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Quarto
9th Jan 2010, 14:43
Hello

I was wondering if someone could offer their opinion on the book Handling the big jets by D.P. Davies.

This book seems to have been around for a while and from a couple of reviews I have read it appears to be somewhat of a classic for those going on to fly big jets. Please forgive me for asking, but how relevant would this book be for someone studying for the ATPL exams? Would it be a useful read or is it designed for a more experienced pilot? Apologies for asking this in the Tech Log forum but I figured I would get a more accurate view here than in the Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies) forum.

My understanding (which may be incorrect) is that it was written to help pilots making the transition from turboprop to jet aircraft (hopefully someday I will be in that position).I have had a read a few conflicting reviews. Some say that it is 'dated' while others say they continually refer to it and is regularly taken off the bookshelf. I see it referred to back and fore on posts in this forum.

Is it worth getting hold of a copy or should I look at getting something else (suggestions welcome)?

Thanks
Quarto

happybiker
9th Jan 2010, 15:23
Try a search first

http://www.pprune.org/search.php?searchid=6121934

Quarto
9th Jan 2010, 15:54
Thanks happybiker.

I had already done a search and read these posts but some of them are a number of years old. I was just wondering if anyone had more recent views? Also if it was still a really worthwhile book to buy or would I be better buying something else that had been published more recently (perhaps since some of those posts were made)? I'm guessing that certain aspects of how a jet handles/flies has not changed since the book was first published but with the advent of modern technology I guess there may be parts of the book that are not so useful. Is this the case or is it all still applicable?

Thanks
Quarto

IRRenewal
9th Jan 2010, 16:24
but how relevant would this book be for someone studying for the ATPL exams?

My opinion:

It's by now rather dated, both in content and style. If you are studying for your ATPLs right now, don't waste your time reading it. It will not help you pass a single exam.

ab33t
9th Jan 2010, 16:33
Its a good read and does give a bit of insight

Eddie_Crane
9th Jan 2010, 16:38
It will not help you pass a single exam.

I agree. But you will find it does answer a LOT of potential (and existing) tech interview questions.

TopBunk
9th Jan 2010, 16:44
It won't help pass exams, but buy it, together with Rolls Royce: The Jet Engine are reference works well worth the outlay, and especially so DP Davies, imho.

BoeingMEL
9th Jan 2010, 16:45
..but if you're going to transition to wide-bodies it's priceless!

Beg, borrow or steal a copy.. read every word and then start again!

Don't worry too much about the detailed schematics (eg hydraulics) but the other stuff is relevant and constructive.

Out of date? Some basics and principles never change...IMHO. :ok: Cheers bm

TO MEMO
9th Jan 2010, 17:11
Yes, It won`t make you pass any exam, but IMHO still the best book ever! I`ve read it 4 times already! It`s a good bedtime reading for all pilots!

Pugilistic Animus
9th Jan 2010, 17:20
A good book:)

FE Hoppy
9th Jan 2010, 20:23
It has no relevance to passing atpl exams.

It is however full of gold dust regarding erm... Handling the Big Jets and should be required reading for any professional aviator.

Jumbo Driver
9th Jan 2010, 21:16
This is an excellent tome - a classic in fact. I've been reading (and re-reading) it on and off since my first wide-body conversion in 1977.

I agree with the others in that it won't necessarily be a great help in passing ATPL exams but the general background information you will glean will be invaluable both now and when you have the licence - particularly if you convert on to a wide-body and, of course, especially if it's onto the 747.

Good luck with the exams ...


JD
:)

AerocatS2A
9th Jan 2010, 23:21
Today's big jets may be more sophisticated in the cockpit but the aerodynamics remains unchanged. His information on swept wings, flight at close to the speed of sound and so on is good. It won't tell you how to operate an FMS, but it will tell you about Mach buffet, coffin corner, the theory behind swept wings, Mach trimmers, stalling, high speed upsets etc.

FougaMagister
9th Jan 2010, 23:50
Save your money. I bought that book on the advice of others during flight training, and was thoroughly disappointed. From page 1, it looks and feels very dated, and I didn't learn much from it. I actually used a highlighter on the useful paragraphs for later revision, and the total only amounted to a few pages. A book that has not been updated by its publishers since the 747-100 is seriously out of date.

If you want something really top-notch, I recommend Aerodynamics, Engines and Systems for the Professional Pilot and Avionics and Flight Management for the Professional Pilot at Airlife. Both written by an Aussie, David Robson - incidentally also an ETPS graduate, but without DP Davies' slightly arrogant tone. Unlike Handling the Big Jets, they are superbly illustrated and written in user-friendly language. The aircraft types and systems referred to are modern ones, and the second volume concentrates on the crucial role of modern avionics, something completely absent from Davies' book.

Cheers :cool:

AerocatS2A
9th Jan 2010, 23:58
Because Handling the Big Jets is well known for being pre-interview reading material, it can be fun just having a copy with you that you can casually leave lying around for management to see.

exeng
10th Jan 2010, 00:28
It has no relevance to passing atpl exams.

Want to fly a jet - then read it because in my view it is unsurpassed. Forget FMS, FMGS etc - the book deals with the fundamentals of flying jets, big or small.


Regards
Exeng

P.S. Did we meet in an earlier exeng life F.E. Hoppy?

FE Hoppy
10th Jan 2010, 01:18
P.S. Did we meet in an earlier exeng life F.E. Hoppy?

201sqn, 216sqn?

Brian Abraham
10th Jan 2010, 02:44
without DP Davies' slightly arrogant tone
I much preferred anothers take in another thread.

In our PC obsessed world, mr Davies' clear-cut judgment occasionally comes across as quite harsh, which is entirely fault of our day and age, not his.

If only you knew the gentlemans background, and some of the battles he fought to improve the quality of the vehicles you fly.

OverRun
10th Jan 2010, 03:21
I have long stood in awe of the simple elegance of D P Davies' writing. With styles from his colloquial: The piston engine needs a lot of beef in its carcass to provide the strength to cope with the high loads which are produced in the engine by the heavy reciprocating masses.

through incisive:
Do not indulge in a prolonged flare, because it wastes distance. As soon as you reasonably can put the aeroplane firmly on the ground and start the drills without delay. Wheel braking on the ground is much more effective than floating along just above the ground. A firm touch-down is necessary to bang through the water just in case aquaplaning conditions are absolutely critical when a really smooth touch-down might just be enough to induce aquaplaning. Once down, push the control column forward to get the incidence, and therefore the lift, off the wings and the weight on to the wheels. Pull full spoiler immediately to achieve the same result. Now pull full reverse thrust and hold it.

to his technically insightful: For propeller driven aircraft the Arbitrary Landing Distances have proved generally satisfactory and the large margin applied to the dry distances has taken care of wet runways.
With jet aircraft, however, the contribution of wheel braking compared with aerodynamic retardation has increased, so that circumstances can arise when the wet runway performance is unsatisfactory.
To meet this contingency the U.K. developed the Reference Landing Distance method, to which all jet aircraft have been certificated since the 1951 B.C.A.R. were applied, and the U.S. has recently introduced an operating rule imposing an extra 15% on the landing distance required on a wet surface.
If one of my New Year's resolutions could come true, it would be write even half as well as he did.

A37575
10th Jan 2010, 03:46
The book was never designed as a ATPL aid. There is no shortage of books for the ATPL and if you are simply interested in swotting for the various exams then Handling The Big Jets is not the book.
BUT - it is the finest book I have read that cuts to the chase and tells you how to fly a jet transport aeroplane. Most of today's pilots have been brought up on automatic pilots and automatic highly accurate navigation systems. Even when these pilots undertake their type ratings in the various simulators around, the accent from the time you take your seat is automatics - automatics - and again automatics. Only a tiny (less than 10 percent) percentage of your training (and line flying) will be by hand and raw data. In the end you will be brain-washed into thinking hand flying is potentially dangerous and the rot sets in - you become an automatics monkey.

Handling the Big Jets tells you how to actually fly the aeroplane. The principles of handling a jet transport have not changed since the early years of the Boeing 707 and 727. This is where Handling the Big Jets is a priceless addition to your library and a fascination to read. It will not help your monitoring skills and your reliance on automatics. It is a practical flying book for jet transports - not a Cessna 172.

Perhaps an review extract by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) best describes the value of this book:

"Handling The Big Jets can truly be described as the best of its kind in the world and not only for the fact that there is no other book on modern aircraft handling characteristics....we can recall no book which bears so directly on the pilots problem as does Handling The Big Jets. Written by a test pilot for airline pilots, the book is likely to become a standard textbook.....I would strongly recommend the book to all airline pilots who fly jets in the future. It will be particularly valuable to those pilots who are active in air safety work".

There will always be the knockers in society which includes those in aviation. Pprune has more than it's fair share of these people. Disregard them. This book probably won't help you to pass ATPL multi-choice questions.

But it will help you understand why experienced airline pilots still occasionally land long and fast and run off the end of wet runways.

Dan Winterland
10th Jan 2010, 04:17
It was written and first published in 1967 to help piston and turboprop pilots transition to jets, and that is the context in which it was written. And as all commercial jet pilots will at some stage be faced with this, it is still relevant. Sure, it's dated. It refers to the 747-100 as being a new aircraft. But as for handling and aerodynamics are concerened as the laws of physics haven't changed, even with the intriduction of glass cockpits and FMCs.

As mentioned, it won't help you pass the ATPL exams - it was never meant to. But it is excellent background reading and questions from the book still crop up in airline technical interviews - largely because the interviewers want to see how much background knowlegde you have. And guess where they got theirs from!

As for Davis' condescending manner. You have to remember he was the test pilot involved with the certification of most of the aircraft introduced to the British register from 1950 to 1970. His recommendations led to design changes - such as the stick nudger on the 747. He knows what he's talking about.

HTBJ is essential reading for all jet pilots IMHO.

swish266
10th Jan 2010, 04:50
And never puts me to sleep unlike all manuals...
I got it in 1983, from a friend of my father, who was then flying for BA.
Over the years I have come back to it time and again. I found it quite useful before my last interview which I did only recently.
If you want to go just that much further in the understanding of what makes the Big Jets big jets, it's a must read.
Unfortunately the guys from the PlayStation generation will have difficulty reading it as they do not have the proper background to start understanding what it is about.
:O

Quarto
10th Jan 2010, 18:03
Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply and offer their views on the book.
It really is appreciated.

Quarto

ONE GREEN AND HOPING
12th Jan 2010, 13:22
...........It's clear that most contributors to this thread agree that D.P Davies' book is a valuable read. My copy is the 1969 reprint, and the only things that appear to be dated are the photographs. ( included Concorde and B727, but not yet 747 ) . I somehow imagined that by 2010, much of this subject matter would be included in the curriculum for licences issued to anyone needing to operate jet equipment, if their background was limited to props.

However, there's another book which I think is excellent for top quality comprehensive information, and thereafter for dipping into every now and then. It's title is 'Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators'. A4 size soft cover....416 pages, and an enjoyable read for anyone who likes aeroplanes, and wants to know more....exam candidates or not.
ISBN 1-56027-140-X ASA ANA. It's a US Gov publication and also listed under Library of Congress Cataloging, and available to the general public. I saw 3 on Amazon UK just now, (but none on US Amazon). Didn't try Ebay. Available from Aviation Supplies & Academics,Inc. for $30. http://www.asa2fly.com/Aviation-Library-C6_category.aspx (http://www.asa2fly.com/Aviation-Library-C6_category.aspx)
Original version 1960, but updated several times. Written by H.H. Hurt, in good plain English. A basic knowledge of Physics and Maths is assumed, but that doesn't imply getting stuck too deep in theory. No unnecessary jargon. Brief mention only of angle of attack indicators and mirrors. (Nothing on saluting or hammocks)

Search Results http://www.asa2fly.com/images/Prod/Ptr/Pub/Hbk/ANA_Thm.jpg (http://www.asa2fly.com/Aerodynamics-for-Naval-Aviators-P193_product1.aspx) Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators Ľ (http://www.asa2fly.com/Aerodynamics-for-Naval-Aviators-P193_product1.aspx)
The traditional text for Navy pilots; this is the definitive source on aerodynamic and engineering theory as they apply to flight operations. $29.95

Spendid Cruiser
12th Jan 2010, 13:47
When I did my ATPL exams in 2004 it was obvious that just about all the Jet PoF questions were set with this book.

Desert185
24th Jan 2010, 02:53
Dittos on all the positive comments. I remember a copy we had in the Chief Pilot's office of our airline in the 70's and 80's (it's now on my bookshelf, BTW). Certainly a great reference for when it was needed.

The last reprint I know was December, 1977. ISBN 00 903083 01 9

Outdated? In some ways, but when in doubt learn and review the basics and you won't be short-changed.

A-3TWENTY
24th Jan 2010, 05:13
That`s the problem...The playstation pilots nowadays just memorize a database of questions and go to the exams.They had never been forced to deeply study a subject and think over it.

How Swish 266 said, Unfortunately the guys from the PlayStation generation will have difficulty reading it as they do not have the proper background to start understanding what it is about.

And I would say more...most of them don`t want. The times a pilot was proud of beeing a pilot and wanted to study to understand more and more about everything regarding the flying world is gone.

A-3TWENTY

Sir Stanley Bigh
30th Apr 2018, 07:59
Having first read HTBJ some years ago, I agree with many of the comments above. The writing style comes across as rather dry and perhaps a little stuffy, BUT having listened to the audio interviews with DP Davies available on iTunes, my respect for the man and the book has increased enormously. Have a listen (https://www.aerosociety.com/news/audio-the-d-p-davies-interview-on-testing-the-comets-boeing-707-britannia-brabazon/), you will find him to be most entertaining, quite down to earth and extremely authoritative. His views on committees and responsibility explain most of what is wrong with the 'modern' world!

A man doing his duty (with considerable personal risk) in order to improve safety, no matter what the cost (reputational or financial) to the big corporations. He would not be pushed around. Perhaps time for a statue of the great man in order to properly recognize his contribution methinks?

Bergerie1
30th Apr 2018, 09:29
Throughout my career Handling the Big Jets was one of my aviation 'Bibles' . While it may appear dated to some, the information it contains on the aerodynamics, performance and handling quailties of jet transport aircraft is superlative. As others have said in this thread, the physics do not change and, behind all the automation to be found on modern aircraft, the basics remain the same.

The book is written by a test pilot for airline pilots, its sound common sense is its hallmark. The information it contains is authoritative and very well presented. It won't help you to pass the ATPL exams but, on the other hand, it will improve your basic airmanship. I recommend it unreservedly to ALL airline pilots.

I flew with D P Davies on several VC10 Certificate of Airworthines air tests, and can vouch for his forthright views! If you listen to all his interviews to be found in the PPRuNe Tech Log Forum you will see what I mean. We airline pilots will always be in his debt for his integrity in standing up to manufactuers, chief designers and other certification authorities to ensure that we fly aircraft with safe handling qualities.

Listen here:-
https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/602953-d-p-davies-interviews-certificating-aircraft.html

TowerDog
30th Apr 2018, 09:59
. such as the stick nudger on the 747. He knows what he's talking about.

You sure about the “stick nudger” ?
i thought that was a Douglas thingy and the 747s used a stick shaker.

Great book, read it years ago.

Pugilistic Animus
30th Apr 2018, 10:00
Nope, it was the 747 with the nudger

TowerDog
30th Apr 2018, 10:13
Nope, it was the 747 with the nudger

Hmm, I must have Alzheimerís, flew the 747 classics for 4 different outfits and never encountered no nudger. Oh well.

Pugilistic Animus
30th Apr 2018, 10:20
I think it was for the BCARs that the nudger was required but I could be wrong...but I'm currently staring at HTBJ

rog747
30th Apr 2018, 12:10
Hmm, I must have Alzheimer’s, flew the 747 classics for 4 different outfits and never encountered no nudger. Oh well.



yes 747 stick nudge is a new one on me - Dan Air had to get them on 727's and BMA DC-9's or was it a stick pusher.... did Tridents have a stick nudger fitted ?

an old thread here https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/270567-b747-400-no-stick-pusher.html

Bergerie1
30th Apr 2018, 12:29
The stick nudger! Which I believe was only fitted to UK registered 747s - but I may be wrong.

The 747's stall characteristics in the clean configuration were unique. What happens is that the aerodynamic buffet starts early and, with declining airspeed, slowly builds to a very severe up and down bouncing oscillation such that the Boeing test pilots never stalled it clean. As the speed decreases, the aircraft does not want to pitch down (as is the normal case) but instead remains neutrally stable and just keeps 'motoring on' as the incidence increases. With no pitch down to identify the stall it was necessary for the test pilots, when they felt the buffet had become too severe, to apply down elevator to lower the nose. It did not drop by itself - there is no 'break' at the stall - because it never was stalled clean.

When the pilot does pitch the nose down, the buffet continues until the speed has increased sufficiently in the recovery dive. The fix was to fit a stick shaker to 'identify' the stall (the point at which the Boeing test pilots decided enough was enough!) and a stick nudger to maintain normal longitudinal stability. D P Davies was very happy to accept this on the basis of an 'equivalent level of safety'. The buffet was of such a degree that no pilot would ever inadvertently stall it!

In all the other configurations, the stall characteristics were immaculate, exhibiting good natural buffet and a classic nose drop at the stall which was very well defined. There was good lateral control throughout, with no wing drop - provided, as in all swept wing aircraft, there was no appreciable side slip.

Would tdracer agree?

bcgallacher
30th Apr 2018, 12:54
The stick nudger! Which I believe was only fitted to UK registered 747s - but I may be wrong.

The 747's stall characteristics in the clean configuration were unique. What happens is that the aerodynamic buffet starts early and, with declining airspeed, slowly builds to a very severe up and down bouncing oscillation such that the Boeing test pilots never stalled it clean. As the speed decreases, the aircraft does not want to pitch down (as is the normal case) but instead remains neutrally stable and just keeps 'motoring on' as the incidence increases. With no pitch down to identify the stall it was necessary for the test pilots, when they felt the buffet had become too severe, to apply down elevator to lower the nose. It did not drop by itself - there is no 'break' at the stall - because it never was stalled clean.

When the pilot does pitch the nose down, the buffet continues until the speed has increased sufficiently in the recovery dive. The fix was to fit a stick shaker to 'identify' the stall (the point at which the Boeing test pilots decided enough was enough!) and a stick nudger to maintain normal longitudinal stability. D P Davies was very happy to accept this on the basis of an 'equivalent level of safety'. The buffet was of such a degree that no pilot would ever inadvertently stall it!

In all the other configurations, the stall characteristics were immaculate, exhibiting good natural buffet and a classic nose drop at the stall which was very well defined. There was good lateral control throughout, with no wing drop - provided, as in all swept wing aircraft, there was no appreciable side slip.

Would tdracer agree?
I am a retired 747 ground engineer,worked for over 30 years with - 100,200,300 and SP that had been registered in several countries but never encountered a stick nudger. Shaker yes but never a nudger,never even heard the term. Tridents were fitted with stick pushers as were BAC1-11 and I believe Dan Air 727s were fitted with pushers before they could be certified in the UK.

AerocatS2A
30th Apr 2018, 15:04
A quote from Handling the Big Jets with regards to stalling the B747 (my bolding):


With flaps up however the aeroplane's behaviour is quite different. Natural buffet starts very early and builds to a high value with decreasing airspeed. Stability is maintained by the stick nudger at and after stick shake. There is no nose drop and no change in pitch attitude.

A Google search doesn't come up with much regarding "stick nudgers" but previous PPRuNe threads suggest it was added to early B747-100s ordered by BOAC.

sheppey
30th Apr 2018, 15:34
The finest book on flying Jet transports you will ever read IMHO. The chapter on his advice to airline pilots is a must read in which he exhorts pilots to keep up with practicing manual raw data flying ILS in crosswinds and not to become lazy in their professional lives. . He makes the point that you should not need a flight director and autopilot to complete a flight. He warns of the danger of complacency and blind reliance on the automatics. And that was years before the spate of loss of control in-flight accidents where automation dependency and lack of basic instrument flying skills was the primary cause of most of these type of accidents, and still is. With many operators nowadays banning manual flying with threats of punishment if the QAR reveals a transgression, opportunities have become far less for a pilot to follow Davies's sage advice. More's the pity..

stilton
1st May 2018, 04:13
It is a superb book, I particularly enjoyed the
three podcasts discussing DPís life in aviation


As already mentioned, while the book is technically brilliant and inevitably a little
dry, the audio excerpts dispel this impression completely


His aviation career is fascinating and incredibly wide ranging, he brought meticulous high standards and a no excuses
attitude to certification testing we have all benefited from and then he was kind enough
to share these invaluable insights in this book



I wish someone would write an updated version retaining the core of the original publication while adding chapters on fly by wire, fms, and other assorted modern technologies

TowerDog
1st May 2018, 04:39
. The finest book on flying Jet transports you will ever read IMHO. The chapter on his advice to airline pilots is a must read in which he exhorts pilots to keep up with practicing manual raw data flying ILS in crosswinds and not to become lazy in their professional lives.

Agree.
I got this book just about the time I was transitioning from DC-3s to DC-8s.
Needless to say I was a busy guy, but the wisdom of the book helped me see the light.

CCA
1st May 2018, 14:17
It's been over 20 years since I saw the nudger, from memory it was on BA 747-200s that I saw it.

It was easy to demonstrate you simply activated the stall test on the overhead panel, the stick shaker(s) would activate and after a few seconds you would see the control column drive forward, once the stall test switch was released the shaker(s) stopped and the column would return to neutral.

* Can't remember if BA used single stick shakers or dual.

Bergerie1
1st May 2018, 14:51
CCA,

It was on the -100s too. I can't remember whether it was single or dual.

aterpster
1st May 2018, 17:07
The finest book on flying Jet transports you will ever read IMHO. The chapter on his advice to airline pilots is a must read in which he exhorts pilots to keep up with practicing manual raw data flying ILS in crosswinds and not to become lazy in their professional lives. . He makes the point that you should not need a flight director and autopilot to complete a flight. He warns of the danger of complacency and blind reliance on the automatics. And that was years before the spate of loss of control in-flight accidents where automation dependency and lack of basic instrument flying skills was the primary cause of most of these type of accidents, and still is. With many operators nowadays banning manual flying with threats of punishment if the QAR reveals a transgression, opportunities have become far less for a pilot to follow Davies's sage advice. More's the pity..
My time with TWA was 1964-1990. The entire time, the company ops specs required us to use LOC instead of ILS minimums if both the flight director and autopilot (autoflight on 767) were inop.

Bellerophon
1st May 2018, 18:29
Pugilistic Animus

As you say, Stick Nudgers were required and fitted to all BA's B747-100 and 200 aircraft, although judging from comments by TowerDog and bcgallacher, it appears this was not a requirement for B747 aircraft not on the UK register.

Bergerie1

In 1989, following some re-design work on either the flaps, flap tracks or engine mountings (I can't remember which), someone decided there was a requirement to test fly and stall the aircraft to verify that the flight manual data and speeds hadn't changed. I was the co-pilot on a few of these flights and, approaching the clean stall, the severity of the turbulence and general turbulent bouncing around can hardly be overstated. It was shocking and it isn't fanciful to say that it was easy to imagine an engine or parts of the wing coming off, or worse. Happily the test program was quickly halted, I suspect by the B747 Chief Pilot.

stilton

...I wish someone would write an updated version retaining the core of the original publication while adding chapters on fly by wire, fms, and other assorted modern technologies...

Some years ago, on another aircraft type, having just done a simulator check with the then CAA Chief Test Pilot, I did suggest to him that he was the ideal person to do just that. His reply was that attempting to follow in DPD's footsteps and update such a classic book was the very definition of a no-win situation, and if anyone was going to do it, it certainly wasn't going to be him!

Best Regards to all

Bellerophon

mcdhu
1st May 2018, 19:13
I have a Second Edition May 1968 copy which I got as soon as it came out at the start of my career. Sadly, 50 years later, my flying days are now over, but I keep dipping into it for Mr Davies excellent explanations of all sorts of aspects of handling big aeroplanes illustrated with simple diagrams and graphs. It's a must read for all aspiring transport pilots, but will not help with ATPLs.
Regards,
mcdhu

Pugilistic Animus
3rd May 2018, 16:53
Thanks Bellerophon for the clarification. I bet on Concorde at M 2.0 you didn't worry so much about stalling :)