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A Field Guide to Airplanes, Third Edition Paperback – March 20, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0618411276 ISBN-10: 0618411275 Edition: Revised, Update

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Revised, Update edition (March 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618411275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618411276
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Formerly vice president and partner of the Architects Collaborative, the famous firm founded by Walter Gropius, Gerald Foster has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Boston Architectural Center as well as the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited at the DeCordova Museum and at various galleries. His books include A Field Guide to Airplanes, A Field Guide to Trains, and American Houses: A Field Guide.

Customer Reviews

I'd recommend this for anyone interested in planes.
Boston reader
Fun to read about the planes I see on TV Movies and in real life.
Joseph Wexler
Errors like this detract from the credibility of the book.
Jon L. Albee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a disappointment. The first edition, published in 1984 was a wonderful find, a book I carried with me when I traveled. The third edition suffers from poor quality paper, re-used printing plates, and a format (5 1/2" x 8 1/2") that hardly qualifies it as a "field guide."

Montgomery and Foster did an excellent job of updating aircraft models, organizing aircraft by type, providing brief descriptions, and highlighting the subtle cues that allow one to differentiate between different series of an aircraft model. Unfortunately, the details of the line drawings are lost in the third edition, with many of the subtleties unreadable due to the inferior paper and printing process used. The first edition was printed on high-opacity white stock; this edition is printed on the same type of paper often found in mass-market paperbacks, barely above the quality of newsprint. In addition, the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, chose to reformat the book to a size that makes it difficult to slip into a jacket pocket. The binding and cover are poor. I'm sure if I chose to keep this book (I returned it) it would fall apart within a year.

Find a new publisher, guys.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
This well organized book contains more than 350 aircraft of North America. Each aircraft is well described and a history and statistical information is nicely presented. One of the more unique parts of this guide is that each aircraft is given a small list of items that separate it from similar looking aircraft. The illustrations are precise and very accurate, too. This guide is wonderful and comes in very handy. There are more planes that could be added and possibly a few rarities that could be removed, but the book's wealth of information weighs over. This guide aids beautifully in identification of aircraft and a second book, such as Jane's World Aircraft Recognition Handbook, would make a great companion to fill in all the information. All in all, this book is very worthwhile to any aviation enthusiast.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By dfheaton on November 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
As much as I enjoy aircraft, I was thoroughly disappointed with the Kindle version of this aircraft recognition guide. The printed edition probably surpassed the Kindle by far. The images were very poor, and next to being useless. Really wish I could have gotten my money back on this one. My lesson learned, hopefully will save many others from the same pitfall.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone who is interested in aviation or an novice "plane-spotter". The book is set up much like (as the title says) a field guide complete with field marks for quick identification. Also a great book for getting child that is interested in airplanes. There is also a helicopter section added.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Hall on August 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. I've been disappointed in other guide books that omit older planes. In my area, older planes and even biplanes are the most interesting things flying out of the small fields. It's also helpful that it doesn't try to cover the European types we just don't see here. The organizational scheme is also good. Some books try to group planes by the number engines, wing type, etc. But that approach puts huge and tiny planes in the same section. THIS book does it properly, seperating out the airliners from the private types.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Edelman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The format of "A Field Guide to Airplanes" will be familiar to birdwatchers, as the authors have taken the style of Peterson's famous identification guides and applied it to aircraft. There's nothing terribly original in this, as Peterson himself worked with the military in World War II to develop spotter's guides based on the principles he developed.
All of which takes nothing away from the accomplishment of the authors. This "Field Guide" is a marvelous book for aircraft watchers of all ages. I bought my copy to give to a 9 year old who's currently fascinated by every flying machine that passes over his house, but I find it equally as interesting to thumb through. It's small enough to slip in a pocket and complete enough to identify most of the aircraft you're likely to encounter.
As other reviewers have noted, though, it's getting a bit out of date. The last revision was in 1992, and since then we've seen the introduction of a number of new airliners and a veritible explosion of new models in the General Aviation marketplace. You won't find the 777 here, or the new Cirrus or Eclipse. It would be nice to see a revised edition in the next few years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jon L. Albee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a relatively comprehensive guide to North American aircraft that you're likely to see flying today.

A word of warning: The book's editing is a bit sloppy, and it really serves as a guide for the casual and curious observer. It's a good book to take along to the air show.

Serious aircraft enthusiasts, pilots, and engineers will be disappointed by both the lack of technical detail and the occasional error (which they will recognize immediately). For example, the Piper Meridian is a pressurized single turboprop, not a "turbocharged" Malibu. Errors like this detract from the credibility of the book.

When will we get a comprehensive guide to modern civilian aircraft, that is both technically correct AND up to date? This book is not it.
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A Field Guide to Airplanes, Third Edition
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