What are those little rods at the trailing edge of the wing? Those are NOT antennas (Video)

What are those little rods at the trailing edge of the wing? Those are NOT antennas (Video)

If you‘re not so much into aviation or technology in general, while flying you notice many little details of the plane that you don‘t know the purpose of. For example, have you noticed that at the trailing edge of every wing there are some weird little rods sticking out? While walking around the plane you might have noticed that there are rods like this on the plane‘s tail too. Why? What do they do?

These are static wicks – they allow electrons with negative charge to dissipate from the airplane’s body. Dennis N., Wikimedia

Some guess those rods are some kind of antennas and they really do look like they could be. However, antennas are situated on the underbody of the plane instead. Those little things you see are actually static dischargers, often known as static wicks. And you have some on your body also.

When you walk across the carpet, you get charged with negative electrons. And then a single touch to something or someone may cause a little electric shock. In fact, in dark you can even see it. This happens because your negative electrons have to equalize with whatever you are touching. Sharp points on your body, such as fingers (or nose, for that matter) are perfect for this negative charge to dissipate from.

Large airplanes fly through the clouds and are constantly rubbing against some particles in the air. Naturally, they get this negative charge also, which can cause a variety of problems, such as poor radio communication or imperfect function of navigation equipment. It is because radio antennas are perfect spots for these negative electrons to collect.

Solution – many little sharp points on the airplane that provide a way for these negative electrons to dissipate. Works well – this negative charge is just given back to the surroundings of the airplane. This explanation is provided by the creator of the YouTube channel Captain Joe and you should check this video out, because it gives a more detailed explanation of how it works:

Captain Joe has been featured in Nodum.org a couple times before. Do you know what those little loops on the wings of the plane are? And what do those numbers mean on the end of every runway in the world?

Coming back to static wicks, you should watch them if you’re flying at night in close proximity or in a thunderstorm – you might notice sparks flying off of them if you’re lucky.

What are those numbers on runways for? It turns out their purpose is rather simple (Video)

What are those numbers on runways for? It turns out their purpose is rather simple (Video)

There are some numbers and sometimes even letter at the beginning of every runway in the world – you might have noticed it while travelling or in some movies. But do you know what these numbers actually mean? Are they important for pilots? It turns out, most guesses are incorrect and their actual purpose is rather simple.

There are always two digits on every end of the runway. (Adrian Pingstone via Wikimedia)

People oftentimes think that these numbers are unique titles of every single runway in the world. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. If they would be unique, they wouldn’t have just two digits. They aren’t somehow chosen by the airport either, so what are they for?

They are painted for navigation purposes. As you know, Earth has magnetic poles that are easily detected by a simple compass. Pilots always know to which direction they are heading by degrees between their course and Earth’s magnetic pole. That is actually what these numbers on runways are – they show degrees between the centerline of the runway and magnetic north. It will all make sense when you watch the video.

“L” means that this is the runway on the left. (Olivier Cleynen via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

And what about those letters? They are needed in case the airport has several parallel runways. They have to be marked, because their numbers are the same. So these letters help pilots knowing which runway is cleared for them to land on.

Captain Joe is one of the best aviation channels on YouTube because it demystifies civil aviation. He explains why there are loops on the wing of the plane, what are those triangles above a couple of windows inside of the plane, how fuel tanks work and much more. We really encourage checking Captain Joe’s channel out.

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