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A fixed-wing aircraft (commonly called airplane in North America (U.S. and Canada) and aeroplane in Commonwealth countries (other than Canada) and Ireland, from Greek: aéros- "air" and -planos "wandering" often shortened to just plane in both cases) is a heavier-than-air craft where movement of the wings in relation to the aircraft is not used to generate lift. The term is used to distinguish from rotary-wing aircraft, where the movement of the lift surfaces relative to the aircraft generates lift. A rarer type of aircraft that is neither fixed-wing nor rotary-wing is an ornithopter. A heliplane is both fixed-wing and rotary-wing.
Fixed-wing aircraft include a large range of craft from small trainers and recreational aircraft to large airliners and military cargo aircraft. Some aircraft use fixed wings to provide lift only part of the time and may or may not be referred to as fixed-wing.
The term also embraces aircraft with folding wings that are intended to fold when on the ground. This is usually to ease storage or facilitate transport on, for example, a vehicle trailer or the powered lift connecting the hangar deck of an aircraft carrier to its flight deck. It also embraces "variable geometry" aircraft, such as the General Dynamics F-111, Grumman F-14 Tomcat and the Panavia Tornado, which can vary the sweep angle of their wings during flight. There are also rare examples of aircraft which can vary the angle of incidence of their wings in flight, such the F-8 Crusader, which are also considered to be "fixed-wing".
Two necessities for all fixed-wing aircraft (as well as rotary-wing aircraft) are air flow over the wings for lifting of the aircraft, and an open area for landing. The majority of aircraft, however, also ......
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