The nacelle of an aircraft is a type of housing or enclosure that may be situated somewhere on the airframe, and it typically serves to house cargo, passengers, or equipment. For example, an engine nacelle is a common feature of aircraft where the engine itself is often stored. Generally, these spaces are elongated and tubular, and they are most often perpendicular to the wing while sitting parallel with the cabin
. In this blog, we will discuss the history of the nacelle in the scope of military aircraft, allowing you to have a better understanding of their historical uses.
As powered aviation became increasingly popular in the 1920s and 1930s, engineers and manufacturers began to seek ways in which drag could be reduced for the benefit of increased performance and efficiency. Through various experimentation, things like the single-wing design and the use of lightweight materials became much more popular. Around this time was also when wind tunnel testing became widespread, making the experimentation process more optimal. This all eventually led to the implementation of nacelle structures on aircraft for drag reduction, and they were heavily used during World War II for fighter aircraft like the P-38 that featured three separate nacelles.