Re: Wing vs. tail-mounted engines?

Date:         31 Mar 2001 16:43:12 
From:         don@news.daedalus.co.nz (Don Stokes)
Organization: Daedalus Consulting
References:   1 2
Followups:    1 2 3
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Daniele Procida <{$usenet$}@apple-juice.co.uk> wrote:
>As someone who is scared out of his wits by aeroplanes, I much prefer
>MD-80s and the like, because the sight of those enormous heavy engines
>making those delicate wings bend up and down in that terrifying fashion
>is something I can really do without. At least on a MD-80 I don't spend
>the entire flight checking to see if the wings are going fall off.

Actually, the wing stresses are lower with the engines on the wing
because the wing root is not carrying the weight of the engines as well
as the fuselage.  Remember that the wings carry the plane, not the other
way around.

Of course, the tail mounted aircraft have correspondingly stronger wing
root and tail structures to deal with the higher stresses, so the chances
of the wings falling off are about the same: vanishingly small.

(I can't think of any case of failure of the wing box or root structure
causing an accident on a post-war commercial airliner -- can anyone?)

-- don