An Overview of Strakes on Airplanes

Aerodynamics is the study of airflow and how it affects objects in motion. It is a vital component of aviation, as aircraft must be designed to create enough lift while minimizing drag. Several different aerodynamic devices can be used on aircraft, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Airflow is a critical component in the operation of any aerodynamic device, and different types of aerodynamic devices use airflow to improve the aircraft's performance. Without proper airflow, an aerodynamic device will not function as intended. For example, wings are designed to use airflow to generate lift, while strakes are another aircraft device used to affect airflow to create drag.

Regarding strakes, they are a type of aerodynamic device used to improve airflow around a vehicle or object. They are typically made of metal or plastic and are attached to the fuselage to help reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency. Alongside improving the airflow around an aircraft, strakes also bolster the overall stability of the aircraft. Furthermore, there are many different types that can be used which have their own unique benefits.

Different Types of Strakes

Below we will discuss the most common types of strakes that may be found on an aircraft, as well as the unique benefits and drawbacks of each:

Nose strakes: Nose strakes are installed at the front of aircraft along the leading edge of the nose to help improve airflow by reducing drag over the aircraft and promoting stability. They can be used on both civilian and military aircraft, and they are very effective in improving performance.

Wing strakes: As their name states, wing strakes are designed to be attached to the wings of an aircraft to improve airflow over the wings and increase lift and drag. Through leading edge suction while at a high angle of attack, wing strakes can be used to generate additional vortex lift.

Nacelle strakes: Nacelle strakes are used to improve airflow around the nacelle of an aircraft. By reducing turbulence and drag, nacelle strakes can also enhance the overall performance and efficiency of aircraft engines when in flight. They are typically made from a lightweight material, such as carbon fiber, and can be installed on either the inboard or outboard side of the nacelle.

The Difference Between Strakes and Winglets

Winglets are another type of flight device that is similar in appearance to strakes, and the two are often conflated as a result. As they perform different roles and are placed in separate areas, it is crucial that one understands their difference. While both devices serve to improve airflow around the aircraft and its surfaces, winglets are only used on the wings of the vehicle while strakes may be situated in a variety of areas. Additionally, while strakes bolster lift through the increase of airflow around the aircraft, winglets are more focused on affecting drag for the sake of fuel efficiency and enhanced control. While some aircraft may have winglets and strakes features for their design, other models may only have one or the other. Generally, the presence of either device will come down to the particular needs of the aircraft and the types of operations that it will undertake.


Aircraft are equipped with strakes to help improve their aerodynamic performance, and they play an essential role in promoting vehicle safety, stability, and efficiency If you require any aviation component to satisfy your operational needs, Aerospace Unlimited Services offers an inventory of over 2 billion aerospace, defense, and electronic products ready for immediate procural. To get started on the purchasing process, simply fill out an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website. Within 15 minutes upon submission of a completed form, a dedicated account manager will respond back to you with a competitive quote for your comparisons 24/7x365. 


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