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Principles of Flight for Pilots

ISBN: 978-0-470-71073-9
506 pages
October 2010
Principles of Flight for Pilots (047071073X) cover image


Organised and written as an accessible study guide for student pilots wishing to take commercial ground examinations to obtain ATPL or CPL licenses, Principles of Flight for Pilots also provides a reliable up-to-date reference for qualified and experienced personnel wishing to further improve their understanding of the Principles of Flight and related subjects. Providing a unique aerodynamics reference tool, unlike any book previously Principles of Flight for Pilots explains in significant depth all the topics necessary to pass the Principles of Flight examination as required by the EASA syllabus.

Aviation ground instructor Peter J. Swatton, well reputed for his previous works in the field of pilot ground training, presents the subject in seven parts including basic aerodynamics; level flight aerodynamics; stability; manoeuvre aerodynamics; and other aerodynamic considerations. Each chapter includes self-assessed questions, 848 in total spread over eighteen chapters, with solutions provided at the end of the book containing full calculations and explanations.

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Table of Contents

Series Preface.



List of Abbreviations.

Weight and Mass.


1 Basic Principles.

1.1 The Atmosphere.

1.2 The Composition of Air.

1.3 The International Standard Atmosphere.

1.4 The Physical Properties of Air.

1.5 Newton's Laws of Motion.

1.6 Constant-Acceleration Formulae.

1.7 The Equation of Impulse.

1.8 The Basic Gas Laws.

1.9 The Conservation Laws.

1.10 Bernoulli's Theorem.

1.11 The Equation of Continuity.

1.12 Reynolds Number.

1.13 Units of Measurement.

2 Basic Aerodynamic Definitions.

2.1 Aerofoil Profile.

2.2 Aerofoil Attitude.

2.3 Wing Shape.

2.4 Wing Loading.

2.5 Weight and Mass.

2.6 Airspeeds.

2.7 Speed Summary.

2.8 The Effect of Altitude on Airspeeds.


3 Basic Control.

3.1 Aeroplane Axes and Planes of Rotation.

3.2 The Flight Controls.

3.3 The Elevators.

3.4 Pitch Control.

3.5 Alternative Pitch Controls.

3.6 The Rudder.

3.7 Yaw Control.

3.8 Asymmetric Engine Yawing Moment.

3.9 Asymmetric Rolling Moment.

3.10 Minimum Control Speeds.

3.11 The Ailerons.

3.12 Roll Control.

3.13 Wing Twist.

3.14 Geometric Twist.

3.15 Aerodynamic Twist.

3.16 High-Speed Twist.

4 Lift Generation.

4.1 Turbulent Flow.

4.2 Streamline Flow.

4.3 The Boundary Layer.

4.4 The Laminar Boundary Layer.

4.5 The Turbulent Boundary Layer.

4.6 Boundary-Layer Control.

4.7 Two-Dimensional Flow.

4.8 The Stagnation Point.

4.9 Lift Production.

4.10 The Centre of Pressure (CP).

4.11 Pitching Moments.

4.12 The Aerodynamic Centre.

4.13 Three-Dimensional Flow.

4.14 Wing-Tip Vortices.

4.15 Wake Turbulence.

4.16 Spanwise Lift Distribution.


5 Lift Analysis.

5.1 The Four Forces.

5.2 Mass.

5.3 Lift Analysis.

5.4 The Factors Affecting Cl.

5.5 The Effect of Angle of Attack.

5.6 The Effect of the Wing Shape.

5.7 The Effect of Airframe-Surface Condition.

5.8 The Effect of Reynolds Number.

5.9 The Relationship between Speeds, Angles of Attack and Cl.

5.10 Aerofoil Profiles.

6 Lift Augmentation.

6.1 Wing Loading.

6.2 Clmax Augmentation.

6.3 Slats.

6.4 Slots.

6.5 Leading-Edge Flaps.

6.6 Trailing-Edge Flaps.

7 Drag.

7.1 Parasite (Profile) Drag.

7.2 Surface-Friction Drag.

7.3 Form (Pressure) Drag.

7.4 Induced Drag.

7.5 Ground Effect.

7.6 Wing-Tip Design.

7.7 Wingspan Loading.

7.8 The Coefficient of Induced Drag (Cdi).

7.9 Total Drag.

7.10 Analysis of the Total-Drag Curve.

7.11 The Velocity of Minimum Drag (Vimd).

7.12 The Velocity of Minimum Power (Vimp).

7.13 The Maximum EAS/Drag Ratio (Vi/Dmax) Speed.

7.14 Speed Stability and Instability.

7.15 The Effect of the Variables on Total Drag.

7.16 The Cl v Cd Polar Diagram.

7.17 Analysis of the Lift/Drag Ratio.

7.18 Drag Augmentation.

7.19 Airbrakes.

7.20 Spoilers.

7.21 Barn-Door Flaps.

7.22 Drag Parachutes.

8 Stalling.

8.0.1 The Stall.

8.1 The Boundary Layer.

8.2 Boundary-Layer Separation.

8.3 The Low-Speed Stalling Angle.

8.4 Factors Affecting the Low-Speed Stalling Angle.

8.5 The Effect of Wing Design on the Low-Speed Stall.

8.6 Spanwise-Flow Attenuation Devices.

8.7 Wing-Tip Stalling.

8.8 Stalling Characteristics.

8.9 Summary of Factors Affecting the Stalling Angle.

8.10 Aerodynamic Stall Warning.

8.11 Mechanical Stall Warning.

8.12 Stalling Speed.

8.13 Factors Affecting Stalling Speed.

8.14 Centre of Gravity (CG).

8.15 Mass.

8.16 Altitude.

8.17 Configuration.

8.18 Ice Accretion.

8.19 Wing Planform.

8.20 Summary of Factor Effects on Stalling Speed.

8.21 The Speed Boundary.

8.22 The Effect of a Gust on the Load Factor.

8.23 Turn Stalling Speed.

8.24 Stalling-Speed Definitions.

8.25 The Deep Stall.

8.26 The Accelerated Stall.

8.27 The Power-On Stall.

8.28 The Shock Stall.

8.29 Stall Recovery.

8.30 The Spin.

9 Thrust and Power in Level Flight.

9.1 Thrust.

9.2 Analysis of the Thrust Curves.

9.3 The Effect of the Variables on Thrust.

9.4 Power.

9.5 Analysis of the Power Curves.

9.6 The Effect of the Variables on Power.

9.7 Summary.

10 Advanced Control.

10.1 Wing Torsion and Flexing.

10.2 Wing Flutter.

10.3 Torsional Flexural Flutter.

10.4 Aileron Flutter.

10.5 Divergence.

10.6 Control Secondary Effects.

10.7 Adverse Yaw.

10.8 Counteraction Devices.

10.9 Control-Surface Operation.

10.10 Aerodynamic Balance Methods.

10.11 Primary Control-Surface Trimming.

10.12 Powered Controls.

10.13 Power-Assisted Controls.

10.14 Fully Powered Controls.

10.15 Fly-by-Wire.


11 Static Stability.

11.1 Static Stability.

11.2 The Effect of the Variables on Static Stability.

11.3 Directional Static Stability.

11.4 Yaw and Sideslip.

11.5 The Directional Restoring Moment.

11.6 Aeroplane Design Features Affecting Directional Static Stability.

11.7 Propeller Slipstream.

11.8 Neutral Directional Static Stability.

11.9 Lateral Static Stability.

11.10 Aeroplane Design Features Affecting Lateral Static Stability.

11.11 Sideslip Angle and Rolling Moment Coefficient.

11.12 Analysis of Design Feature Effects.

11.13 Wing Contribution.

11.14 Wing/Fuselage Interference.

11.15 Fuselage/Fin.

11.16 Handling Considerations.

11.17 Longitudinal Static Stability.

11.18 The Centre of Pressure (CP).

11.19 The Neutral Point (NP).

11.20 The Aerodynamic Centre (AC).

11.21 The Centre of Gravity (CG).

11.22 The Static Margin (SM).

11.23 The Trim Point (TP).

11.24 Longitudinal Dihedral.

11.25 Aeroplane-Design Variations.

11.26 The Effect of the Variables on Longitudinal Static Stability.

11.27 Stick-Fixed Longitudinal Static Stability.

11.28 Stick-Free Longitudinal Static Stability.

11.29 Certification Standard Stick-Force Requirements.

11.30 The Effect of CG Position on Stick Force.

11.31 Longitudinal Static Manoeuvre Stability.

11.32 Factors Affecting Stick Force.

11.33 Summary.

11.34 The Effect of Atmospheric Conditions.

11.35 The Factors Affecting Static Stability.

12 Dynamic Stability.

12.1 Longitudinal Dynamic Stability.

12.2 Lateral Dynamic Stability.

12.3 Spiral Instability.

12.4 Dutch Roll.

12.5 Asymmetric Thrust.

12.6 Aerodynamic Damping.

12.7 Summary.

12.8 The Factors Affecting Dynamic Stability.


13 Level-Flight Manoeuvres.

13.1 The Manoeuvre Envelope.

13.2 Manoeuvre-Envelope Limitations.

13.3 Stalling and Design Speed Definitions.

13.4 Limiting Speeds.

13.5 The Load Factor.

13.6 The Gust Load Factor.

13.7 Buffet.

13.8 The Buffet Onset Boundary Chart.

13.9 Turns.

13.10 Turn and Slip Indications.

14 Climb and Descent Aerodynamics.

14.1 Climbing Flight.

14.2 The Forces in a Climb.

14.3 The Effect of the Variables on the Climb.

14.4 Climb Gradient.

14.5 Climb-Gradient Calculations.

14.6 Rate of Climb.

14.7 Rate-of-Climb Calculations.

14.8 Vx and Vy.

14.9 Vx.

14.10 Vy.

14.11 Aircraft Ceiling.

14.12 Vy at the Absolute Ceiling.

14.13 The Effect of the Variables on Vx and Vy.

14.14 The Effect of Climbing-Speed Variations.

14.15 Factors Affecting the Climb.

14.16 The Glide Descent.

14.17 Gliding for Maximum Range.

14.18 The Effect of the Variables on a Glide Descent.

14.19 Gliding for Maximum Endurance.

14.20 Climbing and Descending Turns.


15 High-Speed Flight.

15.0.1 General Introduction.

15.1 High-Speed Definitions.

15.2 High-Speed Calculations.

15.3 The Shockwave.

15.4 Air-Pressure-Wave Patterns.

15.5 The Shockwave Deflection Angle.

15.6 The High-Speed CP.

15.7 Critical Mach Number (Mcrit).

15.8 The Effect of a Shockwave.

15.9 The Flying Controls.

15.10 The Effect of the Aerofoil Profile.

15.11 Swept Wings.

15.12 The Effect of Sweepback.

15.13 Remedial Design Features.

15.14 Area Rule.

15.15 High-Speed-Flight Characteristics.

15.16 Speed Instability.

15.17 The Supercritical Wing.

15.18 Supersonic Airflow.

16 Propellers.

16.1 Propeller Definitions.

16.2 Basic Principles.

16.3 Factors Affecting Propeller Efficiency.

16.4 Airspeed.

16.5 Power Absorption.

16.6 The Effects of a Propeller on Aeroplane Performance.

16.7 Propeller Forces and Moments.

16.8 Propeller-Blade Positions.

16.9 The Constant-Speed Unit (CSU).

16.10 The Effect of a Constant Speed Propeller On a Glide Descent.

16.11 Engine Failure.

17 Operational Considerations.

17.1 Runway-Surface Contamination.

17.2 The Effect of Runway Contamination.

17.3 Aeroplane Contamination.

17.4 Windshear.


18 Summary.

18.1 Aerofoil-Profile Definitions.

18.2 Aerofoil-Attitude Definitions.

18.3 Wing-Shape Definitions.

18.4 High-Speed Definitions.

18.5 Propeller Definitions.

18.6 V Speeds.

18.7 PoF Formulae.

18.8 Key Facts.

18.9 Stalling.

18.10 Stability.

18.11 Propellers.

18.12 The Effect of the Variables on Performance.

19 Solutions (with page references).


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Author Information

Peter Swatton is Director and Chief Ground Instructor at Ground Training Services at Bournemouth/Hurn airport which specialises in training pilots for the JAA examinations. He was a navigator in the Royal Air Force for 37 years, of which 28 were spent as an OCU instructor and Wing examiner: on retirement he became an instructor with the Professional Pilot Study Centre at Bournemouth and remained there for 12 years before assuming his current role.
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“Organised and written as an accessible study guide for student pilots wishing to take commercial ground examinations to obtain ATPL or CPL licenses, Principles of Flight for Pilots also provides a reliable up-to-date reference for qualified and experienced personnel wishing to further improve their understanding of the Principles of Flight and related subjects." (Expofairs, 27 April 2013)

"Organised and written as an accessible study guide for student pilots wishing to take commercial ground examinations to obtain ATPL or CPL licenses, Principles of Flight for Pilots also provides a reliable up-to-date reference for qualified and experienced personnel wishing to further improve their understanding of the Principles of Flight and related subjects." (Aeroweb-fr.net, 1 March 2011)

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