Aviation is a sector of the market and industry full of curiosities, especially when we think about the operation of aircraft, these passionate machines filled with technology and engineering. One of the peculiarities that most raises doubts among users and the population in general is why is aircraft fuel placed in the wings?
One of the crucial points for the operation of an aircraft is the distribution of weight and balance. When the maximum takeoff weight is counted for an airplane, kerosene, the main fuel used in aviation, is obviously taken into account in this calculation. A Boeing 747-8, for example, can store up to 239,000 liters of kerosene in its wings, making its maximum takeoff weight reach 448,000 kilograms.
To make the planes not have their drivability affected, the engineering found the best solution to put the fuel in the wings due to the aircraft’s center of gravity, since the parts are located in the central region of the vehicle. If one or more tanks were spread over the fuselage, as the kerosene was consumed, the weight would be completely unbalanced in the different parts of the plane, making the operation difficult.
Large planes, for example, have a crossover system that allows the fuel that is in one wing to pass to the other so that the weight is always balanced. There are also some models in which there is a tank right in the middle of the plane that joins the two wings, in order to facilitate this passage of fuel and for better control of the center of gravity.
What’s in the wings?
Airplane wings are obviously hollow, because they are made to store fuel in addition to all operational needs. In the case of commercial aircraft, there is not exactly a tank in the fuselage, but a special coating to safely leave the kerosene there. Some models, especially the small ones, are equipped with special tanks and dividers that mitigate the movement of liquid, providing less intervention in the direction.
With information: Embraer, Bianch