AskDefine | Define slat

Dictionary Definition

slat n : a thin strip (wood or metal) [syn: spline]


1 equip or bar with slats; "Slat the windows"
2 close the slats of (windows) [also: slatting, slatted]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A thin, narrow strip or bar of wood or metal; as, the slats of a window blind.
  2. (aeronautical) A moveable control surface at the leading edge of a wing that when moved, changes the chord line of the airfoil, affecting the angle of attack. Employed in conjunction with flaps to allow for a lower stall speed in the landing attitude, facilitating slow flight.


  1. To construct or provide with at least one slat.


Scottish Gaelic


slat f, gen slaite, pl slatan
  1. A stick, rod, twig, switch, yard (measure), or wand
  2. A penis

Extensive Definition

Slats is also a nickname for Australian cricketer Michael Slater, and NHL executive Glen Sather
Slats are aerodynamic surfaces on the leading edge of the wings of fixed-wing aircraft which, when deployed, allow the wing to operate at a higher angle of attack. A higher coefficient of lift is produced as a product of angle of attack and speed, so by deploying slats an aircraft can fly slower or take off and land in a shorter distance. They are usually used while landing or performing maneuvers which take the aircraft close to the stall, but are usually retracted in normal flight to minimize drag.
Types include:
  • Automatic - the slat lies flush with the wing leading edge until reduced aerodynamic forces allow it to extend by way of springs when needed. This type is typically used on light aircraft.
  • Fixed - the slat is permanently extended. This is sometimes used, especially on specialist low-speed aircraft (these are referred to as slots).
  • Powered - the slat extension can be controlled by the pilot. This is commonly used on airliners.
The chord of the slat is typically only a few percent of the wing chord. They may extend over the outer third of the wing or may cover the entire leading edge. Slats work by increasing the camber of the wing, and also by opening a small gap (the slot) between the slat and the wing leading edge, allowing a small amount of high-pressure air from the lower surface to reach the upper surface, where it helps postpone the stall.
The slat has a counterpart found in the wings of some birds, the alula – a feather or group of feathers which the bird can extend under control of its "thumb".


Slats were first developed by Handley-Page in 1919; licensing the design became one of their major sources of income in the 1920s. The original designs were in the form of a fixed slot in the front of the wing, a design that was found on a number of STOL aircraft.
During World War II German aircraft commonly fitted a more advanced version that pushed back flush against the wing by air pressure to reduce drag, popping out on springs when the airflow decreased during slower flight. Notable slats of that time belonged to the German Fieseler Fi 156 Storch. These were similar in design to retractable slats, but were fixed non-retractable slots. The slotted wing allowed this aircraft to take off into a light wind in less than 45 m (150 ft), and land in 18 m (60 ft).
In the post-war era slats have generally been hydraulically or electrically operated.
Slats are one of several high-lift devices used on airliners, such as flap systems running along the trailing edge of the wing.

See also

slat in German: Vorflügel
slat in Persian: پیش‌بال
slat in French: Dispositif hypersustentateur
slat in Norwegian: Slats
slat in Finnish: Etureunasolakot
slat in Polish: Skrzela (lotnictwo)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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