Announcing Open Textbook: Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance

The University Libraries at Virginia Tech in collaboration with Dr. James F. Marchman, III, Emeritus Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Virginia Tech are pleased to announce publication of open textbook, Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance, 3rd edition. 

Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance, 3rd edition is a 236-page introduction to aircraft aerodynamics and performance. The objective of this text is to provide a “stand alone” coverage of basic, subsonic, aircraft performance preceded by an introduction to the basics of aerodynamics that will provide a background sufficient to the understanding of the subjects to be studied in aircraft performance. This text is designed for a course in Aircraft Performance that is taught before students take courses in fluid mechanics, fluid dynamics, or aerodynamics and is meant to provide the essential information from these types of courses that is needed for teaching basic subsonic aircraft performance, and it is assumed that the students will learn the full story of aerodynamics in other, later courses.

Cover credit: Kindred Grey

Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction to Aerodynamics
Chapter 2. Propulsion
Chapter 3. Additional Aerodynamics Tools
Chapter 4. Performance in Straight and Level Fight
Chapter 5. Altitude Change: Climb and Guide
Chapter 6. Range and Endurance
Chapter 7. Accelerated Performance: Takeoff and Landing
Chapter 8. Accelerated Performance: Turns
Chapter 9. The Role of Performance in Aircraft Design: Constraint Analysis
Appendix A: Airfoil Data

Free Access to Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance, 3rd edition
A full table of contents, downloadable versions of this book (PDF and ePub), and additional information are freely available at: An accessible, online version of this book is also available via the Pressbooks platform at Print on demand versions may be ordered with a variety of binding options from

Instructors reviewing, adopting, or adapting parts or the whole of the text are requested to register their interest at: 

Creative commons attribution 4.0 license

Unless otherwise noted, the text and figures are released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license which allows adaptation and redistribution with attribution. See the license terms and best practices for attribution for additional information.

Audience This college undergraduate-level text requires prior introduction to the most fundamental concepts of statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, and basic conservation laws which are usually covered in a university level Physics sequence. It is also assumed that students will have completed first-year university level calculus sequence plus a course in multivariable calculus. Separate courses in engineering statics and dynamics are helpful but not necessary. Any student who takes a course using this text after completing courses in aerodynamics or fluid dynamics should find the chapters of this book covering those subjects an interesting review of the material.

Developing Custom Version(s) in Community Instructors and subject matter experts interested in forming collaborative efforts to develop and share their own version(s) of the material are requested to join the project-update conversation on the Rebus Foundation open-textbooks-in-development website.

Suggested citation: Marchman, James, III. (2021). Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance. Blacksburg: VA: University Libraries at Virginia Tech. CC BY 4.0.

About the Author: Dr. James F. Marchman, III is Professor Emeritus of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and a former Associate Dean of Engineering at Virginia Tech where he taught and conducted research in aerodynamics, aircraft performance, aircraft design and other areas over a 40 year career. His textbook, Aircraft Design Projects For Engineering Students, coauthored by Professor Lloyd R. Jenkinson of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, [Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003] has been used by students around the world.

Cover art:

  • The Centuria is a design for a lightweight general aviation four-place aircraft created by Virginia Tech and Loughborough University Aerospace Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering, or Aeronautical Engineering students. Used with permission. Courtesy of Dr. Marchman.
  • Cloud background by Alan Levine. Public Domain. Retrieved and adapted from

Instructors reviewing, adopting, or adapting parts or the whole of the text are requested to register their interest at:

We hope it takes off!

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About Anita Walz

I am the Assistant Director for Open Education and Scholarly Communication Librarian and Associate Professor at the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. I work with students, staff, faculty, and administrators and on a national level to inspire faculty to choose, adapt, and create learning resources which are more accessible to students. I am also the library's liaison for Economics and Legal Studies. My work experience includes over 15 years in international, government, and academic libraries. My research interests include: economics of higher education, library involvement in open educational resource initiatives, library publishing, and effective teaching practices for college-age and adult learners.
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