Understanding Flight, Second Edition

Front Cover
McGraw Hill Professional, May 1, 2009 - Technology & Engineering - 306 pages

Discover how planes get--and stay--airborne

Now you can truly master an understanding of the phenomenon of flight. This practical guide is the most intuitive introduction to basic flight mechanics available. Understanding Flight, Second Edition, explains the principles of aeronautics in terms, descriptions, and illustrations that make sense--without complicated mathematics. Updated to include helicopter flight fundamentals and aircraft structures, this aviation classic is required reading for new pilots, students, engineers, and anyone fascinated with flight.

Understanding Flight, Second Edition, covers:

  • Physics of flight
  • Wing design and configuration
  • Stability and control
  • Propulsion
  • High-speed flight
  • Performance and safety
  • Aerodynamic testing
  • Helicopters and autogyros
  • Aircraft structures and materials


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Dear reader,
I am sad to say David W. Anderson is not correct.... Air does not fly into.. around or over wings... wings fly threw air...! .......Air that is not blowing on a clear day...
He like many ,are suffering a case of "Wind Tunnel- itis "..!
However "air has energy" that is exploited by the wing passing by...the angle of molecular interaction with the surfaces of a wing are varied ...The effective temperature is lower on upper wing area and higher under the wing....temperature equals number of molecules per time that strike surfaces...! More molecules are striking the underside area than the top of the wing in same time frame.
If you want understand how flight takes place .. dig a bit deeper and discover it for yourself,
G. Malcolm Brown

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I own several books on flight and yet this is the only book that I own both the first and second edition. This is because 1) it is good book on flight and 2) there are differences between the two editions. The first edition has a nice introduction chapter on Basic Concepts that for whatever reason was left out of the second edition. While the second edition finishes with two chapters not included in the first edition: Ch. 8 Helicopters and Autogyros and Ch. 9 Structures.
The combine knowledge of the authors is such that they are able to cover all the angles on understanding how airplanes fly. David F. Anderson is a retired physicist and a private pilot while Scott Eberhardt works for Boeing in the field of high-lift aerodynamic and he too is a private pilot. Both authors hold Ph.D.s from big name universities.
The book does fulfill its titled mission of helping people understand how airplanes fly. There are a lot of incorrect beliefs on how airplanes fly and so the authors patiently address these beliefs in explaining why these beliefs are wrong. If ever an equation is needed the authors state the equation in words rather than express it as a mathematical equation. For myself I like the fact that they kept the mathematics to a minimum, but of the equations that are absolutely necessary I feel that it would have been better for these equations to be expressed in the normal mathematical form. Also some of the pictures were not clear because of the poor reproduction of the photos. All the same, the authors do a better job of explaining of key aspects of flight than what I have seen in any other book on the subject.


Chapter 1 Principles of Flight
Chapter 2 Wings
Chapter 3 Stability and Control
Chapter 4 Airplane Propulsion
Chapter 5 HighSpeed Flight
Chapter 6 Airplane Performance
Chapter 7 Aerodynamic Testing
Chapter 8 Helicopters and Autogyros
Chapter 9 Structures
Basic Concepts
Misapplications of Bernoullis Principle

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About the author (2009)

David Anderson is a lifelong pilot. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Columbia University.

Scott Eberhardt works in high-lift aerodynamics with Product Development, at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

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