Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Airplane” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
In this entertaining history of the jetliner, Jay Spenser traces aviation's challenges from the outset, and follows the flow of the simple yet powerful ideas that led us to defy gravity. Here are the pioneers--innovators such as Otto Lilienthal, Igor Sikorsky, Louis BlEriot, Hugo Junkers, and Jack Northrop--whose amazing contributions collectively solved the puzzle of flig ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published October 16th 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Airplane, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Airplane

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 16, 2015 Ilya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aviation
People have been dreaming of building machines that would fly like birds and bats at least since the time of Leonardo da Vinci. Something resembling what we now think of as the airplane was invented in 1799 by George Cayley, a Yorkshire baronet, who was the first to realize that a flying machine can have fixed wings providing lift separate from paddles providing forward thrust, unlike birds and bats, which use moving wings for both. Of course, the steam engines of his day did not have the power- ...more
Oct 19, 2014 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aviation
This book is an excellent overview of the earliest days of flight. The text is highly readable and accessible to a general audience. The jet age is not covered in as much depth but the text does go up to the present with a chapter on the 787 Dreamliner. Highly recommended!
Daniel L.
Nov 03, 2013 Daniel L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even Piece by Piece, an Airplane Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts

"It's a bird, it's a plane..." We all know what an airplane is and take the shape of these ubiquitous flying machines for granted (not to mention getting from place to place on one). That was not only the case. For centuries, man has dreamed of flying, but what a machine capable of enabling people to "escape the surly bonds of the Earth" should look like, no one could know. It should come to no surprise that many people thought th
Pierre Lauzon
Nov 01, 2016 Pierre Lauzon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a relatively short and highly readable book, Jay Spenser gives a comprehensive overview of the development of the Airplane. It begins with a discussion of Sir George Caley as the first person to conceive of the modern airplane, documented on a silver disc in 1799, a full century before the Wright Brothers made world history in December 1903.

The book ends with a discussion of the Boeing 787 and future concepts in aircraft such as the Blended Wing Body aircraft. The book has chapters on Configu
Reading Reader
Jun 26, 2015 Reading Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spenser has written a good overview of the history of manned flight, taken from the various perspectives of different aircraft parts or systems.

After an initial overview of the early origins of manned flight, Spenser focuses each chapter on one particular part of the aircraft and traces the development of design in relation to that element. I appreciated this approach to dividing up the story of flight, but it also made each chapter a bit predictable: start with Cayley or the Wrights, and work
Justin Bowen
Jun 05, 2011 Justin Bowen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aviation
If you enjoy aviation and history, this book is a near perfect blend. Each chapter breaks down the invention and development of the different parts of the airplane. Spenser does a great job explaining the aspects of a plane or the process of operating one that has always made you wonder how they came about. Written with enough anecdotes and useful detail, it kept me entertained the entire way through.

Recommended for any pilot or aviation enthusiast.
John Kubalak
Mar 04, 2010 John Kubalak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If, like me, you're a serious aviation history geek then you will love this book. It breaks down the airplane literally piece by piece (wings, fuselage, engine, etc.) and examines the ideas and history behind how the airplane came together and became what we know today. It's well structured (see engine parts: above) and informative. And if you have an aviation jones (see above) then you will find it entertaining as well.
A historical discussion of the technical evolution of airplane, starting with George Cayley,an Englishman who worked on the theory and practice (with models) of flight in the late 1700s and 1800s, and ending with the Boeing dreamliner. Each chapter generally focuses one part (wing, fuselage, tail, etc) of an airplane.
Mar 27, 2013 Lucas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was great, I loved the way it was written, I wish that all modern sciences had books like these, that provide a chronological, methodical progression from the early beginnings to current developments.
Carrie Bowers
May 26, 2011 Carrie Bowers rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carrie by: Ben Kristy
Is on page 234....creeping at a snail's pace, but now that I am reading about items in our collection, it is more interesting. Sorry Ben.
Gil Cabrera
Mar 05, 2016 Gil Cabrera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. Second time reading. As an engineer this book covers technical facts in the form of good storytelling.
Jim Cunningham
Dec 02, 2013 Jim Cunningham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, broad, and easy to read history of every aspect of aviation technology and people, organized by overall experimentation and development and then by individual aircraft systems.
Daniel Calderón
Jan 07, 2013 Daniel Calderón rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining history of the development of the aircraft and the people involved in it. Very good reference for enthusiasts and professionals of the industry.
Michael Evans
Aug 31, 2013 Michael Evans rated it liked it
Great aviation book containing history, a little bit of technical knowledge and a decent attempt to sequence and link different historical events in aviation.
Jeff rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2016
Francesco rated it really liked it
Dec 09, 2011
Glenn rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2010
Ouen Worth
Ouen Worth rated it it was amazing
Nov 21, 2012
Baron Huang
Baron Huang rated it it was amazing
Sep 13, 2013
Rob rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2012
Trevor rated it it was ok
Jul 08, 2012
Jack rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2016
Arnaud Schoenmakers
Arnaud Schoenmakers rated it it was ok
May 08, 2015
Brad Thompson
Brad Thompson rated it it was amazing
Oct 05, 2009
Ashwini Pandey
Ashwini Pandey rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2010
Sujith rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2013
Mohan Pandey
Mohan Pandey rated it it was amazing
Jun 22, 2014
Irene rated it liked it
Dec 12, 2011
Richard Jacobson
Richard Jacobson rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2014
Bruce Greene
Bruce Greene rated it liked it
Sep 07, 2014
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book