Powering the World’s Airliners – Reiner Decher

Review by Andrew Kitney.

Having spent the past 35 years gaining a degree in Air Transport Engineering and working in airlines and aviation, and many more years than that as an enthusiast, this book looked like it would be at a good level of interest for me. The author, similarly, has completed studies in aeronautical engineering and seems well placed to write on the subject.

For those with a deeper interest in aviation, including the engineering and technical aspects, this book covers, in good technical detail, the incredible pace of airliner and aircraft development, from the early days of the Great War and especially the knock on from rapid military aircraft development during W.W.II and the Cold War. While focusing primarily on the engine, as per the title, and detailing the manufacturers and their progression, the book also reports on some of the enabling aerodynamics and structures and engineering that have also allowed, and enhanced, engine development.

In covering this history the book details all the key stages of this fascinating development of engines from the very early piston and rotary designs, through turboprops, early turbojets and turbofans, up to the very latest composite and 3D sculpted and geared turbofans. The key aircraft and their configurations that used these engines are highlighted, including four-engine pistons like the DC-4, the first jet airliner, the DH Comet, four jet engine swept wing airliners like the 707 and Convair 990, through tail-mounted twins, like the Caravelle, and up to modern 737s, and these are supported by some lovely and original photos, both colour and black and white.

In addition, nicely detailed engine photos and cutaways, performance tables, and supporting aerodynamic and aircraft drawings, build up the pictures nicely.

This book will be enjoyed by the enthusiast looking for more in-depth information on their subject and I would also recommend it to first year university students studying aeronautics or similar to give them a good starting level in propulsion.

ISBN 978-1-52675-914-6

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