Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance

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2004, 2021
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Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance, 3rd edition is a college undergraduate-level introduction to aircraft aerodynamics and performance. This text is designed for a course in Aircraft Performance that is taught before the students have had any course in fluid mechanics, fluid dynamics, or aerodynamics. The text is meant to provide the essential information from these types of courses that is needed for teaching basic subsonic aircraft performance, and it is assumed that the students will learn the full story of aerodynamics in other, later courses. The text assumes that the students will have had a university level Physics sequence in which they will have been introduced to the most fundamental concepts of statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, and basic conservation laws that are needed to understand the coverage that follows. It is also assumed that students will have completed first year university level calculus sequence plus a course in multi-variable calculus. Separate courses in engineering statics and dynamics are helpful but not necessary. Any student who takes a course using this text after completing courses in aerodynamics or fluid dynamics should find the chapters of this book covering those subjects an interesting review of the material.

The 236-page text was created specifically for use by undergraduate students in Aerospace Engineering and was based on Professor Marchman’s many years of experience teaching related subject matter as well as his numerous wind tunnel research projects related to aircraft aerodynamics and his personal experience as the owner and pilot of a general aviation airplane. It has been used at Virginia Tech and other universities.

How to adopt or adapt this book
Instructors reviewing, adopting, or adapting parts or the whole of the text are requested to register their interest using this form.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction to Aerodynamics
  2. Propulsion
  3. Additional Aerodynamics Tools
  4. Performance in Straight and Level Flight
  5. Altitude Change: Climb and Glide
  6. Range and Endurance
  7. Accelerated Performance: Takeoff and Landing
  8. Accelerated Performance: Turns
  9. The Role of Performance in Aircraft Design: Constraint Analysis
  • Appendix A: Airfoil Data

Editorial note
This is a 2021 nearly verbatim presentation of Dr. Marchman’s 3rd edition (2004) of the text with minor corrections to text and formulas, addition of machine-readable math, alt text, and redrawn figures. It is available in Pressbooks, PDF, and ePub.

Available formats
ISBN (PDF): 978-1-949373-63-9
ISBN (EPUB): 978-1-949373-64-6
ISBN (HTML): 978-1-949373-62-2
Link to the HTML (Pressbooks) version
Order a print copy

Suggested citation
Marchman, James F. III, (2021). Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance, 3rd ed., Blacksburg, VA: University Libraries at Virginia Tech., CC BY 4.0

About the author
Dr. James F. Marchman, III is Professor Emeritus of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and a former Associate Dean of Engineering at Virginia Tech where he taught and conducted research in aerodynamics, aircraft performance, aircraft design and other areas over a 40 year career. His textbook, Aircraft Design Projects For Engineering Students, coauthored by Professor Lloyd R. Jenkinson of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, [Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003] has been used by students around the world.

Accessibility note
The University Libraries at Virginia Tech are committed to making its publications accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The HTML version (Pressbooks) version of this book utilizes header structures, MathML, and includes alternative text which allow for machine-readability. The ePub version of ths book meets WCAG 2.0 Level A.

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aerodynamics, aircraft performance