It’s called winglet. The curved part on the tip of an airplane wing that reduces vortices so that aircrafts can be more efficient.
I used to see this kind of curvature on my little cousin’s paper airplane. I would laugh at him—poor him—whenever he made that final fold on the wing tip. “Why do you make that silly folding? It would have no effect at all on your airplane’s performance. HA HA HA!”
He would stick to his design and nervously threw the airplane into the sky. Of course it made no difference. Of course no noticeable effect would be observed given the shape of the wing and the very small surface area and the very low traveling speed. But aerodynamics aside, in this humble post I want to underline how much I was struck when I realized that more and more modern airplanes are using this kind of ‘silly folding’.
The date was August 17, 2015 and I was about to take-off on a Boeing 737 from Kualanamu International Airport after attending one of the best wedding in God’s green Earth. My seat was located right beside the wing and I can see the wing through my window. All of a sudden a curiosity was aroused when I saw the curved part of its tip. “Why is it curved?” I wondered. Surely it will result in more drag? Surely it will make the wing heavier? So what’s the point of having this silly upward-bent piece of aluminum?
The itching curiosity made me look it up on the Internet, albeit the impending departure of the aircraft. A stewardess had to remind me to switch my mobile phone off. I felt like yelling to her, “But this is curious, Miss!” Thank God I got the answer just before the airplane finished taxiing.
Ignorance is bliss, they say, and how blissfully ironic it was when I scoffed at my little cousins. Not that I was aerodynamically wrong, but this reminds me of my ignorance that it might be a good idea to apply that curve to a jumbo jet. With better attitude to my younger cousin I might learn something new and, better still, he could have been inspired to pursue an excellent career in aerospace engineering. Who knows? Inspiration can carry a man to places he doesn’t even dare dreaming about; he might be the next Igor Sikorsky, for Pete’s sake.
There are countless stories out there—I have even heard some from my friends—about how youngsters’ ideas are neglected just because those ideas come from “a cheeky young sod”. Okay, his idea may be a bit odd. An inexperienced man he may be, but surely it doesn’t hurt to listen to his idea?
It is good for a country to have a great older generation, but it is even better to have great youngsters. Great youngsters are not born, though. They are nurtured and taught by their seniors.
Imagine what would happen if 87 years ago there was no one from the older generation listening to what the youth wanted to say and helping them. Or worse, if the seniors scoffed and discouraged them instead. Probably there wouldn’t be an event called Sumpah Pemuda. But luckily, the older generation listened to their roaring voice and they rocked the country and 17 years later Indonesia entered a totally new phase in her life.
So herewith I would like to humbly re-declare it. With no disrespect to the event that took place 87 years ago, I reiterate the Pledge: that we are going to rock this country again. As young Garudas cannot fly without proper nurture from their parents, it is also the same with young men. So you old men, please guide us youngsters to fly.
And to you youngsters of Indonesia, let us toast for this emerging golden period. Let us nervously throw our paper airplane to the sky. Let us have a good time. Let us have a really, really, GOOD time!
Selamat hari Sumpah Pemuda. Mungkin 17 tahun lagi kita akan berpesta.
*For those of you who are ready to highlight the irony regarding my use of English in this post: sorry mate, I have my own consideration. I still use Bahasa Indonesia on my regular daily conversation. Better use your time to figure out a way to launch spaceships to Mars.