Copyright © A. Filippone (1997-2005). All Rights Reserved.
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Reference Desk

General Literature


The books listed below are easily found in any decent engineering library, although many are out of print. When more than one edition of a book was available, only the most recent one was reported.

  1. Bairstow L. Applied Aerodynamics, Longman and Greens Co., London 1920.
    Review: This book belongs to the history of aerodynamics, as it was written shortly after WWI. There is a number of unique problems and data, particularly on monoplanes, biplanes and triplanes, besides a large number of design considerations and experimental data. The book is thick and includes stability considerations.

  2. Ferri A, Elements of Aerodynamics of Supersonic Flows, The MacMillan Co., New York, 1949.
    Review: Classic book on fundamentals from pioneer of supersonic flow. This is an old edition of a book on high speed aerodynamics; it contains scientific formulation of many problems (shock waves, small disturbance theory, lift and induced drag.)

  3. Hilton WF. High-Speed Aerodynamics, Longman Green and Co., London, 1952.
    Review: Outdated technical book, written too early in the high-speed age. There is much physical insight with little math. Good chapter on high speed wind tunnels.

  4. Shapiro AH. The Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Compressible Fluid Flow, Pergamon Press, New York, 1953 (2 volumes).
    Review: MUST HAVE. These books discuss the fundamentals of aero-thermodynamics. Particularly indicated for transonic and supersonic one-dimensional flows (nozzles and such). They have some old-style graphic analysis (ex. hodograph method). The references reported may no longer apply. A landmark work.

  5. Kuchemann D, Weber J. Aerodynamics of Propulsion, McGraw Hill, 1953.
    Review: The book deals with the fundamental equations of propulsion (momentum, energy, mass), and treats one- and two-dimensional problems of propellers, ram-jets, turbojets. There is a discussion of air intakes, cooling, jet problems and aerodynamic propulsion in nature (somewhat surpassed now).

  6. Many Authors, Fundamentals of Gas Dynamics, Emmons E.W. (editor), Princeton Series on High Speed Aerodynamics and Jet Propulsion, Vol. III, Princeton Univ. Press, 1957.
    Review: One volume of encyclopedic series written by technical authorities in the mid 1950s. Although this may sound old, the series is very good, reporting the scientific bases of a broad class of aerodynamic problems (nozzles, diffusers, detonations, flames, shock waves, molecular and slip flows).

  7. Prandtl L. Foundamentals of Hydro and Aeromechanics , Dover Publ., Inc. New York, 1957
    Review: Based on Prantl’s lectures at Gottingen. Basics, easy to read

  8. Prandtl L. Applied Hydro and Aeromechanics , Dover Publ., Inc. New York, 1957.
    Review: Based on Prandtl’s lectures at Gottingen. Experimental topics (including basic wind tunnel testing and instrumentation); Companion book to the above.

  9. Dommasch DO, Sherby SS, Connolly TF. Airplane Aerodynamics, Pitman and Sons, London, 1957 (3rd edition).
    Review: This is an introductory book limited to aircraft problems: wing theory, aerodynamic drag, propulsion systems, propellers, and basic performances (longitudinal and lateral stability). Can go without it.

  10. Abbott IH, Von Doenhoff A. Theory of Wing Sections, Dover Publ. Inc., New York, 1959.
    Review: It has been a reference for airfoil data for over 40 years. You can find a lot of more recent publications, but this book set a standard. Besides airfoils data in a range of Reynolds and Mach numbers, there is some related aerodynamic theory (airfoils definitions, boundary layers, compressibility effects).

  11. Durand FW (editor). Aerodynamic Theory, Peter Smith Publ., 1967.
    Review: MUST HAVE. Fundamentals on general aerodynamic theory written by the most important names prior to WW2. This is a 6 volumes collection, an encyclopedic treatment of aerodynamics. Among the topics difficult to find in other books, there is some dirigibles aerodynamics (by M. Munk).

  12. Thwaites B (editor). Incompressible Aerodynamics, Dover Publ. 1987.
    Review: airfoils, wings, bodies. Compiled with works from several authors.

  13. Lachmann GV (editor), Boundary Layer and Flow Control, Pergamon Press, New York, 1961.
    Review: Edition of state-of-the-art boundary layer technology in the 1960s, still source of valuable information. Particularly indicated for high lift systems.

  14. Ashley H, Landahl M. Aerodynamics of Wings and Bodies, Addison-Wesley Publ. Company, Reading, Mass. 1965.
    Review: MUST HAVE. Aerodynamic theory with an elegance seldom found anywhere else. In its unusual layout it contains an interesting treatment of interference and drag at supersonic speeds. This book sets a standard.

  15. Hoerner SF. Fluid Dynamic Drag,
    Hoerner Fluid Dynamics, 1965.
    Review: MUST HAVE, though difficult to find. Although now a bit outdated, it is still a source of valuable information, and includes drag coefficients on almost anything that moves through air or water. Need a CD ? – Ask Hoerner. A lifetime achievement.

  16. Hoerner SF. Fluid Dynamic Lift,
    Hoerner Fluid Dynamics, 1965.
    Review: as above, although the drag listings tend to be more interesting.

  17. Chang PK. Separation of Flow, Pergamon Press, 1966.
    Review: This is a thick book of encyclopedic detail about flow separation in two dimensions, three dimensions and on bodies of revolution, both laminar and turbulent. In includes unsteady and compressible flows, wake flows, thermal effects and base pressure control (splitter plates, slats, vortex generators, etc.)

  18. Milne-Thompson LM. Theoretical Aerodynamics,
    MacMillan Co., London, 1966.
    Review: Theoretical aerodynamics, clear and concise, recommended to beginners. Others please take note of a few interesting problems seldom found anywhere: multi-body interference, and small aspect-ratio wings (chapter 12).

  19. Karamcheti K. Principles of Ideal-Fluid Aerodynamics,
    Krieger Publishing Co., Florida, 1966.

  20. Schlichting H. Boundary Layer Theory,
    McGraw-Hill, New York, 1968.
    Review: MUST HAVE. The boundary layer book par excellence. Although much progress has been made since it appeared in its last editions, it is one of the most quoted books in aerodynamics, fluid dynamics and related fields.

  21. White FM. Viscous Fluid Flow , McGraw-Hill, New York, 1974.
    Review: MUST HAVE. Medium to advanced boundary layer theory in a wide range of speeds. The book formulates the equations for compressible and incompressible flows and treats laminar thermal layers. It contains some newer topics not covered by Schliching’s book, and it has a comprehensive bibliography up to 1971.

  22. Berger SA. Laminar Wakes, American Elsevier Publ., New York, 1971.
    Review: Extensive theoretical analysis of wakes at all speeds; flat plates, slender cylinders, free shear layers, axi-symmetric wakes, near and far wake problems, laminar mixing, etc. This is more like a fluid mechanics book.

  23. Thompson PA. Compressible Fluid Dynamics, McGraw Hill, 1972.
    Review: The book derives the fundamental equations for physical acoustics, one-dimensional unsteady compressible flow, shock waves and related discontinuities and weak shock conditions. There are also a few notions of explosions and detonations.

  24. Ashley H. Engineering Analysis of Flight Vehicles, Addison-Wesley, 1974.
    Review: I like particularly the chapter on “Morphology of Flight Vehicles”, but the rest (dynamic performance and atmospheric entry) is also very good. Recommended.

  25. Clancy JC. Aerodynamics, John Wiley, New York, 1975.
    Review: This book introduces the reader to the basics of aerodynamics and leads him to more technical issues, including experimental methods and aircraft performances. it is quite extensive, and I like particularly the chapter on high speed airfoils, where several physical and theoretical aspects are treated. Recommended reading.

  26. von Karman T. Collected Works, Von Karman Institute, Rhode St. Genese, 1975 (limited edition book)
    Review: Here is the opportunity to read in just one book some of the most important contributions to aerodynamics, from high-speed flows, to magnetohydrodynamics and combustion. Also included some political papers on education and aeronautic technology. The first 2 volumes contain many papers in German.

  27. Courant R, Friedrichs KO. Supersonic Flow and Shock Waves, Applied Math. Sciences, Vol 21, Springer-Verlag, Berlin New-York, 1976.
    Review: Applied mathematics, theoretical book with detailed treatment of supersonic flow and detonations.

  28. Schlichting H, Truckenbrodt E. Aerodynamics of the Airplane, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1979.
    Review: MUST HAVE. Very well organized, with clear charts, figures and drawings, as in the German engineering tradition. The book is placed between a text of aerodynamics and one of aerodynamic design of the airplane. It includes chapters on wings, fuselage and tail.

  29. Stepniewski WZ, Keys CN. Rotary-Wing Aerodynamics, Dover Publ, Inc., New York, 1984.
    Review: MUST HAVE. Two volume bound into one, providing both aerodynamic theory and design test cases. I just don’t like the primitive fonts on which the book is printed (this is particularly true for the mathematics).

  30. Pope, A, Rae WH. Low-Speed Wind Tunnel Testing, John Wiley, New York, 1984.
    Review: MUST HAVE. A classic of low speed wind tunnel techniques. It describes the basics of wind tunnel design, calibration, wall corrections, and forces/moments measurements.

  31. Anderson JD Jr.Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, McGraw-Hill, 1984.
    Review: This is an excellent introductory book with some historical notes here and there. With the appropriate mathematical tools the author provides a discussion of the fundamentals of compressible and incompressible flows, linearized supersonic theory, and some elements of hypersonic flow. There are useful sections on nozzles and diffusers.

  32. Anderson JD Jr.Modern Compressible Flow (with Historical Perspective), McGraw-Hill, 1990.
    Review: I tend to like historical perspectives, they give you a sense of direction. So does this book, where the reader can see the emergence of high speed problems. There is a fine discussion of transonics, hypersonics (though short) and high temperature gases.

  33. Anderson JD Jr.Introduction to Flight, McGraw-Hill, 1985.
    Review: Another of Prof Anderson’s book full of historical notes. The 1st chapter is all history, but there is more on wind tunnels, propulsion, etc. This work also contains a chapter on orbital flight (astronautics), besides the basic aerodynamics and flight dynamics. A good compendium for the undergraduate student.

  34. Jones RT. Wing Theory,
    Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ. 1990.
    Review: Theoretical, as the title implies. Comprehensive, from the wing’s point of view. I like particularly the chapter on “The Minimum Drag of Thin Wings” (chapter 9). RT Jones was a recognized authority in this field.

  35. Henne PA (editor). Applied Computational Aerodynamics, Progress in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Volume 125, AIAA, Washington D.C., 1990.
    Review: MUST HAVE. Reference book on CFD applied to aerospace problems of various complexity, from airfoils to fighter aircraft in full configuration. There is an extensive treatment of airfoil design. A few chapters at the beginning of the book are mostly theoretical (panel methods, Euler and Navier-Stokes eqs) and include valuable references.

  36. Katz J, Plotkin J. Low Speed Aerodynamics, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1991.
    Review: MUST HAVE. It takes you from the basics all the way to 3-D panel methods, and it shows how to do it. Particularly interesting is the treatment of unsteady flows (fixed wings and rotating blades). This is so far the ultimate guide to numerical panel methods and unsteady vortex lattice methods. Short appendix with sample programs (some of them don’t work).

  37. Houghton EL, Carpenter PW. Aerodynamics for Engineers, Edward Arnold, London, 1993 (4th edition).
    Review: not an original book.

  38. McCormick BW. Aerodynamics, Aeronautics and Flight Mechanics, John Wiley, New York, 1994.
    Review: Book on applied aerodynamics and a number of other aeronautic problems, including propulsion systems. Particularly indicated for the study of high lift systems.

  39. Green, Sheldon I (editor). Fluid Vortices, Kluwer Academic Press, 1995.
    Review: This is a compendium about vortices in fluid dynamics and aerodynamics, and includes mixing layers, jets, vortex rings, vortex dynamics in the wake of a cylinder, vortex stability and breakdown, wing tip vortices, effects of compressibility. It is a useful reference for learning the physical and analytical fundamentals.

  40. Smetana FO. Introductory Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics of Wings and Bodies, AIAA Educational Series, 1997.
    Review: This text is almost entirely software-based, and represents a modern approach to aerodynamics, although it lacks some theoretical insight. It is good for hands-on work and exercise.

  41. Kuethe AM, Chow CY. Foundations of Aerodynamics,
    John Wiley, New York, 1997 (fifth edition)
    Review: MUST HAVE. Revised edition of a successful book, and is now very comprehensive. It contains a chapter on panel methods. The book is slightly oriented toward aircraft performances. It is easier to read and study than similar texts.

  42. Zdravkovich, MM. Flow Around Circular Cylinders, Vol. 1. Oxford Science Publ, 1997.
    Review: Everything you needed to know about cylinder flows. The book is a Comprehensive guide though fluid phenomena, experiments, applications, mathematical models, computer simulation (in the words of the author). This edition runs to over 660 pages, including an extensive bibliography. It includes flows at all speeds, heat transfer, transition and turbulence.

  43. Bertin JJ, Smith LJ. Aerodynamics for Engineers,
    Prentice Hall International, 3rd edition, 1998.
    Review: Look it up for some useful data and a modern practical view of aerodynamics. The books leans toward aircraft performances and contains an interesting list of references for the latter case. The other topics are typical of other aerodynamics books.

  44. Khoury GA, Gillett JD (editors). Airship Technology, Cambridge Aerospace Series 10, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999.
    Review: Up-to-date technology written by industry and university specialists, good replacement of some books of the early days (1920s and 30s). It includes: basic aerodynamic principles, stability and control, propulsion, aerostatics, performances and a lot more. Excellent book.

  45. Rom, J. High Angle of Attack Aerodynamics, Springer-Verlag, 1993.
    Review:It deals with subsonic, transonic and supersonic flows. The book has a chapter on vortical flows and its features, linear and non linear aerodynamics models, CFD computations of full aircraft, and detailed bibliography.

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Copyright © A. Filippone (1997-2005). All Rights Reserved.