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Slats are aerodynamic surfaces on the leading edge of the wings of fixed-wing aircraft which, when deployed, allow the wing to operate at a higher angle of attack. A higher coefficient of lift is produced as a result of angle of attack and speed, so by deploying slats an aircraft can fly at slower speeds, or take off and land in shorter distances. They are usually used while landing or performing maneuvers which take the aircraft close to the stall, but are usually retracted in normal flight to minimize drag.
Automatic – the slat lies flush with the wing leading edge until reduced aerodynamic forces allow it to extend by way of aerodynamics when needed. Sometimes referred to as Handley-Page slats.
Fixed – the slat is permanently extended. This is sometimes used on specialist low-speed aircraft (these are referred to as slots) or when simplicity takes precedence over speed.
Powered – the slat extension can be controlled by the pilot. This is commonly used on airliners.
source: Wikitionary / Wikipedia and Related Sources (Edited)
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