Perhaps my notes and observations will inspire you to buy your own copy and learn from this classic…or to take the copy you already own off the shelf and revisit its great lessons.

Chapters 1 and 2: “How a Wing is Flown”; “The Airplane’s Gaits”

Chapter 3: “Lift and Boyancy”

Chapter 4: “The Flying Instinct”

Chapter 5: “The Law of the Roller Coast”

Chapter 6: “Wind Drift”

Chapter 7: “What the Airplane Wants to Do”

Chapter 8: “That Thing Called Torque”

Chapter 9: “The Flippers and the Throttle”

Chapter 10: “The Ailerons”

Chapter 11: “The Rudder”   

Chapter 12: “The Turn”

Chapter 13: “Straight and Level Cruising”   

Chapter 14: “The Glide”

Chapter 15: “The Approach”

Chapter 16: “The Landing”

Chapter 17: “The Landing Run”

Chapter 18: “The Dangers of the Air” (by Leighton Collins)

Chapter 19: “The Working Speeds of the Outcome”

Chapter 20: “Thin Air”

I earned my Private Pilot certificate in May 1985, shortly after purchasing a 1946 Cessna 120 that I used to build most of my experience toward my Commercial certificate. After separating from the U.S. Air Force I went to a local FBO in Boonville, Missouri part-time for about a month and earned my Instrument rating, my Commercial and my Flight Instructor certificate. About that same time I happened across a beat-up first edition/ninth printing (1944) copy of Wolfgang Langewiesche’s Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying at a yard sale for 20 cents. I bought it, took it home, and devoured its wisdom.

Further back, an essay that has had a life-long influence on me is Dr. Mortimer Adler’s “How to Mark a Book,” (thank you, Mrs. Mak and your Junior English class at Kailua High School 1977-78) . Like Stick and Rudder, Adler’s famous essay was also written in the early 1940s. So when I discovered Stick and Rudder quite accidentally in 1988, just five years out of college myself, I applied Adler’s advice and marked the heck out of the flying techniques book—yellow-lining key points and making annotations in the margins not only to highlight what Langewiesche said, but also what I was thinking as I read his words.

My marked-up, well-read copy of Stick and Rudder had sat un-reviewed for many years on my home office bookshelf. I committed to re-reading and renewing this great book to review the author’s wisdom, but also to see if there’s anything I’d add—or anything I’ve forgotten—in my highlights and margin notes.

So, here are my notes on Wolfgang Langewiesche’s essential classic: Stick and Rudder: