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Dec 19, 2003
This week's theme
Words from aviation

This week's words
canard
contrail
mach
empennage
aileron

Move a plane's ailerons at NASA

This week’s comments
AWADmail 105


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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

aileron

(AY-luh-ron) Pronunciation RealAudio

noun: A hinged flap on the trailing edge of an airplane wing that moves up or down.

From French aileron (small wing), diminutive of aile, from Latin ala (wing). The word aisle is derived from the same root. NOTES: The Wright brothers did not use ailerons, but rather devised (and patented) the technique of wing warping to adjust the shape of the wings. To warp the wings, the pilot lay across a saddle that was connected by cables to the tips of both wings. By using his hips to shift the saddle left or right, he had the necessary control of the wings to roll the aircraft and make turns.

"Mr. Harvey is followed by D. L. Hughley, wearing a tan suit with peaked lapels that could serve as ailerons."
Elvis Mitchell; In the Flamboyant Tradition of Richard Pryor; The New York Times; Aug 18, 2000.

"The pilot in command is in command, thus effectively taking the keys away from men who don't know an altimeter from an aileron."
Sharon Carter; Asparagus Runs: Corporate Pilots Air Their Frustrations; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Dec 22, 1986.

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