Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Understanding Flight

February 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 186


Aimed at an adult audience, Understanding Flight is an ambitious book. It aims to explain complex aerodynamic principles and technologies that make airplanes possible by using simple diagrams in about 300 pages.

The Good

The technical facts in the book were very well researched. I have to say, I was impressed. Some of the concepts covered are very hard to understand, much less explain clearly in a non-technical fashion. There are lots of technical explanations in the book, and they are all competently written.

Most pages have inset boxes with interesting bits of aviation trivia. A lot of the trivia was new to me, which was a surprise. That's hard to do with an aviation buff like me.

The Bad

The writing and editing is competent but not the best. I caught an occasional typo. Some of the sentences were poorly worded. There were a couple of sentences that I reread several times because I couldn't understand what the author was trying to tell me. In the end I always had to give up.

Some might argue that this is the type of material that one can find for free on Wikipedia. That may be true for a lot of it, but the quality of the illustrations, the consistency in the writing style, and the convenience of a well-organized printed book are hard to beat.

I found the lack of a bibliography a bit bizarre. Given that this is an introductory book to a complex subject, it is very natural to feel a need to look for more in-depth information elsewhere.

The Ugly

The book is humorless. The writing style is somewhat conversational, but it is pretty dry. The boxes with the trivia struck me as an attempt to lighten up the book. Unfortunately, for me the trivia was just a distraction. It rarely had anything to do with the text surrounding it. Rather than enhance the text, most of the time the trivia just made me lose my train of thought.

The author did a great job of researching his facts, but sometimes he fails to connect the dots. For example, he first explains that the larger the diameter of a propeller, the more efficient it can be at producing a given amount of thrust. Then he goes on to talk about multibladed propellers. When he explains why they are less efficient than two-bladed propellers, he fails to make what I thought was an obvious connection. With more blades, the diameter of the propeller has to be less, which leads to lower overall propeller efficiency. I agree with the explanation that he provided, but it struck me as incomplete.


This is a good book. Very well researched, the facts about airplanes are presented clearly. There is lots and lots of good information here. I actually learned a thing or two about airplanes from reading this book. Given how much time I have spent doing my own research, that is hard to do.

I own the second edition of the book. From the description of the changes since the first edition in the book's introduction, it seems to me that grabbing a used copy of the first edition would be a good bargain purchase. In other words, most people would be perfectly happy with the first edition. There are many copies of this earlier edition available for $5 or less. They would make an excellent buy. founder - Home of the best model airplane calculator. Free!

Author of RCadvisor's Model Airplane Design Made Easy and other books.

Host of Ask the RCadvisor in the free weekly podcasts.

AMA Scientific Leader and Contest Director #4601.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Understanding Flight














Airplane Design



Finding and collecting vintage comic books for fun and profit is something that is interesting, but can be difficult. With so many places to look, narrowing down the options can be painstaking, until

By: Jorge Orduna l Book Reviews > Comics Humor l July 07, 2012 lViews: 285

Action packed story that reads like you are there in person. Lieutenant Commander Andrew Carlson was a U.S. Navy Seal. He was as rough and tough as they come. He was part of a mission to be inserted

By: Cy Hilterman l Book Reviews > Mysteries Thrillers l July 06, 2012 lViews: 278

"Look Me In The Eye, If You Dare!" Okay, all of You "Internet Millionaire Moguls," I want some answers, and I want them now.

By: Travis L Perkins l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 309

Crush it is a great "How to" book on using social media and being real with yourself on what you do. Gary is very passionate about what he does. The key to his success is blending who he is with what

By: Joe Mosed l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 546

My resolution this year was to knuckle down and do something to bring in some new clients for my practice, so I was pleased to see that Internet Marketing Bible for Accountants looked like it might

By: Karen K Jefferson l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 295

When promoting your business online, are you using internet marketing? If you have yet to spread your branches into the online world, you ought to consider doing so.

By: Joyce McNeill Christopher l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 281

In 490 BC, a messenger set out from Marathon, running to Athens with news that the Persians had been defeated whereupon he collapsed; some histories say the messenger may have covered the 26.2 miles

By: Roberto Sedyciasl Book Reviews > Non Fictionl June 28, 2012 lViews: 265

If you look at successful marriages, you probably notice that the couples involved have their own language for success; it may be a look; a touch; a phrase, or something else and it is likely to be

By: Roberto Sedyciasl Book Reviews > Non Fictionl June 28, 2012 lViews: 250

It was near the end of World War II and a mixed group of 24 WACS and soldiers boarded a C-47 - the Army Air Corps workhorse aircraft - for a trip through "Shangri-La" as they would see it from the

By: Roberto Sedyciasl Book Reviews > Non Fictionl June 27, 2012 lViews: 337

As we reach Book Four of Robert Caro's masterful and highly detailed biography of Lyndon B. Johnson, whom some have called the most powerful man ever to occupy the office of Senate majority leader,

By: Roberto Sedyciasl Book Reviews > Non Fictionl June 27, 2012 lViews: 231

After watching the HBO program "Boardwalk Empire Season One" on Netflix (4 disks - 12 episodes), I decided to purchase the book "Boardwalk Empire," written by Nelson Johnson, on which the HBO program

By: Joseph Brunol Book Reviews > Non Fictionl June 26, 2012 lViews: 316

Some years ago, there was a work entitled "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair" and you have to wonder what one has to do with the other and the real answer is nothing, other than the fact that one

By: Roberto Sedyciasl Book Reviews > Non Fictionl June 26, 2012 lViews: 214

A nice read and great photos. Inexpensive, too. I'm glad I bought this one.

By: Carlos Reyesl Book Reviews > Non Fictionl March 05, 2012 lViews: 153

Thinking of getting into the hobby? Use this guide to start off on the right foot when learning to fly radio controlled airplanes.

By: Carlos Reyesl Home & Family > Crafts Hobbiesl March 01, 2012 lViews: 190

Right now designing an indoor model airplane is a frustrating experience. It does not have to be that way.

By: Carlos Reyesl Home & Family > Crafts Hobbiesl February 29, 2012 lViews: 202

A priceless collection of airplane three-view drawings and photographs. A must have for every World War I scale fan.

By: Carlos Reyesl Book Reviews > Non Fictionl February 24, 2012 lViews: 274

Ready to get serious about becoming a better park pilot? Here's a fantastic book to help you.

By: Carlos Reyesl Book Reviews > Non Fictionl February 07, 2012 lViews: 243