Drawing: Cobra Drawing: Cobra

Drawing: Figure 1


Description of Aircraft

This chapter shows the features of aircraft that make recognition and identification possible, and sorts out similar and dissimilar aircraft. Additionally, it shows examples of how aircraft are named and or numbered.

All of the possible aircraft configurations are not covered in this chapter. When instructing aircraft recognition, an instructor or small unit leader can follow the descriptive methods used in the examples and derive his own descriptions for features or configurations that are not covered in the text.


All aircraft are built with the same basic elements: wings to provide lift, engine(s) to provide motive power, a fuselage to carry the payload and controls, and a tail assembly which usually controls the direction of flight. These elements differ in shape, size, number, and position. The differences distinguish one aircraft type from another. An instructor can isolate the individual components for description and study as separate recognition and identification features, but it is the composite of these features that must be learned to recognize and identify an aircraft. The WEFT Features illustration shows wings, engine(s), fuselage, and tail features of aircraft. Allied countries may teach more or fewer features of aircraft in their recognition and identification programs.


Wings Engines Fuselage Tail
Type Type Shape Location
Position Number Nose Slant
Slant Location Mid Number
Shape Intakes Rear Shape
Taper Exhausts Cockpit  


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Updated: 27 January 2008
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