Folding wing

A folding wing is a design feature of aircraft to save space, and is typical of naval aircraft that operate from the limited deck space of aircraft carriers. The folding allows the aircraft to occupy less space in a confined hangar because the folded wing normally rises over the fuselage decreasing the floor area of the aircraft. Vertical clearance is also limited in aircraft carrier hangar decks. In order to accommodate for this, some aircraft such as the Supermarine Seafire and Fairey Gannet have additional hinges to fold the wingtips downward, while others such as the S-3 Viking have folding tails.

A folding wing has disadvantages over a fixed wing. It will be heavier and have complex connections for electrical, fuel, aerodynamic and structural systems.

Many naval helicopters have rotor blades that can be aligned over the fuselage to save space onboard the ship.

Folding surfaces are rare among land-based designs, and are used on aircraft that are tall or too wide to fit inside service hangars. Examples include the B-50 Superfortress (folding tail) and Sukhoi Su-47 (folding wings). The Saab 37 Viggen and the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser have foldable rear fins that make them lower for entering hangars.


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