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John Reviews Three Books on Flying Instruction

I have three books, two of which are old, that concern flying instruction.


CFS, a history of the RAF Central Flying School, the school for master instructors that developed the modern instructional methods about the time of WW I. The first half of the book contains many discussions, from the very early days, about how to train pilots. Encouragements, such as nothing in flying is dangerous, just so long as you know [and understand] what you are doing. Discussions of how to get a student pilot over a rough spot in his learning. It interested me.


Park Flying 1-2-3D, by David Scott, spiral bound, new. I thought this might assist me explaining flight to new students. While this book would assist a new flyer standing in a field with his new airplane (which, of course, should never be the proper starting point), it provided me no new insights into explaining what flying’s all about. And there were several statements that I considered erroneous, in the scientific sense. And the book is designed for the would-be 3D pilot of flat foamies, which is a limitation that not all desire.


The last book is seventy years old, published in 1944, when I read at least sections of it in Harper’s Magazine. Stick and Rudder, by Wolfgang Langewiesche, still in print today as I have a new copy. I’m only half way through it today, but its main concentration concerns the wing’s angle of attack at the airstream through which it flies. The elevator doesn’t lift or drop the airplane; it only controls the wing’s angle of attack, and therefore the plane’s lift and speed and, most important, how close the wing is to stalling, whether or not the airspeed is low or high. I am not sure whether the discussion of rudder to aileron mixing is very appropriate to our models, except maybe full house sailplanes. I have flown aileron models for years without using rudder input for turns (which, Langeweische says, is only to counteract undesired yaw produced by aileron use). Quite possibly, the imaginary passengers in our planes would find their drinks slopping over as we enter and leave turns, but we, from the ground, cannot see the difference. Anyway, I am going to evaluate the extent to which our models duplicate what Langeweische writes (and I am waiting for a replacement Twin Star kit to arrive, as that would be most like a typical commercial plane), in all four modes of flight (climbing, gliding, straight and level, and turning). For me, this is a most entertaining read.


John Forester, MS, PE
Bicycle Transportation Engineer
7585 Church St. Lemon Grove CA 91945-2306