Wednesday, November 09, 2005

See How It Flies

I haven't written much about real flying so far in my blog - I've been in total space cadet mode, I guess, plus I unfortunately haven't been doing much real flying recently, at least as a pilot (all those passenger hours in 747's and 777's over the Pacific don't count). But when I was taking flight lessons back in 2000-2001, there was one web reference that was really helpful in a lot of situations - See How It Flies by John Denker.

See How It Flies is really a book on how to fly airplanes, masterfully integrating the practical arts of flying (in the spirit of the classic Stick & Rudder) with the physics of flight, illustrated with dozens of clear diagrams. Dr. Denker is well qualified to write this sort of book - he is both a Ph.D. physicist and a flight instructor. He is also very good at explaining things. He even wrote his own wind-tunnel simulation program to generate diagrams like the one shown above!

Amazing and free. As I write more educational materials related to space flight and Orbiter (for kids and interested adults), I sometimes think about how good this book is, and how well it integrates the practice with the science. It gives me something to shoot for.

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