What Are Flaps For?
Flaps change a wing’s curvature, increasing lift. Airplanes use flaps to maintain lift at lower speeds, particularly during takeoff and landing. This allows an airplane to make a slower landing approach and a shorter landing. Flaps also increase drag, which helps slow the airplane and allows a steeper landing approach.
The Museum’s Jet Aviation gallery contains a working model of a Lockheed L-1011 jetliner wing. It demonstrates how the wing’s complex system of ailerons, flaps, and other devices works during a landing.