Talk:Air brake (aeronautics)

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What are Air Brakes?[edit]

This article's broadly okay - it explains how air brakes work (it'd be nice if more of the jargon was explained/linked), but doesn't actually explain what they ARE. It talks about them being deployed, but not what actually happens when they're deployed (the impresion from the photos is that it's just something to reduce the aerodynamicness of the plane, but I really know nothing about the topic and can't make these edits myself). Thanks (talk) 00:22, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


Air brakes?

Is this a suitable image to upload? It was taken from on board an Airbus A320, preparing to come into land. Dalavich 14:08, 29 September 2007 (UTC)


This article is poorly written so far. Incorrect nomenclature definitions, for starters.

Spoilers (panels on top of the wing) are called "speed brakes," not "air brakes." This statement is incorrect: "In aeronautics air brakes are a type of flight control used on aircraft to reduce speed during landing."

Most pure jet airliners have spoilers on top of the wings. And, they are usually differentiated as "ground spoilers and flight spoilers." When a jet airliner turns, it does so with the use of both ailerons and flight spoilers. While the rudder helps to keep the turn coordinated, it is not primarily for the purpose of turning. The spoilers on the right wing will rise, when the pilot turns to the right, and on the left wing, when he turns to the left. How much they rise, is a function of airspeed and also how rapidly the yoke or stick is moved by the pilot. Thus, the purpose of flight spoilers, when turning, is not to apply brakes, but to increase the rate of roll capability of the aircraft.

However, those same flight spoilers can be used as speed brakes in flight, just for the purpose of slowing down more rapidly. The pilot does that by extending the spoiler handle. How far he moves that handle control, determines how high the flight spoilers rise, on both of the wings at the same time. Doing that creates drag, which helps the pilot to slow more rapidly. This is usually done at higher altitudes, but almost never done during the final phase of the approach to landing, when the flaps and gear are deployed.

When the plane lands, the gear strut switch activates all the spoilers (both ground and flight spoilers), if the pilot has armed the spoiler lever to deploy upon touchdown. The handle moves all the way back and that causes all of the spoilers on top of the wings, to deploy to their maximum limit. Doing that kills lift and puts the weight of the plane firmly on the landing gear and that makes the wheel brakes far more effective.

I have never heard the term "air brakes" applied to ground or flight spoilers on top of the wings. As to the speed brakes on the tail or belly of a plane, I think the proper nomenclature is "speed brakes," not "air brakes." Air brakes is the normal nomenclature for the braking systems of trucks and buses on the highways.

See these links:

EditorASC (talk) 06:10, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Don't spoilers also provide proverse yaw, reducing the need for rudder deflection? -- RoySmith (talk) 22:45, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

Spoilers and Air Brakes are different things, even if on some aircraft, the same piece of metal serves both purposes. I think we should not merge the two articles. -- RoySmith (talk) 16:29, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree. While a spoiler may serve as an airbrake, airbrakes alone usually don't cancel lift, which is why they are not called spoilers. (talk) 19:47, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Air Brakes and spoilers are different - and should remain so on Wikipedia for greater clarity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:31, 27 January 2011 (UTC)


Whouldn't "aerodynamic brake" or similar be a better name for this article instead of "air brake (aircraft)"? Bugatti Veyron is already mentioned in the article and some other vehicles also have these kind of brakes. Cars, high speed trains etc.-- (talk) 10:04, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Another merge proposal[edit]

There is a section at Air brake (road vehicle) (#Exposed Physical Structure) that deals with aerodynamic air brakes (not pneumatically-actuated mechanical brakes, like the main portion of that article). Regardless of whether or not it's on a plane or car, any flap that acts to produce drag in order to slow a vehicle down is the same type of device. It might be worth noting at the other article that there are aerodynamic air brakes on road cars, maybe with a "main article" link here, but it seems inefficient to group the devices by what vehicle they happen to be attached to, not by what they actually are. I would rename this article "Air brake (aerodynamic)" as well. Thoughts? --Fru1tbat (talk) 21:10, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the section doesn't belong in Air brake (road vehicle), but it looks like these "air brakes" on a few racing cars are implemented by a tilting spoiler, so I would suggest that this very minor trivial usage belongs in Spoiler (automotive) — Preceding unsigned comment added by ‎ Chetvorno (talkcontribs) 21:17, 9 August 2012