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Surely the biggest area of friction is the fuselage, so how would for instance ribbed and not smooth surfaces influence performance?


Ribbed, or corrugated, surfaces do result in more friction than smooth surfaces. But, ribbed surfaces can make the fuselage stronger without adding a lot of weight. Ribbed surfaces were inspired by the hollow structure of bird bones, which are strong but lightweight. However, ribbed surfaces have become less common in newer planes. Lighter and stronger materials have been invented, strengthening smooth surfaces without adding too much weight. The Ford 5-AT Trimotor is an example of a plane with a corrugated fuselage.