Powering the World’s Airliners: Engine Developments from the Propeller to the Jet Age

Book review by Deane Barker tags: air-travel, engineering

I normally find things to research by reading books. This time I read a book because I wanted to learn more about a thing I was researching.

I was writing this entry: Types of Aircraft Engines. I wanted to know more about the differences between turboprops and turbofans. So I found this book, and the Kindle version was just $3.

It was a decent read. It delivered on the title – it discussed the evolution of aircraft engines from piston-power up through jets. The big shift, clearly, was from pistons to pure jet turbines, and then, weirdly, the industry kind of backed off to turbofans, which are a combination of jet and propeller. Jet engines are simply unnecessarily fast for most situations.

(I learned from researching Mach Numbers and the Sound Barrier, that the (so-called) “sound barrier” provides a practical upper limit on how fast airliners will go. They can push through it, but to do so requires a lot of extra power and reinforcement because things get really sketchy crossing that threshold, and it’s just not really worth it. The only way to provide value from all the work required to go past it would be go way, way past it, and that would bring problems of its own.)

The book is really a history of the airline industry in many ways. If you like planes, this is your book, because it discusses the planes and their economics just as much as the engines.

Book Info

Reiner Decher
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
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