Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Sport Pilot, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Sport Pilot

    Sport Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My CFI strongly encouraged me to purchase the book, “Stick and Rudder” by Wolfgang Langewiesche.

    I just bought the book from Amazon.

    Has anyone heard of this book? Thoughts?
     

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  2. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, not bad but I don't think it lives up to the hype.
     
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  3. deltaindia

    deltaindia Pre-Flight

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    yes, it should be required FAA reading for all student pilots!
     
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  4. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

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    If you're a student pilot and interested in the why and how of airplanes, you'll probably really enjoy the book. I did, and so have many others.
    Some folks here, especially very experienced pilots, may forget about the varying levels of skills and experience.
     
  5. jaybee

    jaybee Cleared for Takeoff

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    bought it for the ex wife, it turned her off to flying herself immediately
     
  6. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    He's actually a really bad writer. But he does make you think about flying differently. If you can get past his style, there is a lot of value there.
     
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  7. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

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    Great concepts in there to get you to think and apply as you progress through your training. A worthwhile read.
     
  8. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Have it, read it.

    A crusty old CFI told me to read it before I started lessons.
     
  9. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    Heard of it? It is a classic. Worth re-reading every once in awhile.

    Bob
     
  10. Sport Pilot

    Sport Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks for everyone’s reply.

    Sounds like it was a good investment.

    I have a little over 10 hours of flight time since I started on April 10th. Flying again tonight. Things are coming together. :)
     
  11. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    There are a few surprises in that book... and I think thoroughly worth a reading...Most interesting to me was his explanation of lift. He defines it as Newton's third law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction) having as much (or more) to do with it than the basic, magical, Bernoulli principal. Also interesting to me was his explanation of "mushing" as he describes it... If your too high and fast on final... the anti-instinctual fix is, actually, to pull the nose up. It will obviously slow the plane down, but also, importantly, it WILL sink too... Drives home the affect of airspeed vs the amount of lift created or lack thereof...Hmmm, pull up and it will go down...who'd-a thunk that? LOL!
     
  12. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Soooo, was that a "good" thing?? Or not?
     
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  13. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Anyone who is a PoA member already knows everything. Book would be a waste of time.:rolleyes:
    All those pilots who aren't members...well that's another issue.;)
     
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  14. jaybee

    jaybee Cleared for Takeoff

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    for getting her interested in getting her own certificate - no.
     
  15. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A few of my favorites.

    For the new pilot, or just for reference
    Good for PPL - CPL

    From the ground up
    https://www.amazon.com/Ground-Up-28th-Ed/dp/0968039057

    Slightly more advanced

    Everything explained,
    more IFR and CPL kinda stuff, but lots of good detail info, take off alternates, hydro planning speed of a tire, etc.
    https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Explained-Professional-Pilot-12th/dp/0974261300

    Contact flying
    Good book, but not exactly a 101 stick and rudder level read.
    https://www.amazon.com/Contact-Flying-Jim-Dulin/dp/0615209831
     
  16. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's a silly statement. Just the opposite. Don't confuse style with writing ability. He was an excellent writer, which is largely why the book has had such longevity. The writing style is somewhat dated, but very well done. I can't stand the writing of William Faulkner, but would not say something glib like he's a "bad writer".
     
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  17. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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    +1 !

    I used to have two copies, one at home and one at our lake place. I would pick one up and start reading a random chapter every once in a while. Always worthwhile. I finally gave one copy to a friend who was interested in learning to fly.
     
  18. champ driver

    champ driver Line Up and Wait

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    'Stick and Rudder' came out in 1944 and has been kind of a bible for flying since then.
    Another good one is 'The Student Pilots Flight manual' by William Kershner. I got mine, the orange cover one, when I was 16, still have it.

    http://www.mypilotstore.com/MyPilotStore/William-Kershner/
     
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  19. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    He is a terrible writer. He spends sentence after sentence saying nothing, for no good reason, and in very clumsy fashion.

    He attempts to write like a Faulkner, which is wholly inappropriate for discussing a technical topic. It just gets in the way of what is actually really good ways of thinking about the mechanics of flying. If he wouldn't try so hard to be a "good writer", it would be a much better book.
     
  20. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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  21. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    So, Harper's publishes "bad writers"? https://harpers.org/author/wolfganglangewiesche/

    FYI, I've seen an English textbook that cited an article by Langewiesche as an example of excellent writing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  22. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Not a fan but it shares a few concepts that beginners will benefit from. Me? I don't learn as well from books as from doing maneuvers with a good instructor pilot. People learn differently. Reading it can't hurt. Form your own opinion on the value and revisit it in 10 or 20 years. Your opinion may change.
     
  23. Sport Pilot

    Sport Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It’s going to be part of my curriculum. I am studying about 2 hours every night. I literally have three books open on the floor of my living room; referencing each one as I continue to read.

    I have already taken my written in January, so I am now rereading all the material so that it stays fresh.

    I am very excited to put away the other books for a minute and read Stick and Rudder.
     
  24. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    LOL

    Yes, Harper's publishes a lot of bad writing. Maybe said article was well written, I don't know, I'm not critiquing it.

    It doesn't mean the content is bad. But it would be far more consumable if he didn't try so hard to "write good".
     
  25. skier

    skier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Bought it since it has such a cult following and thought it was awful. One of the only aviation books I couldn't get through. Heck, I'd rather read a grad-level math textbook than that thing.
     
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  26. jaybee

    jaybee Cleared for Takeoff

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    amen
     
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  27. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    It was hard to read. But I think that's because some points of reference are dated... the concepts haven't changed, though. So if you can see past that and focus on the substance, I think it's worth the effort.
     
  28. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith Pattern Altitude

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    I enjoyed it.
     
  29. Volitation

    Volitation Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Read it when I started training, and reread it after I received my PPL. Enjoyed it both times.
     
  30. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

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  31. sarangan

    sarangan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I bought this book 20 years ago when I was learning to fly, and really never liked it. It goes on and on threatening the reader that the truth is about to be revealed, and then lets you down by stating the obvious. It takes a couple of pages to basically say that "angle of attack is the angle at which the wing meets the air". The book is filled with a lot of anticipation and build up, and then ends with very basic facts that every pilot should know already. Sorry, I am probably one of the small minority who disliked this book.
     
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  32. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

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    I heard about as a student pilot, bought it, wanted to like it, but the guy couldn't write. Not that his ideas are bad, but most of it has been overtaken by primary instruction since the 60's; I got the "AOA" thing in the early 70's. And it just isn't well written or well organized. Sort of an anachronism now.
     
  33. 35 AoA

    35 AoA Cleared for Takeoff

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    Just looked at my bookshelf, which I embarrassingly do very infrequently these days, and confirmed that yes, the wife did put it there when we unpacked in our latest home. Haven't opened it for probably 15 years at least. He teaches extremely basic concepts which *should* be second nature for any certificated (certified?) pilot. I think that various high profile 121 mishaps would probably say the opposite is true, hence the asterisks, but I digress. If memory serves correctly, he talks about examples such as if you are low and slow (close to stall), you need to push forward on the stick to get some airspeed rather than blindly pull back to climb and depart the airplane in the process. Or if you are steep on final, you need to push forward more to eventually get shallower/back on glide slope. Stuff that most people would call "intuitive", though I think the correct term would be "learned responses". Overall, a good read for a beginner, and now that we are talking about it, maybe it is time for a re-read. since it is a pretty good read IMHO.
     
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  34. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    "Get rid at the outset of the idea that the airplane is only an air-going sort of automobile. It isn’t. It may sound like one and smell like one, and it may have been interior decorated to look like one; but the difference is—it goes on wings."
    — Wolfgang Langewiesche, first words of Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying, 1944​

    Quoted from AOPA's "Quotations on Flying" . Just sayin'... I suspect today's authors learned from Mr. Langwiesche. Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators is a great example of how to make a subject so complicated nobody but a trained engineer can understand it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  35. jbrinker

    jbrinker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I bought it, read it, and liked it. I think the perfect time to read it for a primary student would be after about 10 hours of flight. The style is dated, and the writer was not a good writer even back then. I would not recommend it as the ONLY source. BUT many of the concepts are presented in a way that for some will create "lightbulb" moments. He did explain a few things that I found quite helpful to think about in a different perspective. Including emergency landings, best glide, landing sight picture, etc.

    Think of it like sitting down with a real old old-timer who was an instructor-ace back in his day, and having him pass you all his training wisdom while you sit at the local grass strip and watch the biplanes fly... There are certainly some nuggets of gold in there.
     
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  36. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    He definitely suffers from prolixity.
     
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  37. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Which is the main reason I put the book down after a few pages. His writing really is poor in terms of efficiently communicating technical matter.
     
  38. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    It started me on my aviation career in the early 1970’s.

    I learned of it from an entry in the Whole Earth Catalog.

    [​IMG]
     
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  39. JAWS

    JAWS Line Up and Wait

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    The book was first written in a very different time and is about a subject that was more art than science at the time. I read through it from time to time and enjoy the "old fashioned" english, as compared to what we see today., fwiw! ;)
     
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  40. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Good for you. It’s mostly a waste of time now.
     
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