Thursday, January 20, 2005

Flight Theory and Aerodynamics

I just bought the book Flight Theory and Aerodynamics: A Practical Guide to Operational Safety by Charles E. Dole and James E. Lewis. Air Canada recommends it to applicants for pilot jobs.

My first impression is favourable. It starts with basic definitions and equations of motion then works through the four forces, propeller, jet and helicopter theory, performance in various phases of flight, stability and trans-sonic flight. Every chapter ends with a summary and study problems, and answers are provided at the back of the book. It seems better organized than Hunt's Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators, although it reproduces many of the irritating graphs from that work. It might be suitable for a core text for a commercial level theory of flight course, but students would probably balk at paying $120 Canadian for a textbook.

Weaknesses include the use of imperial measurements throughout. The authors argue that that the (American) pilot is more familiar with imperial measurements than metric, but who uses the slug for quantifying mass? In the references list, the typsetter's A and Q keys seem to have stuck together, resulting in citations like "Aerospace Saqfety" and "Applied AQerodynamics." A small quibble, perhaps, but pilots need that attention to detail.

As I actually read more, I'll post again.


Nicolas said...

How dare you poke fun at the imperial system? Bah random measurements make sense. Besides the imperial system is the standard for flight with the exception of altimeter pressure which I really don't get. What's a milibar? Uses inches darn it!

Arbizaa said...
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