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Otto Rowe-Tate's Excellent Aeronautical Library by Otto Rowe-Tate

From time to time questions are posted in the forum here at Just Helicopters that deal with aerodynamics, performance, or some other technical aspect of helicopters. While I enjoy answering them, as I am sure others do as well, we sometimes end up spoon feeding our youth – something which I have been chided for, and perhaps rightly so at times. Simply admonishing someone to look something up for themselves can, however, be useless advice. While there are plenty of sources of information out there, people just entering into aviation (and some who have been at it a while) may not be aware of them. With that in mind, I have compiled a list of books and internet sites that both beginning and experienced pilots will find helpful.

While this list of books is extensive, it is by no means comprehensive. I have only included things that are currently on my bookshelf, and have not gone back to any other library to obtain authors and titles of other books I have used. I have also included a few short comments about each book. I invite visitors to submit any worthy titles the proprietor of this web site for inclusion in this list.

The Internet sites are some of those that I have visited, though I will make no endorsement regarding the veracity of any material they contain. There is also a wider range of subjects than in the book list. Apart from established sources such as NASA, caveat emptor!

“You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can not make him think.” - paraphrasing Finley Peter Dunne, Mr. Dooley's Opinions


Abbot, Ira H., von Doenhoff, Albert E., Theory of Wing Sections, Including a Summary of Airfoil Data
All you ever wanted to know about airfoils

Anderson, John D., Jr., Introduction to Flight, (3rd Ed)
Nothing helicopter specific in here, however, it is a second or third year engineering text that does an excellent job of explaining aerodynamic concepts.

Army, Dept of, Fundamentals of Flight, FM 1-203
Heavy concentration on helicopters, with fixed wing chapters at the end. Good explanations of concepts presented. Good companion to Coyle.

Collier, Larry, How To Fly Helicopters, (2nd Ed), Revised by Kas Thomas
Good introduction to helicopters for beginners. Examples use a piston helicopter, but concepts basic to all helicopters are discussed. Includes some information that students and flight instructors might find useful.

Coyle, Shawn, Cyclic & Collective, Further Art and Science of Flying Helicopters
Very excellent book covering basic through advanced concepts. Discusses both piston and turbine engines. Plenty of pictures and diagrams, though a bit lean on math, in my opinion. Good companion to FM 1-203.

Hill, Philip, Peterson, Carl, Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Propulsion, (2nd Ed)
Engineering text for those who really, really, really want to know all that about gas turbine engines.

Hurt, H. H., Jr., Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators
Very little about helicopters, but an excellent aerodynamics book for pilots. Good balance of text, diagrams, and math.

Lynn, Robert R., Helicopter Aerodynamics and Related Flight Test Techniques
Material presented at a short course at Bell Aircraft Corp. in 1952. Very hard to find, but worth a look if you do.

McCormick, Barnes W., Jr. Aerodynamics of V/STOL Flight
Engineering text by one of the Jedi Masters of aerodynamics. Discusses many V/STOL concepts beyond just helicopters. Tread lightly.

McCormick, Barnes W., Aerodynamics, Aeronautics, and Flight Mechanics, (2nd Ed)
One chapter on helicopters and V/STOL aircraft, but a wealth of information throughout. Another engineering text by Dr. McCormick. Tread lightly.

Montgomery, John R., Sikorsky Helicopter Flight Theory for Pilots and Mechanics
Basics of helicopters with some pictures. I don’t know if this is available, I found it by accident. The text can be a useful companion to Coyle or FM 1-203.

Newman, Simon, The Foundations of Helicopter Flight
One of the more easily digestible helicopter engineering texts I have read.

Prouty, R.W., Helicopter Aerodynamics
Reprints of Ray Prouty’s articles that appeared in Rotor & Wing magazine.

Prouty, R.W., More Helicopter Aerodynamics
More reprints of Ray Prouty’s articles that appeared in Rotor & Wing magazine.

Prouty, R.W., Even More Helicopter Aerodynamics
Even more reprints of Ray Prouty’s articles that appeared in Rotor & Wing magazine.

Stepniewski, W. Z., Keys, C. N., Rotary Wing Aerodynamics
Two volumes in one engineering reference. Volume 1 covers momentum, blade element, vortex, and potential theories, along with airfoils. Volume 2 covers performance prediction, providing some discussion of tandem rotor helicopters.


Aviation Weather Center (NOAA): http://aviationweather.gov/

Aviation Digital Data Service (NOAA): http://adds.aviationweather.noaa.gov/

Astronomy Tools: http://imagiware.com/astro/

Aviation Meteorology for Australia: http://www.auf.asn.au/meteorology/index.html

Current Icing Potential: http://cdm.aviationweather.gov/cip/current_previous.html

The Icing Branch (NASA): http://icebox-esn.grc.nasa.gov/

Universal Weather & Aviation, Inc.: http://www.univ-wea.com/

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA): http://www.aiaa.org/

AHS International - The Vertical Flight Society: http://www.vtol.org/

FAA: http://www2.faa.gov

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR): http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/

AIM: http://www2.faa.gov/ATpubs/AIM/index.htm

ICAO: http://www.icao.org/

U.S. Army Safety Center: http://safety.army.mil/home.html

U.S. Army Aviation Branch Safety Office:

U.S. Naval Safety Center Aviation Directorate: http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/aviation/default.htm

NASA Civil Helicopter Safety: http://safecopter.arc.nasa.gov/

NASA General Aviation Education & Training Module: http://human-factors.arc.nasa.gov/zteam/fcp/WebGA-ETM.intro.html

NASA Technical Reports Server: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/

Langley Technical Reports Server (NASA): http://techreports.larc.nasa.gov/ltrs/ltrs.html

AirMech Bookshop: http://www.airmech.co.uk/bookshop/aerodynamics.htm

Dynamic Flight: http://www.dynamicflight.com/

Engines 101 (NASA): http://www.ueet.nasa.gov/Engines101.html

See How It Flies: http://www.av8n.com

Aerodynamics for Students: http://www.ae.su.oz.au/aero/aerodyn.html

Introduction to Flight Testing (NASA): http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Education/OnlineEd/Intro2Flight/index.html


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