Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Review: Introduction to Aircraft Performance

Mario Asselin
An Introduction to Aircraft Performance
Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1997
Category: Aerospace Engineering

Rating: 5-Stars

Aircraft design begins and ends with performance.  Performance is what the customer is paying for.  It is where the designer begins during conceptual design - when assessing trade studies - and it is what the customer will judge the product against when it comes time to pay for the aircraft.  It is therefore perhaps long overdue that an engineering text devoted to this subject came into print.

The subject of aircraft performance, and the mathematics behind it, is also dealt with in Jan Roskam's multi-volume collection, and is touched upon in Dan Raymer's book as well.  Asselin's text, however, takes the study of performance to the next level: describing methods for calculating optimum cruise or climb conditions, and for assessing peformance trades in more detail.  My one disappointment was that, while this book does deal with the mathematics of energy maneuverability, it makes no attempt to describe the E-M diagram, or how to interpret one.  That aside, Asselin's book stands out as a much needed addition to the aircraft design literature.

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