Book Review

Blades - February 2011

Making Aerodynamics As Simple As Possible

Blades LogoAerodynamics is a subject that can make some pilots feel the need to go and lie down in a dark room… well be prepared to turn the light on! Flight Instructor Captain Geoff Day has written and compiled a new book to help students, instructors and others understand what's going on.

Self publishing allows individuals to get round the publishing industry and produce books that might be thought too esoteric to be commercially successful - but which  fulfil a valuable purpose. And that's exactly what Captain Geoff Day did with his new book, Helicopter Aerodynamics Made Simple.

Geoff has been flying helicopters since 1966 and instructing in them for 36 years - so with 21,000 hours in his log book he's learnt a thing or two!

Faced with explaining helicopter aerodynamics to students, Geoff has tried to simplify things while keeping the essentials right. He came up with the book after years of refining the explanations and he has agreed to this brief excerpt in BLADES.

Llewis Ingamells has recently completed his training to become a CPL(H) and FI(H) and is now a pilot and instructor for Helicentre Aviation, based at Leicester Airport.

During his training Llewis used Helicopter Aerodynamics Made Simple, and found it a great help. Here are his thoughts on the book.

"As a pilot you've probably read various principles of flight books whether studying for your PPL(h), CPL(H) / ATPL(H) exams or picked up the books again before embarking on a flight instructor course. If you're anything like me reading through them blends a mass of vectors, graphs and formulas into an absolute blur, to the point where you're banging your head against the wall wondering how you're ever going to pass that next exam!

Well, what a refreshing change this book was. Opening the book you're greeted with simple and colourful diagrams drawn and explained step by step with a few words of explanation - great, my type of book!

For me, during training, the hardest thing to get my head around were vector diagrams, this is where the book starts, and rightly so. Once you can draw and manipulate the vector diagram everything about Principles Of Flight becomes easier. The subject is broken down to absolute basics with great use of colour and simple logic, which Geoff says was his aim for the book.

Take transitions for example, a relatively simple exercise to fly - we do it every time we take off into forward flight but there is in fact an awful lot going on with the helicopter during this 'simple' manoeuvre. Ground cushion, flap-back, translational lift then inflow roll, and all of this happens in a few seconds but understanding each stage is quite in-depth, this is perhaps my favourite part of the book as over just six pages not only will you understand it, you could teach it to your granny!

What is great about the book is not just the simplicity of the explanations but the ease in which it reads. There is a somewhat comical tone to the writing, yet it gets the point across accurately and quickly, all the while holding your attention, which is not an easy thing to do - especially with me!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone in the industry. If you're a PPL(H) get a head start with this manual as it's more than enough to take you all the way through your career from zero to working pilot. Especially with the PPL(H) written exams and those dreaded CPL(H) / ATPL(H) exams!

If you're an instructor this is one manual that will make your job easier. In fact, get your students to read it and save yourself the hassle of trying to explain the principles of flight!

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Purchasing Information

ISBN : 978-0-9566978-0-6
Price : £22.50 (£20 plus p&p)