How Many Parts Are in an Aircraft?

Having adopted a multitude of alterations to improve their overall efficiency and power, aircraft have come a long way since the first stable flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903. Whereas early airplanes could support only a couple people, modern commercial airliners are substantial enough to carry hundreds. As such, you may have wondered at some point “how many parts are there in an aircraft?” For most of today’s commercial planes, the answer is in the millions. With safety and efficiency as a topmost priority in aircraft construction, each airplane is painstakingly assembled through various levels, such as wire and cable shop, paneling, wing assembly, and paint application. Though there are far too many parts to list individually, many of them can be categorized into five major areas, those of which are the fuselage, wings, engine, landing gear, and stabilizers.

1. Fuselage: The fuselage is the large outer shell of an airplane’s main body that features a hollow interior in which seats and other equipment are held. Based on its name, many people assume it is responsible for holding or storing fuel. However, the term “fuselage,” comes from the french word “fusele,” meaning ‘spindle-shaped” to reflect how fuselages feature a long and vertical spindle-shaped form. Its shape is wider in the front and then becomes more tapered at the back specifically to make the vessel aerodynamic. As the central body of the plane, each of the other major sections are attached to the fuselage, including the nose, wings, and tail.

2. Wings: The wings are perhaps the most distinguishable part of an airplane, and are often all that is needed to identify different models. Made to harness airflow in a way that effectively generates lift, aircraft wings are designed with a very particular shape, though many variations exist to suit different applications. Besides allowing the plane to fly, the wings are what stabilize the flight of the vessel, and typically carry the vast bulk of fuel required for each trip. As an integral part that works in harsh conditions, the wings are usually made of metals that are strong, light, and anti-corrosive, such as steel, aluminum, and titanium. 

3. Engine: In order to gain enough speed to generate lift, aircraft rely on high-powered combustion engines that use similar technology to a gas-powered car. Though plane engines vary in design, they generally use an intake fan, compressor, combustion chamber, fuel injectors, turbines, as well as an exhaust nozzle, along with various casings and fastening components. In most commercial airplanes, the engines are mounted in pods on the underside of the wings, however, many other aircraft have their engine mounted on the tail.

4. Landing Gear: Aircraft landing gear supports the entire weight of the vehicle during landing and ground operations. Most landing gear have wheels though other gear features, such as skids or floats can be found on helicopters, seaplanes, and in the tail area of some tail dragger aircraft. Regardless of the type of landing gear employed, shock absorbing equipment, brakes, retraction mechanisms, controls, warning devices, cowlings, fairings, and structural components are generally necessary parts within the system.

5. Stabilizers: On the rear of the airplane, you will find the stabilizers or the tails. Most planes have two stabilizers, horizontal and vertical, that provide balance and control during flight.  In addition to the stabilizers, the tail includes rudders which are used to control an aircraft’s ring heading.


Here on NSN Axis, we provide our customers with access to over 2 billion quality components, including in-demand aviation grade parts that are new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find. To ensure the best procurement experience possible, we take advantage of a widespread supply network that guarantees expedited shipping for all orders, whether domestic or international. More than that, we are well-equipped to address AOG situations with lightning-fast lead times, alongside convenient shipping solutions. When you are in need of high-caliber aircraft parts, we invite you to browse our online catalog of available items and send us an RFQ form to receive quotes for your comparisons within just 15 minutes of our receipt of a completed form.


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