Tandem wing

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A tandem wing arrangement has two main wings, with one located forward and the other to the rear. Both wings contribute to lift. Tandem wings are rare, but they do appear in both nature and aviation.

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]

List of tandem-wing aircraft[edit]

This list is incomplete. Please help by expanding it
Type Country Class Role Date Status No. Notes
Arsenal-Delanne 10 France 1940 Prototype 1
Blériot VI France 1907 designed by Louis Peyret
Caproni Ca.60 Italy Transport 1921 Prototype 1 Nine-wing triple-tandem triplane.
Curtiss-Wright X-19 US 1963 Four rotor convertiplane
Grushin Sh-Tandem or MAI-3 USSR Attack 1937 Prototype 1 [2]
Langley Aerodrome US Experimental 1902 Project 1 Failed to take off.
Lockspeiser LDA-01 UK Utility 1971 Prototype
Mauboussin Hémiptère 1936
Mignet Pou-du-Ciel France 1933 Homebuilt
Miles M.35 Libellula UK Experimental 1942–1945 Prototype
Miles M.39B Libellula UK Experimental 1942–1945 Prototype
Montgomery Aeroplane and The Santa Clara tandem wing gliders 1903–1905
Peyret Tandem 1922 Won the first British Glider Competition at Itford.
Rutan Quickie US 1978 Homebuilt
Scaled Composites ATTT US 1986
Scaled Composites Proteus US 1998
SFCA Taupin 1936
Viking Dragonfly 1980
Westland P.12 Lysander Delanne UK 1940 Modified Lysander to include rear gun turret.

Tandem wings in nature[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.
  2. ^ Yefim Gordon and Bill Gunston; Soviet X-Planes, Midland, 2000.