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Theory and Practice of Aircraft Performance by David Riordan, Mark A. Price, Ajoy Kumar Kundu

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CHAPTER 1Introduction

1.1 Overview

This book begins with a brief historical introduction, surveying our aeronautical legacy to motivate readers by describing the remarkable progress we have made from mythical conceptions of flight to high‐performance aircraft with capabilities unimagined by early aeronautical pioneers. This chapter continues with offering a brief introduction to aircraft fundamentals and aircraft flight mechanics, which form the basics of aircraft performance. The chapter also presents the issues involved with units and dimensions in this context.

1.2 Brief Historical Background

Many books cover the broad sweep of aeronautical history, while others discuss specific accomplishments and famous people’s achievements in aeronautics. References [1] to [4] are good places to start your exploration. Innumerable web sites on historical topics and technological achievements exist; simply enter keywords such as Airbus, Boeing, or anything that piques your curiosity, and you will find a wealth of information.

1.2.1 Flight in Mythology

People’s desire to fly is ancient – every civilization has their early imaginations embedded in mythologies. In human efforts there are the well‐known examples such as Daedalus/Icarus, vimanas (aircraft), flying carpets, flying chariots, and so on. In creatures, there are the bird‐men (Garuda), flying horses (Pegasus/Sleipnir), flying dragons – our imagination of flight is universal.

History is unfortunately more “down to earth” than ...

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