The Art of Flight.

Author:Eldridge, Golda
Position:Book review

The Art of Flight. By John Watkinson. Reston Virginia.: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2016. Tables. Diagrams. Illustrations. Photographs. Index. Pp. xiv, 437. $79.95 pdf, $89.95 hardbound ISBN: 978-16240372-8

This book doesn't fit the mold of most books I've reviewed for Airpower History in that it is far less a history and far more a textbook. The subject matter focuses on flight in all of its scientific aspects, from the basic physics concepts that make flight possible to the specifics of aerodynamics, powerplants, and so on. While I felt the title is misleading (in my opinion, this is all science and not art), I nonetheless found it an interesting and useful read. That said, this is definitely not written for the casual reader or the faint of heart. As a pilot with many years of flying experience but no formal engineering or scientific training, there were parts of the book I found very slow going. In the end, it comes pretty close to the publisher's bill on the back cover: a book for the "technically minded reader who seeks a reflective, thoughtful introduction to the concepts that allow flight."

The book is logically arranged starting with a very brief overview of the development of manned flight. Watkinson then covers an extensive list of subjects ranging from physics to information technology that are relevant to the basic scientific concepts of flight. Following this are the more traditional subjects of aerodynamics, powerplants, and aircraft control. Watkinson includes separate chapters on the helicopter and surface-effect craft...

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