The Art of Flying in Stick and Rudder

Why airplanes stall? How do you know you're about to stall? Stick and Rudder is the first exact analysis of the art of flying ever attempted. It has been continously in print for thirty-three years. It shows precisely what the pilot does when he flies, just how he does it, and why.
Because the basics are largely unchanging, the book therefore is applicable to large airplanes and small, old airplanes and new, and is of interest not only to the learner but also to the accomplished pilot and to the instructor himself.  When Stick and Rudder first came out, some of its contents were considered highly controversial. In recent years its formulations have become widely accepted. Pilots and flight instructors have found that the book works.  Today several excellent manuals offer the pilot accurate and valuable technical information. But Stick and Rudder remains the leading think-book on the art of flying. One thorough reading of it is the equivalent of many hours of practice.

"Stick and Rudder" is the quintessential book about basic flying. It is a must-read for every pilot or aspiring pilot. The lessons included are truly timeless as indicated by it's original publish date.

One would think that any book on piloting written so long ago, just couldn't be useful. This is far from the case. What Wolfgang Langewiesche has done is amazing. He has brought what could have been a complex explaination on the art of flight to the level of the typical non-pilot. He has made it a great read, rather than a dry and somewhat boreing dissertation on the dynamics of flight. 

Over the years many books have been published to help pilots understand what makes an airplane fly, but there is only one "Stick and Rudder". This classic captures and records the very best in the tradition of seat-of-the-pants flying. There are no equations for lift or drag, and, in fact, very few big words. The chapters have quaint-sounding titles like "The Flippers and the Throttle", or "The Airplane's Gaits".

Wolfgang Langewiesche is an extraordinarily gifted comunicator. His explanations are so lucid that you never notice that he is accomplishing his tutelage without ever once talking with his hands. The book's illustrations are effective pen and ink sketches drawn by the late Jo Kotula, best remembered as the prolific aviation cover artist for Model Airplane News magazine. "Stick and Rudder" is full of what the author calls "those small odd facts concerning an airplane that a good pilot should know..."

If and when you start flying lessons you of course will pilot the plane and become familiar with the controls, but during the flying lessons in the air you will also be involved in dealing with what seems like an overwhelming amount of other information. The plane seems small and strange. It is cramped and a bit noisy. There are many instruments. Often you will be thrown about if there is some weather. And the instructor might be yelling command plus you must communicate with others by radio. So there are many things unfamiliar and they must be absorbed and then the lesson is over quickly - or so it seems. All of the details are important but before you start it helps if you can develop an intuitive feel for how a plane moves and is lifted in the air.

What's in Stick and Rudder:
The invisible secret of all heavier-than-air flight: the Angle of Attack. What it is, and why it can't be seen. How lift is made, and what the pilot has to do with it.     Why airplanes stall How do you know you're about to stall?     The landing approach. How the pilot's eye functions in judging the approach.     The visual clues by which an experienced pilot unconsciously judges: how you can quickly learn to use them.     "The Spot that does not move." This is the first statement of this phenomenon. A foolproof method of making a landing approach across pole lines and trees.     The elevator and the throttle. One controls the speed, the other controls climb and descent. Which is which?     The paradox of the glide. By pointing the nose down less steeply, you descend more steeply. By pointing the nose down more steeply, you can glide further.     What's the rudder for? The rudder does NOT turn the airplane the way a boat's rudder turns the boat. Then what does it do?     How a turn is flown. The role of ailerons, rudder, and elevator in making a turn.     The landing--how it's made. The visual clues that tell you where the ground is.    The "tail-dragger" landing gear and what's tricky about it. This is probably the only analysis of tail-draggers now available to those who want to fly one.   The tricycle landing gear and what's so good about it. A strong advocacy of the tricycle gear written at a time when almost all civil airplanes were taildraggers.     Why the airplane doesn't feel the wind.     Why the airplane usually flies a little sidewise.     Plus: a chapter on Air Accidents by Leighton Collins, founder and editor of AIR FACTS. His analyses of aviation's safety problems have deeply influenced pilots and aeronautical engineers and have contributed to the benign characteristics of today's airplane.

The aim of the book is to explain in simple terms the physics of flight and to develop within the reader an intuitive feel for air flight. Flying is a three dimensional activity and does not come easily or obviously. The ideas about the control of flight can become somewhat intuitive if you read this book. It presents flying in its basics without the hype - in a way in which you can visualize flying - and can start develop the intuition and the appreciation.