A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two main wings stacked one above the other. The first aircraft to fly, the Wright Flyer, used a biplane wing arrangement, as did most aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a biplane wing structure has a structural advantage over a monoplane, it produces more drag than a similar unbraced or cantilever monoplane wing. Improved structural techniques, materials and the quest for greater speed made the biplane configuration obsolete for most purposes by the late 1930s.

Biplanes offer several advantages over conventional cantilever monoplane designs: they permit lighter wing structures, low wing loading and smaller span for a given wing area. However, interference between the airflow over each wing increases drag substantially and biplanes generally need extensive bracing which causes additional drag.

Biplanes are distinguished from tandem wing arrangements where the wings are placed forward and aft, instead of above and below.

The term is also occasionally used in biology, to describe the wings of some flying animals.


"If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal."
Carl Sagan
0 online