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Understanding Mathematics for Aircraft Navigation [Paperback]

James Wolper

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Book Description

May 23 2001 Understanding Aviation S
*Explains the mathematics essential to flight, teaching basic principles and reasoning *Provides an understanding that allows pilots to utilize new technologies *Examines techniques of GPS (Global Positioning System), and other navigation forms, including calculations of distance and bearings *Covers chart construction, magnetic compasses, mental calculations, long-range flight planning

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Product Details

Product Description


Even with computers, the mathematics lives on...The book is a mix of data, historical information, and personal experiences... -- JournalNet, August 9, 2001

From the Back Cover


Navigating is easier and safer when you truly understand how it works. This enjoyably readable, in-the-cockpit guide helps you build that base of understanding, without pain. Written by flight instructor/mathematician/computer expert/teacher James S. Wolper, Understanding Mathematics for Aircraft Navigation helps you handle—and grasp—every aspect of getting from here to there, determining where you are now, taking full advantage of today’s sophisticated navigation equipment, and even using ancient celestial methods in an emergency. Even if you’re math-phobic, Wolper has a way of making the principles of navigation so simple and interesting you'll wonder why no one ever presented them this way before. This book steers you from the celestial to the electronic with nary a hitch. Along the way, you’ll build skills with geometry, chart-making, and long-distance flight planning, plus computer and instrument use. In the end, you'll have an unshakable foundation in navigation—and will even be able to explain it to the unenlightened.

*Step-by-step narrative approach to navigation skills and judgment
*Complete introduction to magnetic compass use
*Flight planning—including long distance—fully explained
*Chart construction and use
*How-to’s on GPS (and other navigation systems)—plus how they work
*Memorable, time-saving rules of thumb
*In-your-head calculation tricks
*Complete discussion of the Earth’s shape
*Perfect for beginning and advanced pilots

*Learn what you want to know painlessly
*Discover the fascinating origins of navigation in history and lore
*Grasp trigonometric principles
*Leverage your computer skills into powerful navigation tools

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Navigation involves moving along or above the surface of the Earth (or other planet), and in order to understand navigation we need to understand the Earth's shape. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for getting to know things from a different point of view. April 21 2007
By Oliver Racz - Published on Amazon.com
While Richard's comment about the book might be true, I (private pilot currently doing instrument rating) found the book very interesting in the way that it introduces much of what I already knew (and much of what I didn't) from a completely new point of view. The thing is, pilots are confined in their own way of thinking, and fairly often know much less about the mathematical part of navigation than would be desirable. I personally felt my private pilot ground school was baby talk, the textbooks did not contain enough about mathematics, and it felt good to read something that assumes the reader went to at least high school.

That being said, the mathematics in the book are not scary, I felt the author intentionally did not use anything more complicated than high school math (mostly simple trigonometry), which he also said in the beginning of the book. My math was quite average in high school, and never really dealt with it anymore in university, and it still did not take too much effort to understand most of the book. It did require some brain work to follow the calculations, though. The most mathematical part of the book is the second chapter, "Vectors and Spheres", where I had to skip some of the calculations. The book could have used a little more explanation in this part, but I must admit, had I not been a little lazy, I could have looked up the necessary knowledge in a couple of days.

I am the kind of person who likes to ask a lot of "why?" questions in my head, and this book gave me answers to a number of them.

I imagine the book could be equally interesting for math students, as it gives meaning to the numbers - something I missed a lot in mathematics. While to me it was definitely the first half of the book that contained most of the new things, to them it might be the other way round.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Introduction to Aircraft Navigation Sept. 22 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
So you know where I'm coming from, I'm an aeronautical engineer with a background in aircraft design and flight mechanics, and I also fly recreationally and hold a commercial license with an instrument rating. Overall I thought the book was Ok. I cannot not recommend it, but I'm struggling with who this book is really for. In some respects, the book tries to do too much. In other respects, I'm not sure it does enough. For those pilots who are looking for a little mathematical background on what's going on in ground school and in the cockpit, this may be the book for you. But if you don't have a strong math background, you may feel frustrated even though things like the dot and cross product are explained fairly well and even derived. But like practicing navigation, if you haven't practiced deriving and using the dot and cross products on your own so that you truly understand them, it may be overwhelming. I don't know if the paper version has more and better graphics, but I found the Kindle edition to be lacking in quality and number of graphics to properly explain some of the concepts. I do laud the author for emphasizing the need to practice these things in the cockpit. It's one thing to plot a running fix on a chart table with parallel rules on a bridge (how I learned) and quite another in a cramped cockpit with turbulence when you finally just throw the plotter away and advance the fix with thumbs (for me about 5nm wide on a sectional chart) and fingers and "that looks about right". There may be one error in the book although I haven't gone back to verify. In the section on celestial nav, there is an example about how to use time to compute longitude. If local noon occurs at 1900 (7PM) GMT or ZULU, then you are 7hrs *west* of Greenwich. With a time zone being 15 deg or 1 hour wide, 7hrs * 15deg/hr = 105 degrees west of Greenwich somewhere along the longitude of Denver not 75 deg east.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, easy to read Sept. 27 2007
By B. H. Van Dyk - Published on Amazon.com
Great book, easy to read. Makes navigation looks easy. Another advantage is that it is cheap.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 8 2014
By Plane CB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is interesting. Thank you for the fast service.
0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but Jan. 9 2007
By Richard - Published on Amazon.com
the content was not quite what I expected it to be. Most of the content of this book is already common knowledge among professional pilots.

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