What is "Airplane Fabric" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 03-Apr-2024 (3 months, 11 days ago)
Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

Airplane Fabric: An Exploration of Aviation's Textile Backbone

Airplane Fabric: Soaring High with Textile Technology

The History and Origin of Airplane Fabric

The relationship between aviation and textiles dates back to the 19th century when balloonists used lightweight, durable fabrics as coverings for their air vessels. The Wright brothers utilized a specially-woven cotton "Pride of the West" for their groundbreaking flight in 1903. Technological advancements in the 20th century led to the development of synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester, which outperformed their natural counterparts in strength, durability, and resistance to environmental factors.

Types of Airplane Fabric

  • Natural Airplane Fabric: Early aircraft employed fabrics like cotton and linen due to their lightness and strength. These fabrics, however, required frequent maintenance and were susceptible to weathering.
  • Synthetic Airplane Fabric: Fabrics such as polyester and nylon, and high-performance textiles like Kevlar and Nomex, are widely used today for their superior durability, resistance to UV rays, heat, and chemicals, as well as their light weight.

Tips for Handling Airplane Fabric

  • Storage in a clean, dry, and UV-protected environment is crucial for preserving the fabric's integrity.
  • Use appropriate adhesives and sealants, ensuring they are compatible with the fabric material to prevent damaging reactions.
  • Avoid excessive tension during application as it may lead to fabric deformation or weakening.

Major International Manufacturers and Users

  • DuPont: DuPont is a pioneer in high-performance materials, with products like Kevlar and Nomex employed in aviation for their exceptional strength-to-weight ratios and resistance to fire and chemicals.
  • Teijin: Japanese company Teijin is known for its high-quality polyester fabrics used in aviation, contributing significantly to the durability and longevity of aircraft.
  • Boeing: Boeing, a leading aircraft manufacturer, utilizes advanced textile materials to enhance the efficiency, safety, and performance of its airplanes.
  • Airbus: Airbus, a European multinational aerospace corporation, is a significant user of advanced textiles, incorporating them in various aspects of aircraft design from seats to safety equipment.
  • FAA: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governs the standards for airplane fabric in the US, ensuring they meet the required safety and performance parameters.

Applications of Airplane Fabric

  • Airplane Interiors: Airplane fabric is widely used for seating, curtains, carpets, and other interior elements, balancing comfort, aesthetics, and functionality.
  • Safety Equipment: High-performance textiles are critical for safety equipment, such as fire-resistant flight suits, parachutes, and life vests.
  • Exterior Coverings: While modern airplanes primarily use metal for their exteriors, fabric coverings are still used in smaller, lightweight aircraft and in areas requiring flexibility, such as wing flaps.


The journey of airplane fabric, from the simple cotton coverings of the Wright brothers' flyer to the advanced synthetic materials of modern aircraft, illuminates the textile industry's pivotal role in the evolution of aviation. The ever-increasing demands for safety, efficiency, and durability necessitate ongoing advancements in textile science, and the industry continues to rise to these challenges. The enduring relevance of airplane fabric serves as a testament to the ingenuity of textile engineers and manufacturers, and the interdependence of the textile and aviation industries. As we anticipate future developments in aviation, from supersonic passenger flights to space tourism, the role of textiles in these achievements cannot be underestimated. Indeed, as long as humanity continues to soar the skies, textiles will be right there with us, woven into the very fabric of our journey.

Airplane Fabric
Usually a plain weave, mercerized fabric made of long staple cotton which when treated with dope is used as airplane fabric to cover wings, fuselage or tails. Also used for boys? suits, shirtings, collars and cuffs, skiwear and uniforms.

Some more terms:

Hickory Cloth: Unraveling a Staple of American Textile History

Denim, in American usage since the late 18th century, denotes a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two (twi- "double") or more warp fibers, producing the familiar diagonal...

Read about Hickory Cloth


POG is a highly effective cleaning solution used in the textile industry to remove stains and soiling from fabrics. This comprehensive article provides an in-depth analysis of POG, including its...

Read about POG


Greige (pronounced "gray") is a term used in the textile industry to describe fabric that has not yet been finished or processed. Greige fabric is also referred to as "gray goods" or "loom-state...

Read about Greige


A tarpaulin or tarp is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water resistant or waterproof cloth, often canvas coated with plastic or latex. Tarps are used as shelter from the elements ? i.e. wind,...

Read about Tarpaulin

Glazing: A Sparkling Revolution in Textile Manufacturing

The Art and Science of Textile Glazing: A Detailed StudyHistory and Origin of Textile GlazingThe technique of glazing can be traced back to ancient civilizations where Egyptians used starch and heat...

Read about Glazing

Paper Yarn

A yarn consists of one or more continuous lengths of paper strip, or a yarn that incorporates one or more continuous lengths of paper strip as a major component. Note 1: Paper in normal widths is...

Read about Paper Yarn

Ixtle: Unveiling the Story of a Resilient Natural Fiber

Made from linen or cotton with a dobby or basket weave. It is strong. Rough in the surface finish but finer, shinier than cotton huckaback. Has variation in weaves but most have small squares on the...

Read about Ixtle


The cloak has been the most enduring of outer garments throughout the history of fashion. In the 18th century a man's cloak was made with a collar at the neck, a cape over the shoulders, and hung to...

Read about Cloak

Add a definition

Add a definition for a textile term that you know about! Send us an email & tell us:
  • The term you want to define
  • Its definition in 500 words or less
  • Attach an image if necessary.
  • Optionally, tell us about yourself in 200 words or less!

Companies for Airplane Fabric:

If you manufacture, distribute or otherwise deal in Airplane Fabric, please fill your company details below so that we can list your company for FREE! Send us the following details:
  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Attach a logo, if necessary.
  • Optionally, tell us about yourself in 200 words or less!

Did you know this fact? France is a leading producer of eco-friendly and sustainable fashion textiles.
(s) 2024 TextileGlossary.com Some rights reserved. • Sitemap