If one were to visually inspect a typical commercial airliner at an airport, they would most likely see numerous antennas spread out above and below the fuselage, each varying in their size, shape, and other features. Each of these antennas serve independent roles that are important for a safe and efficient flight to be carried out, and understanding the most common antenna configurations and shapes can help you be more aware of what each type is.
The blade antenna design is one of the earliest and most common types, coming in the form of a structural piece that is shaped to appear like a standard aircraft blade. Blade antennas are commonly used for radio communication systems, and their benefit lies in their ease of production and low cost. Their shape also offers good performance, though there is still a level of drag that is produced during flight. As such, they act as an optimal compromise between cost and drag.
To reduce negative aerodynamics even more, conformal antennas may be used, those of which are designed to sit flush with the aircraft skin as to avoid any protruding surfaces sticking out into the flow of air. While first coming about in the 1980s, conformal antennas have slowly become more popular on commercial and defense aircraft alike, allowing for a seamless design. While conformal antennas may exhibit less gain as compared to other options, their low drag can outweigh the performance loss when it comes to military aircraft that require stealth.
Integrated antennas are somewhat similar to their conformal counterparts, though the two should not be conflated. While conformal antennas may be retrofitted later, integrated antennas feature a more complex installation as the circuits of the device are built into the skin rather than conforming to the space around it. As such, integrated antennas are generally a type of antenna that is implemented during the design phase, rather than later.
For high-frequency signals and systems, HF mast antennas are used. Generally, these are installed on fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft alike, and they are placed in such a way that they do not create too much drag or increase the aircraft’s overall weight by a significant degree. Typically, HF mast antennas are installed in a way where the skin of the aircraft is most conductive, raising the overall efficiency of the antennas.
The most common type of monopole antenna is the whip antenna, that of which may be used for frequency bands within HF, VHF, or UHF ranges. These antennas can feature varying lengths based on the type of radio wave it will be transmitting, and they are designed with flexibility for their integrity. For dipole designs, meanwhile, loop and half antennas are most common. These types are useful for radio frequency current in the UHF range, and their benefit comes in the fact that they are compact.
Beyond such examples, other common aircraft antennas include those such as direction finding antennas and other various forms. Whether you require an aircraft antenna for a radio system, directional system, or anything else, we have you covered with top-quality parts on ASAP Components. Explore over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that are readily available for purchase on our website today, and you may take advantage of our RFQ services to rapidly request quotes for your comparisons with ease. If you have any questions or concerns and would like to speak with a representative directly, you can give us a call or send us an email, and we would be more than happy to assist you however we can!
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