The Ailerons

24-hours after leaving DC for the great former Yugoslav capital of Belgrade and I’m very pleased to announce that we have arrived…. at Dulles International Airport! We should never have let Rachel join us for the flight:

What a world, eh? My five Serbia-bound compatriots and I waited for a few hours at Dulles yesterday for our flight. After a few delays, we were informed that the flight was cancelled. The culprit? Some sneaky, brake-able airplane part called the “Aileron.” Let’s take this as a learning opportunity:

Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll. The two ailerons are typically interconnected so that one goes down when the other goes up: the down going aileron increases the lift on its wing while the up going aileron reduces the lift on its wing, producing a rolling moment about the aircraft’s longitudinal axis.[1] The word aileron is French for “little wing”.

Our relationship with this apparently indispensible and occasionally persnickety airplane component has turned love/hate. While I think we all wish we had never had to learn about the aileron, I’m sure we’re all grateful to have the problem identified and fixed on the ground, rather than in the air. Also, this awesome band name for our upcoming karaoke nights in Belgrade is TAKEN. (see below)

Extra Leg Room

Extra Leg Room

Another perk: The lot of us opted to spend the night in some wonderful N. Virginia resort called Lansdowne, which provided a lot more leg room than my expected flight to Serbia would have.

Now it’s Friday and while we should be in Serbia by now, we’re still in Dulles International Airport, 25.9 miles from Duques Hall (

What have we learned from this adventure? Double check your ailerons.

See you in Serbia, someday.

Bonus: A sampling of The Ailerons:


One thought on “The Ailerons

  1. Pingback: It’s Something About Rio | Andrea Nowack

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