Read it to Laugh! Read it to Learn! Read it to see how airplanes really get designed.

[Living in the Future]
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The Real Cover

The Education and Adventures of an
Advanced Aircraft Designer

  • Why did his first boss say “Dan will never be an aircraft designer?”
  • Who said “Oh No, Not That Again,” and why?
  • What aviation magazine had Dan on its cover…but nobody can tell?
  • Why did the X-31 get better when Dan left?
  • How did Dan almost bring down a Navy jet…twice?
  • Why did Dan go to Purdue - really?
  • When and how was Dan the Moriarty of CAD mathematics?
  • How do you streamline a pumpkin?
  • Did Dan really propose a jet airplane with the engine installed backwards?
  • Which hobbies almost got Dan arrested?
  • And just why are bombers so darn much fun?
For answers to these burning questions and to read the inside story of the early development of some of today's hottest airplanes, order Raymer's new book today!

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The Upside-Down-and-Backwards Cover

Dr. Daniel P. Raymer, noted aircraft designer and author of the award-winning textbook "Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach", has written a non-technical book that will be treasured by everyone who loves airplanes, wonders how they get designed, and wants to know how somebody becomes an aircraft designer.

Half the book is Raymer’s warm and personal memoir of growing up in the 50’s and 60’s as the son of a Navy Test Pilot, discovering his own love of aviation, and entering the rarefied club of those who stare at a blank sheet of paper and turn it into a new aircraft or spacecraft design. The other half covers Raymer’s early involvement in the projects that became the X-31, B-2, F-22, T-45, F-35, and many more. (Yes, you get both halves bound together for one price!)

The book is an “easy” read, quick-paced, funny, and aimed at a general audience. Raymer includes his mistakes, disappointments, and downright stupid decisions. It’s not all airplanes either – read about Raymer’s aborted musical career, his misadventures in exotic destinations like Belarus and Bulgaria, how he got on the Internet early enough to grab www.aircraftdesign.com, and how he came to write his design textbook.

Paperback, 378 pages, $39.95
Design Dimension Press, Los Angeles, CA, 2009
ISBN 9 780972 239721


Reviews for Living in the Future

See the first and funniest reader review - click here then scroll down to the 15 December entry.

Excerpts from Peter Garrison's Technicalities column in Flying Magazine (Nov. 2010):
"It provides a close-up of the human lives inside the gigantic and impersonal-seeming Rockwells and Lockheeds of this world. Raymer has seen his share of the Dilbert side of aeronautical engineering... He has also worked on an array of fantastic designs, and you get the sense that what accounted for his precocious success, apart from sheer ability, was a complete lack of preconceptions about how an airplane ought to look."

Says Tim, retired Airline Pilot and A&P:
"Enjoyed Living in the Future! You're Funny, and don't take yourself too seriously! "

Says Lisa Kaspin-Powell, Communications Webmaster of the AIAA LA/Las Vegas Section:
"My husband and I enjoyed your talk and ordered Living in the Future - we learned a lot and got some big laughs out of the stories as well. I'm not in the aircraft industry and found your writing clear and easy to understand."

Says Sheldon from Sussex, England:
"I just finished Living in the Future for the second time. What a great book. I found all of your adventures great fun to read, I hope that I might get up to the same kind of things that you have done!"

Says Yannis C. Yortsos, Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering:
"What a wonderful account of your life and passion - and a great introduction to anyone who loves design. It makes me appreciate that much more all the fascinating work in aircraft design."

Says Jeff Gorss, Professional Engineer (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Class of 1966):
"Got your book...really enjoyed reading about your formative years. I don't generally laugh out loud reading a biography, but that happened. Numerous times."

Says Luc Van Bavel, the designer who lofted the Diamond D-JET and Epic Victory:
"I just finished Living in the Future and want to thank you for writing it. I truly appreciate that you have shared your experience candidly, and not one single page was boring."

Says Y.T. Chin, retired project manager for STOVL at Lockheed:
"Very well written, in easy-reading language, and covers the life and interesting career of an accomplished young Aerospace Engineer. We hope it will be a best-seller."

Says Jim Ward, retiree and Aviation Enthusiast :
"Loved your book Living in the Future. Great read, like you were in the room talking to me alone. Very conversational in a good way. Bought it last week and have read both sections twice."

Excerpts from a detailed book review in the “Books Worth Buying” section of Scott Lowther’s “Unwanted Blog”:
"I highly recommend this book. It’s enjoyable, readable, and stuffed with unbuilt aircraft projects...If you are interested in finding out how preliminary aircraft design is done, and what happens with those designs, then this book is for you. …it is written in a very casual style… and is eminently readable. I rarely read autobiographies… they just don’t interest me much. But the autobiographical half of “Living in the Future ” is engaging both in terms of readability and in just being a good yarn. This book is unique in that it serves not only as the personal history of the author (a well known aircraft conceptual designer), but also presents a number of the designs he worked on. Many of these seem to have not seen the public light of day previously…. Rockwell’s earliest Advanced Tactical Fighter…; the Rockwell Delta Spanloader stealthy bomber; the X-31 (did you know some thought was given to building it out of an F-86?); a Lockheed ASTOVL fighter…; the “Black Horse” and Pioneer Rocketplane “Pathfinder;” a launch vehicle that uses sunlight, of all things; several small ground attack planes (including one with a slewable wing); the Hot Eagle/SUSTAIN concept to shoot a dozen or so crazed Marines in a rocket vehicle anywhere in the world; future airliners; unmanned aircraft, and more! "


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[The Table of Contents] [A Sample Story Chapter] [A Sample Project Chapter]

From the Foreword by Darold Cummings, Chief Configuration Designer for the Northrop YF-23:
I first met Dan when he joined the configuration design group at Rockwell International (North American Aviation) in 1976. He was fresh out of Purdue, segueing from playing guitar at pizza parlors to designing fighters, bombers and trainers...Dan and I worked together for six years until I left Rockwell for a stint at Northrop. We’ve stayed in contact ever since and have enjoyed swapping stories about the vagaries of the aerospace industry, which are the soul of this very personal book.

If Dan’s aircraft design textbook covers the “ethos” of the aircraft design arena, then this companion book covers the “pathos”; the warm, ironic, joyful, frustrating, rewarding, agonizing, and downright Zen experience of being an aircraft designer. Enjoy Dan’s journey!


photo The following material, excerpted from Chapter One, introduces the book:
This book is a collection of stories about Raymer and his life in aviation and aircraft design. Some are personal reminiscences about growing up in the 1960’s as the son of a Naval Test Pilot, and some are about life as an aircraft designer. Other stories are about specific projects – how they started, how and why Raymer designed his aircraft concepts, what was learned, and what happened in the end. Some stories have nothing to do with airplanes and are included just to interest and amuse.

The book includes Raymer’s experiences in the early stages of the programs that became the B-2, the F-22, the T-45, the F-35, the X-31, and many more. In these Raymer was among the first people to study the emerging need and to create “blank sheet of paper” designs. These chapters are liberally illustrated with drawings from those studies, many taken from original publications by Raymer.

Engineers and airplane lovers should be interested in seeing the way a design evolves. Even non-engineers should enjoy seeing “behind the scenes” of the creative process that leads to airplanes, and the joys and frustrations of a career field in which the vast majority of designs never get built.


Dan Raymer is a recognized expert in the areas of aerospace vehicle design and configuration layout. During his ten years in the Advanced Design Department of Rockwell (North American Aviation) he created the layout design of Rockwell's entries in what became the F-22, B-2, and T-45 programs, and headed Air Vehicle Design for the X-31. His industry career includes positions as director of Advanced Design with Lockheed, Director of Future Missions at the Aerojet Propulsion Research Institute, and project manager of Engineering at Rockwell North American Aviation.

Dr. Raymer wrote the best-selling textbook "Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach" and the well-regarded layman's book, "Dan Raymer's Simplified Aircraft Design for Homebuilders". He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has undergraduate and graduate degrees in astronautics and aeronautical engineering from Purdue, an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. in engineering from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology.

Dan Raymer’s Living in the Future can be ordered at Atlas Books (publisher's fulfillment house) or at Amazon.com and other on-line retailers.


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