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November 2006 edition

John Cutler: Understanding Aircraft Structures

By John Cutler

Written by John Cutler

Publisher Blackwell Publishing

Fourth Edition Revised by Jeremy Liber

This was my first introduction to this excellent book that does exactly as it states on the cover.

It is a very useful reference book not only for the aerospace professional but also for the enthusiastic amateur. One is taken from the early days of flight and the problems faced by designers and engineers of that pioneering age through the one major change in structural design philosophy, to the modern day aircraft with its range of materials bonded together in harmony to meet the stresses of high speed flight.

Each section of the book stands alone and can be easily read when one feels the urge. I much appreciated the structure of the paragraphs and the final section in each, which reviews the key points, made for easy reference points when looking for a particularly interesting section.

This is much more than a theoretical guide, with a down to earth approach to the writing and a real feeling of the practical experience of the author. Each element has enough detail to improve one’s knowledge and satisfy curiosity but does not become too bound into the detail. It provides a solid foundation upon which the enthusiast can build, in the area which grabs his or her attention, using the references at the end of each chapter.

I recommend this to any aviation enthusiast, I even found myself reading it in bed!

Reviewer profile

The reviewer, Stuart Cameron CEng FRAeS MIMechE, is director Aerospace & Land VT Defence responsible for the successful delivery of all contracts covering the UK, Germany and the Middle East.

He was previously the engineering senior programme manager at AWE Aldermaston, responsible for the major investment programme of 12 projects totalling £1bn.

He is a chartered engineer with an aeromechanical engineering degree.

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