Aircraft Construction - The Bookshelf.

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Homebuilding Books

Choosing Your Homebuilt: The One You'll Finish And Fly! Amazon in UK.
Kenneth D. Armstrong, 3rd edition
ISBN 0-9325-7927-2

For many Homebuilders, myself included, deciding what to build is the hardest step. This book can help you decide which plane, or even if you should build at all. It will help you find an aircraft you can build, fly and afford. And it provides perspective on almost every aspect of Homebuilding, from deciding whether to go with a kit or plans, to the paperwork involved.

Composite Construction for Homebuilt Aircraft: The Basic Handbook of Composite Aircraft Aerodynamics, Construction, Maintenance and ..... Amazon in UK.
Jack Lambie, 2nd edition, 1996
ISBN 0-9387-1626-3, $20 .

This book is entry level and mostly a summation of various principles. It has an interesting section on the Taylor Paper Glass (TPG) process.

Converting Auto Engines For Experimental Aircraft Amazon in UK.
Richard Finch, 4th edition, 1998
ISBN 0-9661-4571-2, $16

This book helps reduce the high cost of building your own aircraft.
Aircraft homebuilders usually do so to save money. They should read this book to try to get their mind out of the rut that the outrageously overpriced aircraft engine is a necessity. Many homebuilt aircraft have flown for years with auto engines and Finch explains how others have done it and saved big money engines, maintenance and fuel. This book explains what it takes to do it yourself.

Kitplane Construction Amazon in UK.
Ronald J. Wanttaja, 2nd edition, 1996
ISBN 0-0706-8161-9, $26

This book is a basic 'primer' covering the basic skills and knowledge necessary to build your own homebuilt aircraft. Chapters cover selecting the right kitplane, engine selection, workshop setup, aircraft-quality workmanship, and specific information on all modes of construction. It doesn't go into such depth that it can be your only guide once you've decided on a plane; if you build a wood plane, you'll need much better guides to carpentry. If you build a composite plane, you'll want to get a good bit more research and practice on laying fibreglass. You'll definitely need separate electronics instruction. Each subject is like that; Wanttaja tells you enough to get you started, but it would take a library to cover in proper detail everything you'll need to know for one plane. What Ronald Wanttaja is mostly doing is giving you as good an idea as possible just what it entails to build your own airplane of one type or another, and helping you decide which, if any, you would have the best chance of completing (Most homebuilt aircraft projects never fly). The first edition won the Aviation/Space Writer's Association 1992 Journalism Award in the Technical/Training books category.

Recommended reading for kit builders, but quite relevant for other builders as well.

The Sportplane Builder: Aircraft Construction Methods Amazon in UK.
Tony Bingelis, 1992
ISBN 0-9400-0057-1

If you are going to build your own aircraft, you should get this book. I can't put it any simpler than that. In fact, this is the first of a series of books by Tony no homebuilder should be without. For more years than I've been a member, EAA members have opened up their issue of Sport Aviation each month to Tony Bingelis' column "Sportplane Builder" for tips, methods and invaluable advice. This book if full of that and more. In these pages you'll find things you may remember from his monthly column, and many new tips, tricks and techniques. Once you read each chapter you'll wonder why you didn't think of it. Tony builds constantly, boats, bows, furniture, gadgets, and more aircraft than anyone I've ever heard of. I can think of no better person to advise you on building your own aircraft.

Sportplane Construction Techniques: A Builder's Handbook
Tony Bingelis
ISBN 0-9400-0031-8

Second in a series of "you gotta have it if you're a homebuilder" books by Tony Bingelis. In this volume you'll find more Bingelis common sense that isn't so common. For example, you find invaluable tips on how to get set up to build while you're waiting for your plans or kit to arrive. Or you'll read how to deal with fittings, and avoid some potentially dangerous pitfalls.

Firewall Forward: Engine Installation Methods Amazon in UK.
Tony Bingelis
ISBN 0-9400-0029-6

Third in a series of "you gotta have it if you're a homebuilder" books by Tony Bingelis. Covering installation of piston engines in homebuilt aircraft, this book is full of information and practices that have proven effective and practical.

SportPlane Resource Guide Amazon in UK.
James R. Campbell, 2nd edition, 1998
ISBN 1-8867-4314-2

This is the second edition of this resource book on Homebuilt Aircraft. It includes a Comprehensive Powerplant Directory, Specs & Reviews of over 800 SportPlanes, and 60 How-To Chapters.

You Want To Build And Fly A What? Or, How I Learned To Fly, Built A WWI Replica, And Stayed Married Amazon in UK.
Dick Starks
ISBN 0-9325-7906-X

This is the funniest book in Homebuilt Aviation. This is the story of how Dick Starks got into aviation, and then Homebuilding, and how he and his wife survived/enjoyed the experience. The funniest thing about this story is it's all true! (Just ask his wife.) Dick has a way of looking at any situation that will make you laugh. For a Homebuilder that is a good trait to have. And to top it off it's illustrated by aviation cartoonist, Bob Stevens. You can't help but enjoy this book.


Aerodynamics & Design Books

Understanding Aircraft Composite Construction: Basics of Materials and Techniques for the Non-Engineer Amazon in UK.
Zeke Smith, 1996
0-9642-8281-X, $30 .

This book explains, in plain language, without difficult mathematics, how and why composite materials work and how this family of materials achieves high mechanical performance, particularly in small aircraft. The target reader is a builder who is considering an aircraft project but may not have chosen the technology (tube and fabric, wood, aluminum) and needs to learn enough about the principles of composite construction to make an informed choice. This book will be of particular interest to the builder who is considering one of the popular prefab kits like the Glasair, Lancair, or KIS, where most of the structure consists of large, precision-molded sandwich forms. While not a design manual, the book will be of special interest to a builder who wishes to develop his own design and is prepared to do the necessary testing of prototype structures.

Stress Without Tears: A Primer on Aircraft-Stress Analysis Requiring No Advanced Mathematics Amazon in UK.
Tom Rhodes, 1994
ISBN 0-7881-1343-7, $40 .

I've had this book recommended by several persons.

Aircraft Design: A conceptual Approach (Aiaa Education Series) Amazon in UK.
Daniel P. Raymer, 1989
ISBN 0-9304-0351-7, $67

This book is a college textbook on the subject.

Composite Materials for Aircraft Structures (Aiaa Education Series) Amazon in UK.
Brian Hoskin, 1986
ISBN 0-9304-0311-8, $55

An introduction to virtually all aspects of the technology of composite materials as used in aeronautical design and structure. This text discusses important differences in the technology of composites from that of metals: intrinsic substantive differences and their implications for manufacturing processes, structural design procedures, and in-service performance of the materials, particularly regarding the cause and nature of damage that may be sustained.

Airfoil Selection Amazon in UK.
Barnaby Wainfan, 1997
ISBN 9-9921-4657-5

This book is a reprint of a series of articles first published in Kitplanes magazine. This book gives a basic understanding of airfoil geometry and how that geometry affects the aerodynamic characteristics of an airfoil and the characteristics of an airplane using that airfoil.

Aerodynamics of Wings and Bodies Amazon in UK.
Holt Ashley, 1985
ISBN 0-4866-4899-0, $9 .

Didn't cost much, so I couldn't resist buying it.

The Illustrated Guide to Aerodynamics Amazon in UK.
Hubert "Skip" Smith, 1992
ISBN 0-8306-3901-2

This book clearly explains basic aerodynamics without using pretentious technical jargon and dry scientific explanations. It's perfect for pilots, aircraft owners, homebuilders, and airplane mechanics. This book is a perfect text to read prior to reading a university level textbook.

Airplane Design Amazon in UK.
Donald R. Crawford, 1986
ISBN 0-9603-9341-2

This book is a reprint of a series of articles first published in Kitplanes magazine. These articles focus on "bite-sized" pieces of the overall design problem. Many articles are accompanied by computer program code listings.

A Practical Guide to Airplane Performance and Design Amazon in UK.
Donald R. Crawford, 1979
ISBN 0-9603-9340-4

This book is unusual in that key aerodynamic relationships are clarified with easy to use and easy to understand nomograms. As a result you can immediately make valid performance calculations for a new design, and see the consequences, or benefits, of changing design features.

Theoretical Aerodynamics Amazon in UK.
L.M. Milne-Thomson, 4th edition, 1973
ISBN 0-4866-1980-X

This book is a university text and reference book, and is considered a classic in the field. It covers nearly all aspects of aerodynamics. This is no easy read. It does help to be familiar with the elements of the differential and integral calculus.

Theory of Flight Amazon in UK.
Richard Von Mises, 1959
ISBN 0-4866-0541-8

A balanced, well written account of fundamental fluid dynamics. It is one of the clearer presentations of uncompressed air flow. It is designed for the college senior or beginning graduate student, and assumes a knowledge of the principles of calculus and some familiarity with general mechanics.

Theory of Wing Sections Amazon in UK
Ira H. Abbott & Albert E. Von Doenhoff, 1960
ISBN 0-4866-0586-8, $12 .

Concise compilation of the subsonic aerodynamic characteristics of modern NASA wing sections together with a description of their geometry and associated theory. Intended to be primarily a reference work for engineers and students, the book devotes over 300 pages to theoretical and experimental considerations. Rather heavy reading (have to brush up on my calculus) and perhaps a little outdated. Interesting section on the effect of flaps and wing slats.

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Updated 99-10-09 at 10:25