Tandem wing

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A tandem wing aircraft has two main wings, with one located forward and the other to the rear. Both wings contribute to lift.

Tandem wing aircraft may be distinguished from:

  • A biplane whose wings are stacked more or less vertically, one above the other, and where a separate tailplane surface is required,
  • A Delanne wing aircraft (such as the Mignet Pou-du-Ciel) where the rearmost tandem wing is smaller than the forward wing, thereby resembling an outsize tailplane.
  • A canard or "tail-first" configuration where the forward surface is much smaller and contributes primarily to control and/or stability.[1]

Design principles[edit]

A tandem wing configuration has two main wing planes, with one located forward and the other to the rear. Compared to a conventional monoplane, where the tailplane exerts a balancing downforce, both tandem wings contribute to lift. In aircraft such as the QAC Quickie Q2, the forward wing may double as support for the landing gear.

In a tandem wing design the lift vectors on the two wings are spread far apart longitudinally, allowing them to act in concert to achieve stability and control.

Tandem wings have also been used on ground-effect vehicles.

Designers using tandem wings[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Note: tandem wings and canards differ mainly in degree: for instance, the fore-wing on the Miles M.39B is large for a canard but rather small for a tandem wing.


  • Miles, George H (27 April 1944). "The Tandem Monoplane Its Merits and Drawbacks Compared with those of Tailless, Tail first and Allwing Designs : Libellula Suggested as Name for Class" (pdf). Flight.
  • Spreadsheet detailing math analysis of tandem wing aerodynamics
  • More math, including Flying Flea tandem wing design
  • The Tandem Monoplane Does it Still Have a Future? : Some Past Experiences Recalled
  • Reviving the Tandem