Flying wires

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Flying wires
Flying wires of a de Havilland Tiger Moth

The flying wires of an aircraft work in conjunction with other wing components such as spars and interplane struts to transmit flight loads. Most commonly used on biplane aircraft they are also used on monoplanes and triplanes.


Strictly the flying wires (or lift wires) are those that carry lifting loads whereas the landing wires support the weight of the mainplanes on the ground and as the name suggests, the inertial forces that are often encountered on landing.[1] Both are sets of diagonal wires within each of the bays defined by the interplane struts. Lift forces distort each bay upwards on its outer edge so the diagonal that runs outwards from bottom to top planes increases in length; thus the flying wires that resist this distortion run along this diagonal and the landing wires along the other.[2]

Flying wires also serve to maintain dihedral and angle of incidence by lengthening or shortening individual wires using turnbuckles or threaded end fittings. The initial setting or in-service adjustment of these angles, usually with the help of a clinometer and plumb-bob, is known as 'rigging'.[3] The wires may be lengths of simple stranded cable, aerofoil sectioned steel or piano wire. Thinner wires found between the interplane struts are known as incidence wires.[4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Taylor 1990, p.71.
  2. ^ Kumar 2005
  3. ^ Halliwell 1919, p.107.
  4. ^ de Havilland, p.13.


  • de Havilland Aircraft Company. The de Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth - Maintenance and Repair Manual, Third Edition . Hatfield, Hertfordshire. The de Havilland Aircraft Company Ltd. (Date unknown)
  • Halliwell, F.W. "Rigging: The Erection and Trueing-Up of Aeroplanes". Flight, 23 January 1919. p. 107.
  • Kumar, B. An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation. New York McGraw Hill, 2005. ISBN 0-07-139606-3
  • Taylor, John W.R. The Lore of Flight, London: Universal Books Ltd., 1990. ISBN 0-9509620-1-5.

External links[edit]