Cover image for The airplane : a history of its technology
The airplane : a history of its technology
Anderson, John D., Jr. (John David), 1937-
Publication Information:
Reston, VA : American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 369 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TL670.3 .A49 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Commissioned in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Powered Flight. The airplane is a system comprising aspects of aerodynamics, propulsion, flight dynamics, and structures. This book outlines the history of the technical development of the airplane. Richly illustrated, it moves the reader through time beginning with Leonardo da Vinci and forward to the present. In each chronological period, the various aspects of the synthesis of aerodynamics, propulsion, flight dynamics, and structures to the design of flying machines is described and critically evaluated.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

After a distinguished career as a professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Maryland, Anderson embarked on studies of aviation history at the Smithsonian Institution. This book represents an unusually knowledgeable melding of technical and historical expertise. His earlier A History of Aerodynamics and Its Impact on Flying Machines (CH, Jun'98) focused more on theory; this new book is geared more to discussion of specific design characteristics and aircraft that represented notable advances in the progress of aviation. Moreover, he pays more attention to airplane technology since the advent of jet-propelled aircraft. About three fourths of the text represents a detailed, step-by-step description of struggles to find suitable airframes and engines, with acknowledgment of the individual designers and engineers who led the way to mature, propeller-driven planes of the mid-20th century. In clear, readable style, Anderson charts development of efficient airfoils, propellers, structures, and research that produced modern aircraft. He notes milestones in the design of both military and civilian airplanes. The book is literally peppered with photos and line drawings, carefully selected to illustrate themes addressed in the text. Not only is it very readable, but it will serve as a first-rate reference for queries about aviation technologies. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels. R. E. Bilstein emeritus, University of Houston--Clear Lake

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Chapter 1 Introductionp. 1
Chapter 2 Flailing in the Dark: Aeronautics Before the 19th Centuryp. 9
Chapter 3 Starts and Stops: Aeronautical Progress in the 19th Centuryp. 27
Chapter 4 The Real Beginning: The Wright Flyerp. 81
Chapter 5 Seat-of-the-Pants Design: The Era of the Strut-and-Wire Biplanep. 131
Chapter 6 The First Design Revolution: The Era of the Mature Propeller-Driven Airplanep. 183
Chapter 7 The Second Design Revolution: The Era of the Jet-Propelled Airplanep. 283
Bibliographyp. 361
Indexp. 363