Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: Synthesis of Subsonic Airplane Design

Egbert Torenbeek
Synthesis of Subsonic Airplane Design
Delft, Netherlands: Delft University Press, 1988
Category: Aerospace Engineering

Rating: 2-Stars

Many years ago, when I was a teaching assistant for Airplane Design at the University of Michigan, we had two professors who would alternate as teachers for the course.  The one professor used a combination of Daniel Raymer's Aircraft Design and the first two volumes of Jan Roskam's Airplane Design series as the textbooks for the class.  The other professor used Torenbeek's Synthesis of Subsonic Airplane Design.  The students who learned under the former professor walked away with a far superior understanding of the mechanics of airplane design than did those that learned under the latter.  That was partly due to the professor, but it was also a reflection on the two sets of textbooks.

Torenbeek's book goes through the motions of airplane design calculations.  It has the essential mathematics laid out.  But it has neither the breadth and depth of Jan Roskam's multi-volume set, nor the ease of access of Dan Raymer's writing.  While I still keep a copy of Torenbeek's work on my own book shelf as an alternative reference (in case I want to explore trends using an alternate weights model, for example), this is not the book that anyone would want to learn airplane design from.

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