The type of propulsion of an aircraft determines the design of the aircraft nose. The first powered aircraft in aviation history were single-engine; their propeller was mostly on the nose of the aircraft. At first, no great emphasis was placed on the aerodynamic design of the nose, but on the accommodation of the engine and the propeller . The flight speed was low at that time (example: the Ju 52 has a top speed of 290 km / h).
Various types of further development also changed the appearance of the aircraft nose. On the one hand, the propellers or engines could also be attached to the wings or to the side of the aircraft fuselage ( propeller pod ). The nose mostly only had the task of accommodating on- board cannons and improving the aerodynamics of the aircraft. Their shape has been continuously developed and adapted to the streamlines on the aircraft fuselage.
Above all, the ever increasing flight speeds due to improved or more powerful engines and finally the introduction of jet engines drove the redesign of the aircraft nose. It often took the form of a rocket nose .
Since the Second World War, the nose of aircraft has had a new role: radar and sensor systems are installed in it, which "scan" the area in front of the aircraft and, after processing the data obtained, give the pilot a far-reaching picture of the airspace in front of him. This data is also input for the autopilot . In English, the aircraft nose was then also called "Radom" (German radar dome ). Fighter planes usually have attack or passive radar in the aircraft nose as well as friend-foe detection .
In commercial aircraft , weather radar and other flight instruments are often located there . The tip of the Concorde is a hydraulically lowerable nose with a retractable, transparent visor. At speeds of over 460 km / h, the nose and the protective shield were raised completely for reasons of aerodynamics.
In the second half of the 20th century, it was widespread in the second half of the 20th century to design the aircraft nose as a glazed dome, in which the navigator's workplace was located, particularly in large military and civil airliners from the Soviet Union .
Modern sports and training aircraft (also for military purposes) still have a propeller drive, which is housed in the aircraft nose (and not in propeller pods on the wing). In gliders , the tow coupling for aircraft towing is also attached to the aircraft nose.