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Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying
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Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,046 ratings  ·  75 reviews
"Stick and Rudder" is the first exact analysis of the art of flying ever attempted. It has been continuously in print for thirty-three years, and has enjoyed steadily increasing sales. Flight instructors have found that the book does indeed explain important phases of the art of flying, in a way the learner can use. It shows precisely what the pilot does when he flies, jus ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 22nd 1990 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published January 1st 1944)
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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 ·  1,046 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Don't let the 50s art of the cover fool you. This book is just as relevant and informative now as when it was originally written. Practical insights into understanding for pilots and those who are curious about how airplanes work. Cleverly written, this book does not become too technical, but remains grounded in the fundamental physics underlying flight.

A very enjoyable read.
Dec 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: flying
I can't add much to the general consensus. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to fly a fixed-wing craft. Parts of it are getting a little dated, though (it's over 60 years old), but it generally holds up quite well.

For anyone interested in this book, let me also point you to John Denker's See How it Flies , a really excellent discussion of flying techniques and aviation physics presented in a manner accessible to all pilots. It is a great compliment and follow up read to Sti
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's not much I can add to the discussion about the relevancy of this book, almost 75 years after it was first written. Much of it is centered about important flight fundamentals that should honestly be included in any flight training. (Thankfully, my CFIs do a great job and I did not find any of the "shocking" truths about the airplane controls to be actually all that radical, but what I already knew to be true.)

One thing that may not be terribly relevant today is the discussions on landing,
Esteban del Mal
Aug 22, 2009 rated it liked it
I thought this was a book about drag queens. Turns out it's about flying. I suspect that in the final analysis, the two aren't very different. I'll let you all know when I finish.


"Someone once said that if you will look at an airplane long enough, sit in it long enough, fool with the controls long enough you will decide you can fly it."

Not this cowboy. Call Bernoulli's Principle whatever you want, it's still voodoo.
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If ever you aspire to take the controls of an aircraft, read this first.

There's even some really good stuff about instrument flying, but (as the name suggests), it's really all about what you do with your hands and feet, and how you convince your brain to give the right orders!
Sep 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love that we hunans can fly above the clouds and travel the world.
Flying an aircraft is amongst the most mesmerizing experiences that human can experience. This book is a very intuitive and brief guide of flying an airplane. It covers all the basics for pilots to grasp the concept of flying. As a general aviation point of view its a very good guide but not so much for airliners. Still it's a good read for any aviation enthusiast.

This book targeted to a specific niche. If someone can't relate o
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've only taken a few flight lessons and wanted to get a better knowledge of the mechanics of flight. This book was perfect. Langewiesche is a master of describing complicated subjects in the most digestible way possible. I love how he interjects the voice of the confused student "But, why would the plane do that?". It's usually what the reader is thinking (at least I was) and it felt oftentimes that it was more of a conversation which was great.

This is one of the few flight books I've read so f
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’ve always been fascintated by flying and, since building myself a computer that can cope with it, I’ve been using a flight simulator to teach myself how to fly. Stick and Rudder is one of those texts that anyone learning to fly is recommended to read. It was first published in 1944 when getting people (read: men) to fly was somewhat of a US government requirement.

Getting people in the air was one thing. Helping them stay there was an increasing problem. The world had rushed headlong into fligh
Chris Tschirhart
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a private pilot I was recommended this book 35 years ago when I was learning to fly. I have reread parts of this many times in flying over those years. It is a required touch stone for anyone who wants to fly, is learning to fly, or who does fly. If you fly a small private aircraft, military plane or an airliner all of the tenants, principles and dictum's in this book will make and keep you a better flyer. ...more
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
After nearly 2 years of trying to force myself to get through this book, I'm throwing in the towel. I really wanted to love this book, but I didn't. So many people recommended this book and I'm sure my grandfather enjoyed this book when he was in flight training so I was sure I'd love it. Nope. There are so many modern books that explain aviation so much better than this 1940s relic. I found it to be nearly entirely outdated and some advice it gives is incorrect for standard procedure nowadays. ...more
John Sperling
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It is useful practically and theoretically. First published in 1944, it is still incredibly relevant. It was probably the first good attempt to bring engineering analysis to the actual practice of flying airplanes, and one of the first to emphasize the importance of angle of attack in all phases of flight. There is at least one not-so-minor error, such as the idea on p. 33 that a stalled wing doesn't produce lift. In fact, at the stall a wing's coefficient of lift is at maxi ...more
David Bristow
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This should be the first (or next) book any prospective student pilot or current pilot reads (especially flight instructors). Instructor turnover at flight schools is rapid and increasing, leading to new pilots, who were trained by new pilots, training still newer pilots. This book contains the information that won’t necessarily be specifically asked for on a practical test, but that will keep pilots alive.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was fantastic! I've never read a more useful flying aid. Students who fly conventional geared (taildragger) airplanes are going to get the most out of this book. The last two chapters didn't hold up well to the rest. The author was also very thoughtful about "future improvements" to airplane design...but learning on very antique antiques is a very common thing in my area which made it idealistically cute. Good thing the rest was highly practical. ...more
Edin Kapic
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book on flying that has aged remarkably well. It's written in the 1940s but the sound advice is still sound for flying GA propeller planes. The repetitive nature of the chapters (due to the book being published as columns, I think) distracts a little bit as the core advice is repeated and hammered on almost every page: rudder doesn't turn the plane (it cancels the adverse yaw), the stick is the plane speed control and the throttle is the plane climb/descent control. ...more
Bryce Salmi
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a pilot trained after WWII, calling the elevators “flippers” will never not sound silly. That said, a phenomenal book about practical flying. Much of the cowboy type flying suggested in the book (feeling the stall and flying just above that on final approach) is not really in style or considered safe anymore. The practical examples of proper rudder use and how wings and trim set airspeed are amazingly helpful.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book would be more aptly named "Don't be an idiot, get the stick forward (and also don't do that with your rudder)"

It will take a while to read but it's worth trying to understand everything written in these pages.
Nicholas Kanakis
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A quintessential and relevant description of the practical application of aerodynamics. Although an old book, it has concepts that apply to the modern aircraft just as well today. A fantastic read during Air Force pilot training. L
Claire Bonello
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must-read for student pilots (or other aviation enthusiasts) who understand things more when they're explained rather than shown. A true explanation of the art of flying, and a glimpse of the aviation world in the 1940s. ...more
Matt Kelland
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: flying
An excellent book about how airplanes actually work - a recommended read for any would-be pilot. It addresses common misconceptions about how to fly a plane - and it should probably be renamed "Stick and Throttle (and don't touch the damn rudder unless you really, really, know what you're doing)" ...more
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-books
Great book for pilots of all ages and capabilities. This should be mandatory reading for pilots during their initial training, and read again somewhere down the line. It teaches the fundamental topic, flying the wing and angle of attack, which is often not 'felt' or understood by pilots. ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely required reading for any aspiring pilot.
Fernando Cardoso
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish one day I'll be able to, constantly and unconsciously, know where the wind is coming from. :-) ...more
Csongor Szíjjártó
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must read for every pilot!
Sean Morrow
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Classic book on flying. Every instructor I've talked to has heard of this book and recommends it.
I think this book belongs on the shelf of everyone thinking of learning to fly.
Anthony Ray
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
good read for a new pilot
Arturo Landaure Santa Maria
Jul 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Best aviation book ever.
Kristen Stanton
Jul 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Deserving of its position as the authority for pilots on why planes fly
Josh Whitworth
Aug 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An incredible book! It takes a SUPER complex topic “how to fly an airplane” and makes it understandable for almost anybody, regardless of the level of education.
Aug 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
An excellent approach to the physics of flying. A bit harder to understand without lots of practical experience.
Jan 09, 2017 added it
great book loved the simplicity of it while also explaining all that I need to know to start flying. Amazing!
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