The word nacelle
is derived from the Old French nacele
, which means a small boat
, which was in turn derived from the Latin navicella
. The term is commonly used in aviation, nautical and spacecraft design, to refer to a covered housing
(separate from the fuselage) that holds engines
, fuel, or equipment. In some cases—most notably the World War II
-era P-38 Lightning
airplane—an aircraft's cockpit may also be housed in a nacelle. The covering is typically aerodynamically
- In a jet engine the nacelle is composed of the engine inlet, fan cowl, thrust reverser, and the exhaust nozzle. See Podded engines.
- In ballooning, including that of airships, the nacelle is a suspended basket that contains machinery and passengers. This is the original French use of the term. In English, gondola has replaced its use.
- In a wind turbine, the nacelle refers to the structure that houses all of the generating components, gearbox, drive train, etc.
- In science fiction (along with many other terms of naval origin) it is used to describe various parts separate from the main portion of fictional starships. See warp drive in the Star Trek series.