part of any aircraft, as it allows the aircraft to withstand the many forces of flight. Airframe components need to be able to withstand tension, torsion, compression, and shear, and are necessary for the safe operation of aircraft. The type and class of an aircraft will determine how strong the airframe must be built.

The below guide will breakdown the major aircraft airframe parts and their functions. Also, for aircraft maintenance professionals seeking specific airframe components, NSL Aerospace procures hard-to-source airframe replacement parts for the aerospace industry. Reach out today!

What’s the difference between an aircraft and an airframe?

The term “aircraft” refers to the whole airplane in its ready-to-fly state. Airframe refers to the structural and aerodynamic parts of the aircraft. Although the airframe is a major part of an aircraft, airframes consist of several individual components.

What are the major parts of an airframe?

There are 4 major structural parts of a fixed wing aircraft. These include the fuselage, wings, stabilizers, and undercarriage, all of which are formed with high-grade aviation metals.

  • The fuselage is the body of the aircraft and holds all of the parts together
  • In fixed-wing aircraft, the wings create the lift when moved through air
  • Stabilizers consist of horizontal and vertical stabilizers that provide stability to the aircraft and help it fly straight
  • The undercarriage is located beneath the fuselage and wing section of the aircraft (and contains the landing gear)

Airframe components are built from a wide variety of materials and are joined by rivets, bolts, screws, and welding or adhesives.

How long does an aircraft airframe last?

For an aircraft that experiences 5 cycles of flight on a daily basis, an aircraft airframe can generally last 20-30 years. Special inspections can increase the lifespan of an airframe. Long-range wide-body airliners are designed for 30,000 flight cycles.

Stresses that occur during aircraft flight and operation can cause damage to airframe components, causing the need for repairs or replacements. Parts suppliers like NSL Aerospace can help aircraft maintenance professionals source the airframe components they need to return their aircraft to airworthiness.

NSL Aerospace Specializes in Sourcing Airframe Components

If you’re looking for an airframe component or part for your aircraft, NSL Aerospace specializes in procuring replacement aircraft parts for MROs, OEMs, and leading airlines across the world. Reach out to one of our procurement specialists and let us help you find that hard-to-source airframe component!