Review of Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots

Cover of Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots

For the past few months, I’ve been reading Steve Pomroy’s Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots. Written by an aerobatic instructor with a background in engineering, Applied Aerodynamics brings clarity to a fascinating and often misunderstood subject. I think it’s a great read and a great resource for pilots of all levels. Here’s why.

I have to salute the author for his unique and practical organization. Pomroy separates the book into two parts: theory and application. He begins by introducing all the background physics that aviators ought to know: four forces, lift, stability and the like. Part two uses the concepts covered at the start of the book to discuss each phase of flight from taxi to touchdown, including maneuvers like slow flight and unusual attitudes.

Airfoils producing lift from Applied Aerodynamics

Pomroy’s hand drawn illustrations are unassuming and easy to understand

Here’s the beauty it: you don’t have to read the book cover to cover. In fact, I think Applied Aerodynamics makes a great desktop reference. For example, want to save some gas? Read the chapter on range and endurance. Not making sense? Dig further and read up in the theory section and learn about drag and power required versus thrust and power available.

Another great thing about Steve Pomroy’s Applied Aerodynamics is that it is a relatively easy read. Let’s not kid around, this is a physics book and the subject matter is pretty technical, but the author doesn’t assume too much. Instead, he writes at a measured pace with simple language that makes sense.

All about propellers

Applied Aerodynamics tells all about propellers.

I also really like the diagrams. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is especially true with complicated and abstract subject matter. Applied Aerodynamics is filled with excellent hand-drawn pictures that must have come straight from the blackboard of the author’s classroom.

As the name implies, Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots is accessible to all pilots, but I think flight instructors will especially want to keep this one on hand. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of hand-waving that goes on when explaining aerodynamics to students – sometimes this is to keep it simple, but sometimes it’s because we just don’t fully get it ourselves! This book is a great resource to build your lectures around, complete with amazing visualizations of tough concepts like induced and parasite drag.

You can get this book and read more about it at Skywriters Publishing.


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About the author
Pat Flannigan is a professional pilot and aviation blogger. He has been flying for fifteen years and is currently working as an airline pilot in the United States.

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