This is for those pilots who aren't satisfied with mystery. You know how planes work. You know the principles. But maybe you aren't quite sure how to prove them, or explain them in satisfying detail. This is for those who don't mind a little math, but aren't seeking an aeronautical engineering degree either. If you’ve read the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and passed your Private Pilot and Instrument Rating check-rides, you’re more than equipped with the prerequisite knowledge this text requires. You won't pass an aeronautical science course by the time you're done, but you might blow your instructor's mind, and maybe teach them a thing or two. You know what, when, where, and why. Now learn how.
The concepts and answers discussed include:
• How the lift equation is formulated from fundamental principles of physics
• What centrifugal force actually is and how exactly it effects stall speed
• How the concept of vector spaces explains sweptback wing principles
• A mathematical explanation of induced drag and its relationship to velocity
• A thorough explanation of how and why maximum endurance and maximum range velocities vary between propeller and jet powered aircraft
• How best angle and best rate of climb velocities are calculated, and exactly why they are different
• How to derive the thrust output of a jet engine from the momentum equation
• An overview of electrical theory, and what all the electrical terms in your aircraft handbook actually mean
• How direct and alternating current are generated, and exactly how one is converted to the other
• An explanation of Pascal's Law and how it is used to design hydraulic systems
And much more!
Pilots are a practical bunch for the most part. But it often seems that a large portion of them, whether or not they will admit it, have a romantic side. They’ll appreciate the romance of flight occasionally, quietly, and mostly to themselves. This book and its content could hardly be considered romantic or poetic, but it might be criticized by some as extraneous. In other words, impractical.
One of the most infuriating answers an eager student pilot or seasoned veteran can receive is, "You don't need to know that." By the same token, one of the most cringe-inducing questions a student can ask an instructor is "Why do I need to know that?" You probably don’t need to know at least 50% of what you learned during your initial required training. But you learn these things because they make you better and more competent. They make the whole picture that is aviation a little clearer.
That is where the romance comes in. When you see how a bunch of seemingly unrelated rules, definitions, procedures, and formulas fit together into the thing we call flight. The clearer you see that picture, the more beautiful it tends to appear. You can appreciate it just a little more.
Be practical. Be competent. And every once in a while, be just a little romantic.