Prefatory Material

About This Book...

This text was developed for a course in applied aerodynamics at Stanford University. The first year graduate course includes topics ranging from a review of the basic, governing equations of fluid flow to practical issues related to airfoil and wing design. The course included approximately 26 lectures dealing with the basic topics, with weekly problem sets to encourage students to explore topics more fully. These notes were used as part of the course reading materials. It is impossible to discuss applied aerodynamics without reference to computational methods, and the course makes use of several programs for aerodynamic analysis of airfoils and wings, limited versions of which are included here.

The material presented here complements a separate course in compressible flow theory, and many important issues are left to that course, while a continuation of this material is given in courses on advanced aerodynamic topics and aircraft design.

This digital text is intended to supplement a more conventional textbook in applied aerodynamics. The material has been composed based on lecture notes over the last few years and is continually under development, so your comments and suggestions are helpful.

Why a Digital Textbook?

There are several reasons for using this format for the course notes: I would like this, someday, to be a real "Hitchhiker's Guide to Aerodynamics" complete with a cadre of editors each supplying a section at their home institution. For the moment we are interested in your feedback for the next edition. Please send comments to Desktop Aeronautics (

About the Author

Ilan Kroo is a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. He received a degree in Physics from Stanford in 1978, then continued graduate studies in Aeronautics, leading to a Ph.D. degree in 1983. He worked in the Advanced Aerodynamic Concepts Branch at NASA's Ames Research Center then returned to Stanford as a member of the Aero/Astro faculty. Prof. Kroo's research in aerodynamics and aircraft design has focussed on the study of innovative airplane concepts and multidisciplinary optimization. He has participated in the design of high altitude aircraft, human-powered airplanes, America's Cup sailboats, and high-speed research aircraft. He was one of the principal designers of the SWIFT, tailless sailplane design and has worked with the Advanced Research Projects Agency on high altitude long endurance aircraft. He directs a research group at Stanford consisting of about ten Ph.D. students and teaches aircraft design and applied aerodynamics at the graduate level. In addition to his research and teaching interests, Prof. Kroo is Chief Scientist of Desktop Aeronautics, Inc. and is an advanced-rated hang glider pilot.


I would like to thank the many people who contributed to this work. To the students in AA200A who put up with beta versions that almost worked, to many colleagues who sent valuable suggestions, to Christine Beirne who helped to turn this into a real product, to R.T. Jones and Richard Shevell who have made many helpful comments on this material, and to my family, just for being wonderful: thanks.

Copyright Notice

This textbook is copyright by Desktop Aeronautics, Inc. Figures and text were either prepared originally for this book or used with permission. In certain cases royalty payments have been arranged. No part of this document may be reproduced in any form without express written permission from:
Desktop Aeronautics
P.O. Box 20384
Stanford, CA 94309
(650) 424-8588 (Phone)
Please contact Desktop Aeronautics for information on CD versions of this work. See the Desktop Aeronautics Home Page on the World Wide Web.