Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

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By David Wood
#1757179
Since we're all grounded, let me entice you into a bit of useful home-schooling. Some of you will have heard of a book called Stick and Rudder written by someone named Wolfgang Langeweische in the 1940s. Some of you will also have read it already, of course, in which case you can collect a Merit and ignore this thread.

For those who haven't, may I recommend it to you. It is full of some very clearly articulated points of learning about the theory of flight. It focusses especially upon the absolute importance to pilots of the Angle of Attack (the angle at which the airflow meets the wing) and laments the fact that even today so much theoretical and practical instruction skates over this critically important piece of knowledge. It explains much more clearly than I've seen elsewhere about things like Adverse Yaw and so on. I've been flying for quite a long time, but I found it genuinely thought-provoking and it has made me reconsider and re-evaluate some aspects of how I teach my students, when I eventually get to do so again.

To be fair, you do have to wade through quite a lot of odd language and terminology because it was written in the 40s and is in a strange dialect which I assume is the American version of Olde English. There are also one or two slightly dubious departures into the land of the hobby-horse which you have to kind of nod to and move on. But once you get through that it's a really thought-provoking read. I'd go so far as to say that it's a book that all pilots ought to have read.

So, if you are bored by not being able to fly and yet are still intrigued by how in the hell we are able to fly in any case, get a copy and give it a read. I guarantee you'll learn something useful.
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By PaulB
#1757185
I tried to read Stick & rudder a couple of times, but couldn't get on with it..... Maybe I should try again....
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By lobstaboy
#1757210
PaulB wrote:I tried to read Stick & rudder a couple of times, but couldn't get on with it..... Maybe I should try again....


Yes, do try it again.
I totally agree with David, it's really very good and explains loads of stuff from the perspective of the pilot that I have never found explained anywhere else.
By PaulB
#1757226
I just found the prose difficult to read.... perhaps it was the translation? I found the same with the Antoine de St Exupéry books.
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By lobstaboy
#1757228
PaulB wrote:I just found the prose difficult to read.... perhaps it was the translation? I found the same with the Antoine de St Exupéry books.


The prose is a bit odd, but it's not a translation - despite the name Langewiesche was American - he was a test pilot at Curtis Aircraft in the 1940s. I think that's just the way they spoke!
(I agree about St Ex by the way - I'm sure his stuff suffers in English from less than excellent translation - part of the problem is translation of technical terms but somehow it's more than that...)
By PaulB
#1757229
lobstaboy wrote:
PaulB wrote:I just found the prose difficult to read.... perhaps it was the translation? I found the same with the Antoine de St Exupéry books.


The prose is a bit odd, but it's not a translation - despite the name Langewiesche was American - he was a test pilot at Curtis Aircraft in the 1940s. I think that's just the way they spoke!


:shock: He certainly didn't compose the best prose. I may give it another go... after all we've all got plenty of time on our hands these days.
By white light
#1757278
Some strange dialect withstanding, I love this book! I’ve read it cover to cover a couple of times & still refer to it now.
His chapter on forced landings really makes more sense than most of today’s books & the ideology of the train passenger moving to explain IAS & groundspeed is brilliant.
As the OP says, give it a go!
By MachFlyer
#1757310
This thread reminded me I bought a copy of this at the start of my training but I put it away when I started on the Pooleys, seems as good a time as any to give it another go
Image

No idea why the picture didn’t come out the right way up, oh well :D
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By Flyin'Dutch'
#1757343
I flogged my copy a couple of months ago after it having languished on my shelves for 2 decades.

Indigestible.

The message is good but if its format is poorly coded its lost in transmission.

It's considered a classic, I think the reality is that it adds inches in personal libraries without being read. Maybe someone (@David Wood ) should rewrite it and publish it via Ian?
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By rf3flyer
#1757367
I still have my copy, which I read years before I could afford to learn to fly. Sure it has some odd terminology to a modern reader but it's a classic. Give it a go, you might learn something.
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By David Wood
#1757408
PaulB wrote:I tried to read Stick & rudder a couple of times, but couldn't get on with it..... Maybe I should try again....


Confession time: I too tried to read it a few years ago and then gave up because of the style of presentation. But I re-read it recently and it truly is worth ploughing through (plowing through :lol: ) the Americanese obstacles because beyond it there are some really interesting insights.
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