Introduction to Aircraft Design (Cambridge Aerospace, Series 11) Paperback – 14 Oct 1999
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'This book is very helpful for students and young design engineers as well as for aeronautical enthusiasts who intend to get a complete overview of all types of aircraft, their specific design considerations, the basic principles and why aircraft programmes in the past have been successful or failed.' Aircraft Design
' … this is a book intended as an 'introduction' to the whole field of aircraft design. It sets out to answer significant design questions such as 'Why design a new aircraft? Why is it that shape? What is under the skin? … of value to undergraduate and graduate aeronautical enginnering students and professionals working in the aerospace industry.' Air International
A well-illustrated and accessible introduction to the fundamentals of civil and military aircraft design providing an insight into the requirements of specialists in a design team. Suitable for undergraduate and graduate aeronautical engineering students, it will be a valuable reference for professionals.See all Product Description
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The book is relatively easy to read and does contain good information; the problem is that it is frequently unfocused. Exclusive of the extensive appendices the text is only 178 pages long, which is quite brief for a book on such an all-encompassing subject. Diversions into esoteric areas such as missile guidance, V/STOL, and the Hermes Spaceplane seem misguided given the limited length of this book; frequently a new subject is introduced, but after getting the reader interested the author simply moves onto something else, making for a frustrating and distracting reading experience.
My favorite chapters from the book are chapter six "What's Under the Skin? - Airframe systems," which provides a good basic introduction to aircraft systems architecture, and chapter eleven, "What Can Go Wrong? - Some lessons from past aircraft projects, and a glimpse into the future," which describes the pitfalls of aircraft design illustrated with extremely relevant examples. The appendices themselves are very good, and contain more concise data-driven (and mathematical) information than most of the text. This book is suitable for use in accompaniment with other texts for an introductory undergraduate course on aircraft development, but is too basic for engineering or graduate study. It is also suitable for reading outside an academic environment if the goal is a basic understanding of the aircraft design process.
Some of his information on armament systems is grossly inaccurate. Furthermore, the systems design process section does not reflect the current state of the art in the discipline of Systems Engineering. I expect improvement in the next edition and hope the author makes more of an effort to talk to engineers on the other side of the pond.
The author (John P. Fielding) is a professor at Cranfield University and the material of the book is specially developed for the courses that he teach. Thus, the material is perhaps not adapted for other universities. Moreover, material is presented in a British perspective. My recommendation is, if you are a first or second year student in aerospace engineering and your are interested, borrow the book at the library but to buy it, you will never use it again.
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