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This term, borrowed from sailing, refers to the weight-bearing horizontal (or arched) overhead structural member of the cockpit; because it is an integral member of the plan’s whole structure, rather than an addition or option, it often survives a crash and is an integral part of the cockpit’s protection to the pilot and passengers; without it the cockpit would be nothing more than an umbrella. On a boat, it bears the official craft identification number, because that timber or beam survives crashes and submergings. It is most often the thickest part of a plane’s construction, and is made of materials both light and strong. “Bulkhead” has taken on the metaphorical meaning of a main supporting member of an organization or business—the necessary element, the “strength” of the design.
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