The impetus for this book stems from the time when the author was appointed part-time professor in the Aerospace Faculty of Delft University of Technology. At the time his main activities were those of leading the departments of Aerodynamics, Performance and Preliminary Design at Fokker Aircraft Company.
The book has had a long period of gestation. It started in 1987 as a series of lecture notes consisting mainly of pictorial material with a minimum of English explanatory text. The course was titled "Aerodynamic Design and Aircraft Operation". After the demise of Fokker in 1996 it was feared at the faculty that interest in aeronautical engineering would strongly diminish and the course was discontinued and the relationship between the author and the faculty came to an end.
Two years later the situation was reappraised, and the interest in aeronautical engineering remained, so the course was reinstated. The course was renamed “Aerodynamic Design of Transport Aircraft” with a former Fokker colleague Ronald Slingerland as lecturer. Ronald largely used the author's lecture notes but took the initiative to make video recordings of his own lectures. Three student-assistants, Debbie Leusink, Tobie van den Berg and Justin Koning took on the difficult task of transcribing the recorded English-spoken lectures on which they did an excellent job. In the Summer of 2007 this work had proceeded far enough to warrant the production of a preliminary version of the new lecture notes in time for the new study year in the Autumn.
In October 2007 Ronald Slingerland died tragically in a mid-air collision in a light plane. As a stop-gap solution the author was requested to complete the lecture course and to review the new lecture notes.
Independent of these sad developments it had been decided at the faculty that the lecture notes should be published as a textbook. This required a reconsideration on the contents of the book. First it had to be updated as it was basically twenty years old. Second the language used had to be formalised if it was made accessible to larger circles than the Aerospace Faculty. The author took on this task with the present result. But it would not have had the excellent layout and general appearance without the unremitting energy and dedication of the author's three assistants named above.
This book is mainly descriptive. For detailed aerodynamic design procedures and the associated computer programmes or for detailed quantitative performance analyses the reader should consult other sources. However, the reader is assumed to be familiar with the basic elements of theoretical aerodynamics, aircraft stability and control and performance analysis. The illustrations and examples presented were taken from a large number of sources mentioned in the captions and at the end of the book. Some of the information presented may be considered outdated but has been retained for its historical value.
Some figures do not mention any source. In a time when some aircraft types are operated in thousands by hundreds of operators spread all over the world it is unrealistic to assume that manufacturer's data remain within the intended small circles. Performance engineers' manuals, flight simulator handbooks, sales presentations, etc. are distributed to various parties. Modern production programmes depend on close contacts between partners, subcontractors, vendors, etc. with extensive data exchange. Manufacturer's sales representatives and representatives of operator's fleet acquisition departments have both formal and informal contacts. Just as in military and political intelligence communities sensitive information remains in close circles unknown to the outside world but it is often known to the party who has the greatest interest in it, the competition. Although for some information in this book no source is mentioned the reader may rest assured that it has a sound basis.
Proof reading has been done by the author's good friend and former colleague Carl P. Stocks, latterly with BAe Systems Warton. In order to expedite the presentation of this book only his comments which saved the author from the biggest linguistic blunders have been incorporated. Any further lack in the proper use of the English language and any inaccurate information provided is entirely the responsibility of the author.
Finally the author thanks Bram Elsenaar (ret.) of NLR for deriving the relation between local static pressure and local Mach number as presented in chapter 10 and Nico Voogt (formerly with the Fokker Aircraft Company, now with the Boeing Company) checking and correcting the author's view on the use of modern CFD methods as described in chapter 24.