In fifty-six years of flying this is the easiest to understand and most complete "how the airplane flies" text I have seen.  I highly recommend it for every flight training facility in the world.  You can quote me on that...JD

The directed course is a great solution to the 75% midfield or beyond on the forced landing.

The Your explanations are scientific, simple, and repetitive.  That is educationally sound, as far as I, a school trained high school social studies and English teacher, can see.

I read Chapter 8. Thank you. It takes the concept of emergency landings one step beyond the norm. Any ideas that can help my students increase their confidence and/or their chance of surviving an emergency are appreciated.

Hey there Bravo Romeo!  Thanks for the e--book.  You are great.  The past 6 yrs I've used your ideas for doing Flight Reviews. 

Interesting thoughts, Robert, but I think your view of aviation is too narrow and missing the fundamental principals that underlie controlled, sustained flight with heavier than air aircraft. For instance, you say "The conditions that can cause an aircraft to stall are only attained with the Pilot pulling the control wheel."  This is not true. Take two very simple examples: trim stall and invert stalls. In neither case is the pilot pulling the control wheel. A slight more complex example is a snap roll, where you pitch up--without stalling the wing--then you unload the wing--without stalling the wing--and then you induce a stall in the inside wing with full rudder deflection. This results in a horizontal spin with one wing stalled and the stick only slightly forward of the neutral position. 


Good for you. Sounds like you've taken this safety of flight business personally and have created a book to teach some of the (lost art?) basics. I'd like to read your eBook and pass it along to my students.


Thanks for this info.  You are on to something here.


So WHY is this book and author so much better than what available for flight instruction – including the materials from Trevor Thom that were published by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation (ASA now) and from William Kershner – Blackwell (formerly Iowa State University Press)? 

If the student doesn’t understand how to correctly apply the science of flight, it doesn’t matter how much “training” you try to stuff into her/his brain, the student pilot will not assimilate the material and apply it correctly or appropriately during a time of high stress decision making.  That is one of the reasons high-time professional pilots eventually fail to “fly” properly, especially when operating in a single-pilot environment.  Flying should be more than an advanced “technician” rating.

The author doesn’t explain or do justice to what is happening to the airplane when it enters ground effect during the landing flare (round out) and why the pilot must continue to raise the nose to counter the diminishing effect of the tail pull down force (counter balancing moment), while the aerodynamic pitching moment (Cmac) of the wing is increasing at higher angles of attack.  The “student’ reader is unable to visualize what is happening to the machine s/he is trying to control.  Hopefully a second edition will be much improved.

Thanks for the book. Finally got around to reading it.

You make some excellent points!

I think you are quite correct on the stall issue as we discussed. The idea of exceeding the critical angle of attack, while not incorrect... is not the CAUSE of the stall... it is the REASON the PLANE stalls, BUT... the CAUSE IS too much or too long a pull on the yoke/stick...... Pilots CAN and DO feel the amount of pull they are making, but do NOT correctly respond to, or recognize that feeling....


It's about time someone wrote a book addressing how an airplane really flies.  I've never been satisfied with the basic ideas presented in textbooks or FAA manuals, however the next step up was complicated engineering principles, and I'm not an engineer.

I have been teaching this since 1979 when my instructor showed me these lessons.  I love the way you have been able to put it in print.  I can have my students read this to validate what I have been telling them.  I would love a copy of your book.  I was just the other day talking to another old school instructor about these same subjects.  We are getting away from the old stick and rudder flying and using too many simulators.

I did not even get thru the first paragraph and found it wrong. It would be true if flying a single engine airplane or helicopter, or a single engine jet, but not so in most twin engines, although it would be correct to say land as soon as practical.

Thanks Robert!
I will include it with my training material from now on.
Very well done, frank, and to the point.  I like it!

Anyway, Chapter 8 is close to my heart and if indicative of the remainder of your book it is definitely something I want to read.


Thanks for offering this part of yourself to the Aviation community...and taking the time to write it down for all of us who need all the help they can get!

Regards and again congratulations for putting out all of the effort to put it in writing..

I wish I had this information this past weekend.  I attended the AOPA FIRC in Ashburn, VA to renew my CFI and the in-class discussion was on Emergency Landings.   Great job on this chapter.   I can hardly wait until you send
the remainder of the book.  Appreciate your efforts in helping to spread the basics on understanding flight characteristics. 


Using your philosophy and approach to flight instructing, the skies will be safer.

Thank you.  I took a closer look at the book and I really like the diagrams.

I already teach what you suggest:  Especially in a light single, you can get away with just about any landing as long as you are under control at the moment of touchdown

Kudos to you sir!  I am very interested in your book and wish to be a part of this agenda.  Thank you for your service to our country and all your aviation safety efforts. 

I took a quick look at the excerpts from your book on the web page and I see that we are in agreement in some of our explanations of the basic concepts.  I believe that some of your presentations would be useable in my class.  I would appreciate your approval of my using your material.  I will of course credit you for your effort.

If this is supposed to help people who don't have a good understanding of the subject matter to begin with (as you stated...) then I doubt it will achieve the objective. I read what you made available as .pdf and on the web site and find it to be in part very abstract and in part over simplified to the point where the facts are just wrong or at least mightily distorted.

This looks like a well thought out book that is definitely needed in the industry. I would love to read a copy of it! Thank you very much for the email. I wish you the best of luck with the publishing and look forward to your book.

I have read your chapter about emergency landings. I have to admit this definitely an open realistic view of an emergency landing and a majority of the aspects students will most probably experience, during an emergency approach. It is a bad thing that majority instructors do not mention a majority of those things to students.

Regarding the deceleration period after an off-field touchdown;  Many pilots severely injure their ankles by remaining on the rudder pedals.  Once you are on the ground, sliding, bouncing, etc. across the landscape, there is no need to keep your feet on the rudders but everyone seems to do so. 


I think your treatment of emergency landings is excellent. Many sad endings occur because of excess time spent emotionally accepting their circumstances before acting.

In your introduction, you stated this is primarily aimed at the student pilot and private pilot. The problem is it's written well over the head of both.  You know what you are trying to say, and I know what you are trying to say, and someone with a technical background like an engineer might be able to follow you.  But Mr. insurance agent or Mr. chef, or even Mr. lawyer who might be might be learning to fly would be lost.  If I gave this to a student pilot to read, they would finish about three pages, toss it back down on the table and turn on the game. It's just too intensely worded.

There's always been the risk of inbreeding with regards to flight training.  A kid comes in who doesn't know a rudder from a prop spinner, is taught be a fresh CFI through all of his ratings, and the first job he can get is to teach another kid who doesn't know a rudder from a prop spinner.  No fresh blood, no new knowledge.  I personally think that the CFI should be a certificate one won't qualify to earn until after several years of experience, the more the better.  But that isn't going to change.  What can change things, however, are discussions such as the one you're starting.  In this day of something-for-nothing, fastest-is-best, no consequences attitudes, your discussion couldn't be more valuable.  I look forward to reading your forums, and contributing what I can to the discussion.

I just read it, and it looks like you've done your homework!  I would have to agree with you that too many pilots haven't or don't practice low or no power approaches to spot landings, and few practice to learn what flight feels like as a glider. 

The many hours spent instructing in C-172's have allowed me to discuss these same topics with my own students. Thanks for the down to earth (no-pun) attitude and common sense in your writing style. Count me in!

I share your sentiment.

You are covering a lot of ground... that needs to be plowed!

Pilot induced stall is indeed a problem for the novice, but there are other things that can cause the critical angle of attack to be exceeded: a rapid after-shift in CG, improper trim situation, autopilot malfunction, turbulence, an uncorrected over exaggerated vertical maneuver (all related to elevator positioning)...but YOUR focus and mine are a continuing effort in safer flying.

I have flipped through the book and it is very well written!!  Is this book on sale somewhere?  I would recommend it for my students. 

I got through Chap 2 and I can't go any farther.  Your misstatements and confusing statements are too numerous to list.  Sorry, but I have to withdraw my offer to help.  I wish you the best of good flying in the future.

If I understand your motivation for writing the book, I believe it can be helpful to us all as we continue to learn our skill-craft.  However, I urge you not to redefine terms commonly found and used in science and engineering.  For instance, the CG of the aircraft really does not move in flight - except as a result of fuel burn off or tossing people or things out of the plane.  But your basic idea of describing the control of the aircraft from the perspective of the pilot - inside the plane - is worthwhile.  As I recall, Wolfgang Langewiesche did much the same thing in "Stick and Rudder" in the '40s.  Therefore, I suggest you use the already established engineering terminology to make your point rather than giving new meaning to old words.

I just try to keep it as simple and teach what they need to know while in the
cockpit flying.

Thank you for your willingness to share your "Flight Control" material.  Clearly, you've invested a considerable amount of time, energy and work on the volume.

It is way too complicated for a student pilot although most of it is exact ( not all by any means) if a student Pilot started reading this doc. he would be buried in 10 minutes or less.

It appears that you may have done what I wished to do.  Your effort is appreciated. 

Thank you Bob for the e-mail, the book and of course the willingness to share such a wealth of knowledge and experience.

"It takes a certain amount of experience to know what we don't know.  When we don't have that experience we pretty much assume that we know  everything we need to know. We are not sophisticated enough to see the 
gaps in our knowledge. We only realize it when it is over and things  didn't work out." Peggy Noonan

'Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.' --Douglas Adams