Training - Aircraft Structural Analysis




This course mayl be of interest to many:…

Simon Bergen-Henengouwen will be offering a distance learning course in Aircraft Structural Analysis (ASA I).


SAITAETGrad… My bible is the MIL-HDBK-5 [now MMPDS]… with Bruhn running a close second.

In ~1973 I was taking one of my first stress courses. The instructor decided to teach from ‘course notes’, ‘to save us the expense of buying another textbook’. Every couple of weeks we received one or two packages of photocopied ‘course notes’. This guy was a real theorist and had a complex writing style: what a nightmare trying to sort-out stress with his overly simplistic sketches and long equations!

One day I was down-town SLO and discovered a used book store… and was soon poking around the engineering texts. Guess what I found: a ‘gently used’ copy of Bruhn, 1965. I remember standing there thumbing thru page after page till I had to pee so bad I could hardly stand it. In that +hour of thumbing, 2-months of stress class came into sharper focus. I paid the grand sum of ~$25 for that book and never regretted it. Needless to say every topic the instructor covered, I reviewed the same topic in Bruhn… only to realize that Bruhn was far more concise and to-the-point… and had really good illustrations!

One afternoon it all came-to-a-head when I was called to his office to explain why I had NOT used his course-note techniques for solving a multi-cell torque/bending problem… but had used the much simpler format laid-out by Bruhn [remember this guy was a theorist]. I proposed we go to the aero-dean and discuss why an alternate solution from Bruhn was unacceptable relative to his ‘course notes’. It was then that he relented. Found-out that a few other classmates had talked to one of the higher-level stress instructors about the course and his exclusive use of poorly written ‘course-notes’. It was then that we heard he was supposed to be teaching from Perry’s Aircraft Structures or Bruhn’s text; and that his ‘course notes’ were actually sections/chapters from a stress-analysis text he was writing. Grrrrr… but thank God for Bruhn.

However, in BRUHN, I quickly found a few pages of metals data tables extracted from a mysterious document… numbered 'MIL-HDBK-5’… which seemed to present actual/authoritative mechanical allowables for real metal materials! I found a copy of MIL-HDBK-5A METALLIC MATERIALS AND ELEMENTS FOR AEROSPACE in the library… and realized that all the theory boiled down to how real metals and fasteners actually perform in-service… and here were real numbers!!! What hit me hard was that NONE of my courses or instructors had ever mentioned MIL-HDBK-5! In almost every case we were ‘given numbers to plug into the equations’ and told “where they came from was not our concern at the present”. The second major expense I had was paying $40? for a new copy of MIL-HDBK-5B mailed from the GPO. When it arrived, I fell in-love airframe with metallic materials, which has turned-out to be a thorn covered rose: many bloody lessons still were to be to learn about materials, specifications, testing, etc… but I had started.

Thank you for the story. Resonates with me and, I’m sure, many others who will read it.

This would also make a good preface of the book you are destined to write!

I see that Simon’s back on the warhorse. Excellent! Since I frequently find myself thumbing through Bruhn at work I don’t think I could stand evenings doing the same thing, but I will recommend the course to others who are on the verge of learning aircraft-related topics in structural analysis but still relying on standard ME training.

A very interesting thread this. At my workplace I have been tasked from time to time to give short courses to newly-graduated engineers. College training in aero structures lacked two very important topics: Fasteners and the concept of a load path. One particular “student” was scornful of having to learn the stressing of lugs, this being beneath his dignity. I told him to go and look at real aircraft to see how important the lowly lug was. Sigh.

wkTaylor, Bruhn was our principle text for us ‘SAIT Aero Eng Tech’ three year diploma types. Simon was our instructor and the course mentioned above was our first of three courses from Bruhn. In Bruhn we Trust!

Andries, Bruhn D1 and D2 are part of this first course.

For $750, great value. Right now that’s less than $600 USD.

So I was looking at Amazon for a copy of this book and I noticed that Bruhn has 2 books. One call ‘Analysis and Design of Aircraft Structures’ published in 1944 and 1958 and ‘Analysis and Design of Flight Vehicle Structures’ published in 1965 and 1973. I’m no book collector (well I’ve got a lot of books, but hey how doesn’t) but before I drop a significant chunk on one of these books I want to make sure I’m getting the right one. Is there any reason to purchase anything other than the 1973 version? I know there’s a significant errata file for the Bruhn available for download; has the errata been incorporated in the 1973 edition?

I’ve got the '43 or '44, '58,and '73 versions. The '73 is the latest, and I suspect that is what the class identified by the OP will use. If you plan on working biplanes and old technology, get the '43 vintage book. The data for biplanes was removed, but additional material was added to the '58 version. There are also '46 or '47 versions out there.
You might also want to download the Bruhn errata from Gran Corp.

@Kirby … “Analysis and Design of Flight Vehicle Structures”.
also remember McCombs “supplement”

Probably the single most valuable thing that has come from the internet is the opportunity for anyone who truly wishes, to get a university level education at no cost thanks to these online courses.

However, the point made about simply learning the analytical approach to use for a structure without having a good knowledge of material properties is excellent. For example, many aircraft structural components are shot peened which greatly improves fatigue performance. But how would you know what effect this would have on your analysis unless someone explained it to you?

MMPDS is easily the best overall reference for mechanical properties of metallic materials used in aircraft structures. But you still need to have an extensive understanding of things like manufacturing processes, corrosion protection, heat treatment, etc to make use of the information contained in MMPDS. And the only way I know of to accumulate this specific knowledge is by spending lots of time working in the industry.

I learned much more from Bruhn,I have both editions from Amazon, on by own than nine trimesters at Parks Air College.I don’t know the course work required now,but in my days back in early 70’s,the structural analysis and design courses really lacked.Here again the texts selected by the instructors were not good,their class notes even worse,a sad sight for one truly interested in structures.I now after many years have accumulated a decent library,thru used book stores.Hopefully the tmes I went thru have been improved upon.

One element that Bruhn missed, is what does real structure look like in preparation for analysis.

I have to admit, various liaison courses I’ve taken… and books like Niu’s Airframe Structural Design … are the next necessary step in a great training regimen.


@SparWeb Do you have any thoughts on training? Any updated courses?


As a former student of Simon BH, I highly recommend him and the course he offers. He has a style of his own and insight to impart that is rare. I believe he continues to offer the course from time to time. Contact him at for details.

I am preparing to take the Boeing structures course Part Three this August. A much deeper dive into durability and fracture mechanics. I can share my thoughts about the course once I’ve finished it - though I’m sure many others have had a chance to review it before me.

I was also keen to take the damage tolerance / fracture mechanics course from Patrick Safarian in the spring, but alas the timing was bad. Friends of mine who took it had very positive things to say.