The aircraft fuselage, from the French word “fuselé” meaning “spindle shaped”, is the portion of the airplane used to literally join, or fuse, the other parts together. It is commonly thought of as the body of the aircraft and holds the passengers and cargo safely inside.
Conventional aircraft usually consist of fuselage, wings and tailplane. The fuselage contains crew and payload, the latter being passengers, cargo, weapons plus fuel, depending on the type of aircraft and its function; the wings provide the lift and the tailplane is the main contributor to directional control. In addition, ailerons, elevators and the rudder enable the pilot to manoeuvre the aircraft and maintain its stability in flight, while wing flaps provide the necessary increase of lift for take-off and landing.
while of different shape to the aerodynamic surfaces, comprise members which perform similar functions to their counterparts in the wings and tailplane. However, there are differences in the generation of the various types of load. Aerodynamic forces on the fuselage skin are relatively low; on the other hand, the fuselage supports large concentrated loads such as wing reactions, tailplane reactions, undercarriage reactions and it carries payloads of varying size and weight, which may cause large inertia forces. Furthermore, aircraft designed for high altitude flight must withstand internal pressure. The shape of the fuselage cross-section is determined by operational requirements. For example, the most efficient sectional shape for a pressurized fuselage is circular or a combination of circular elements.
Irrespective of shape, the basic airplane fuselage structure is essentially a single cell thin-walled tube comprising skin, transverse frames and stringers; transverse frames which extend completely across the fuselage are known as bulkheads.