Why Don’t Jumbo Jets Flap Their Wings?
By David E. Alexander
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, c2009
Why don’t jumbo jets flap their wings? offers a fascinating explanation of how nature and human engineers each arrived at powered flight. What emerges is a highly readable account of two very different approaches to solving the same fundamental problems of moving through the air, including lift, thrust, turning, and landing. The book traces the evolutionary process of animal flight-in birds, bats, and insects-over millions of years and compares it to the directed efforts of human beings to create the aircraft over the course of a single century.
From Publishers Weekly:
This book is for everyone who’s ever wondered how something gets into the air, stays there and lands safely. A close look at the aerodynamics of wings introduces the basic concepts of lift, thrust, drag and weight, the basic forces that affect flight. While the principles don’t differ between animals and machines, design and purpose do. Bird and insect wings have evolved to provide lift and maneuverability, ward off predators and attract mates. Manmade flyers, on the other hand—even sailplanes—require a separate means of thrust to create lift. Alexander, who teaches biology at the University of Kansas and studies biomechanics, explains how birds and machines hover; how rotary plane and jet engines work; what keeps airplanes, with their rigid wings, stable in the air; and how various tools help pilots fly blind. Sections on flying predators and aerial combat, as well as human-powered flight, are especially interesting. Extensive references, a glossary and suggested reading should give even novices a good understanding of flight and how it works.
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