What’s Inside the Nose Cone of a Typical Airplane?

Ever wonder what’s inside the nose cone of an airplane? Most commercial airplanes have a cylindrical tip at the front of the fuselage. Known as the nose can, it’s the forwardmost section.

While some people assume that airplanes have an empty nose cone, this isn’t the case. The nose cone typically features important equipment. What’s inside of the nose cone exactly?

Weather Radar

In most commercial airplanes, the nose cone features a weather radar. The weather radar will collect data about the surrounding weather conditions. Pilots can use this data to plan their routes. If there’s a storm ahead, for instance, the weather radar will reveal it. The pilot may then adjust the airplane’s path to go around the storm. Regardless, the weather radar will provide pilots with weather-related data such as this.

Nose Cones Are Radomes

Nose cones are colloquially known as “radomes.” This term combines the words “radar” and “dome.”

The nose cone is shaped like a dome. It sits at the front of the fuselage while wrapping around the airplane’s body. Inside of the nose cone is a weather radar. Because it features a dome shape that includes a radar, the nose cone is often referred to as a “radome.”

How Nose Cones Open

Most nose cones are connected to the fuselage with a set of hinges. While stationary on the ground, technicians can pull the airplane’s nose cone open. The hinges will allow the nose cone to swing away from the fuselage. Opening the nose cone will then provide access to the weather radar. Technicians can install or maintain the weather radar by opening the airplane’s nose cone.

When closed, nose cones will typically provide a sealed environment for weather radars. They are designed to prevent the intrusion of moisture. Airplanes often fly through rain. If the nose cone isn’t sealed, water will enter it, at which point the weather radar may sustain damage. Airplanes, however, typically feature a sealed nose cone to protect the weather radar from damage. As long as the nose cone is closed, water won’t be able to enter it.

In Conclusion

The nose cone isn’t empty. If you open up the nose cone on a typical commercial airplane, you’ll discover a weather radar inside of it. The weather radar collects data about the surrounding weather, which pilots use to plan their routes accordingly.