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Theory of Flight

A classic aviation textbook — Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche (1944) — comments delightfully on the importance of understanding a system before trying to control it. From the introduction to Part I, "Wings":

The effort to understand how an airplane flies is sometimes called "Theory of Flight." Under that name, it has a bad reputation with pilots. Most pilots think that theory is useless, that practice is what does it. Yet you can't help having a theory: whatever you do, from peeling potatoes to flying airplanes, you go on the basis of some mental image of what's what — and that's all "theory" amounts to. And if your ideas of what's what are correct, you will do it well.

(cf. Transient Behavior (1999-05-11), Know How and Fear Not (1999-11-19), Wright Flight (2003-03-30), Technical Minded (2003-07-18), ...)^z - 2008-02-26

(correlates: VitalAndNegligible, TransientBehavior, ObserveTheMasses, ...)