Under the motto “a good pilot is always learning” and “It isn’t what the book costs. It’s what it will cost you if you don’t read it”, we compiled a list of some must-reads for any pilot, whether student pilot or a seasoned professional!
Ten Books That Will Help Every Student Pilot
1. Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying, by Wolfgang Langewiesche
Stick and Rudder is the first exact analysis of the art of flying ever attempted. It has been continuously in print for thirty-three years. It shows precisely what the pilot does when he flies, just how he does it, and why.
Because the basics are largely unchanging, the book, therefore, is applicable to large airplanes and small, old airplanes and new, and is of interest not only to the learner but also to the accomplished pilot and to the instructor himself.
When Stick and Rudder first came out, some of its contents were considered highly controversial. In recent years its formulations have become widely accepted. Pilots and flight instructors have found that the book works.
Today several excellent manuals offer the pilot accurate and valuable technical information. But Stick and Rudder remains the leading think-book on the art of flying. One thorough reading of it is the equivalent of many hours of practice.
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2. Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, by FAA
This official FAA handbook has been required reading for more than 30 years. Providing basic knowledge essential for all pilots, from beginning students through to the more advanced certificates, this Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publication introduces readers to the broad spectrum of knowledge required as they progress through pilot training. Studying this book, pilots gain the required knowledge to earn a certificate and understand aerodynamic theory associated with airplane flight. Written for the pilot preparing for a Remote, Sport, Private, Commercial, or Flight Instructor Pilot Certificate, it is a key reference for all the information necessary to operate an aircraft and to pass the FAA Knowledge Exam and Practical Test (checkride).
3. Weather Flying, by Robert N. Buck
How do you improve on the best guide for pilots to learn how to fly in all kinds of weather? The answer is the Fifth Edition of Weather Flying. Regarded as the bible of weather flying, this aviation classic not only continues to make complex weather concepts understandable for even the least experienced of flyers, but has now been updated to cover new advances in technology. At the same time, this respected text still retains many of its original insights from over four decades of publication, provided by renowned weather flying veteran Robert N. Buck.
In a straightforward style, new author Robert O. Buck (son of the book’s original author) delves into how computers, personal electronic devices, electronic flight instrument systems, and other technologies are changing the way general aviation pilots fly weather. He addresses the philosophy and discipline required to use these systems, what they are really telling us, and their task as supplement to good flying sense. The updated Fifth Edition also discusses how to handle changes in FSS weather briefing, including a look at new weather information products and airborne datalink weather information as they affect weather flying.
4. The Student Pilot’s Flight Manual: From First Flight to Pilot Certificate, by William K. Kershner
This manual covers all you need to know for your first flight, pre solo, the post-solo maneuvers, cross-country and night flying. First published in 1960 and updated continuously since then, this Tenth Edition ensures you will be prepared for the classroom, tarmac, and the cockpit.
The Student Pilot’s Flight Manual is a gathering of material used in preflight and postflight briefings and in-flight instruction provided by one of the greatest flight instructors of our time. It also includes a synopsis of what to expect for your FAA Knowledge Exam and checkride. But this book is not intended to merely help readers “get past” the exam and checkride, it also has the essential information for use in the day-to-day process of flying airplanes.
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5. The Next Hour: The Most Important Hour in Your Logbook, by Richard L. Collins
The author shares his personal experience, enriching it with real-life examples, to illustrate the key points of safe flight and to make practical applications for pilots how to manage the risks.
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6. The Flying Life: stories for the aviation soul, by Lauran Paine Jr.
The of EAA “Sport Aviation” columnist Lauran Paine Jr. This is aviation from the heart.
“For many years I have enjoyed Lauran Paine’s column, and so I was interested in reading his book, Flying Life. I knew early on that it was a compliation of his earlier writings. His style and delivery, with choice of words, makes for an easy and entertaining experience. Of special feeling are the chapters describing why those of us who drive small airplanes, are thoroughly captured in the activity. How do we explain to “civilians” why we like to get into our homebuilt, or a manufactured two or 4 place plane and just take-off? Even with his years of background, first in the military and then as an airline pilot, Paine is still in touch with the thrill of getting into his RV and just going for a ride at sunset.” – Ralph Stephenson (Amazon review)
7. The Thinking Pilot’s Flight Manual: Or, How to Survive Flying Little Airplanes and Have a Ball Doing It, by Rick Durden
In a provocative and sometimes controversial style, this guide starts where standard-issue flight training manuals leave off. The Thinking Pilot guides you deeply into topics that weren’t taught in flight training-everything from how to really do a preflight, through keeping your passengers happy, scud running, precautionary landings, and how to survive a crash. It includes a detailed introduction to flying floats, skis, aerobatics, and classic airplanes; probes some of aviation’s dirty little secrets, explodes myths, and presents the best, most succinct guide to flying tailwheel airplanes ever written.
Rick Durden was once described as aviation’s Renaissance Man. He is an Airline Transport-rated pilot with experience in some 200 types of airplanes, a practicing aviation attorney who has been involved in hundreds of aircraft accident cases, writer, aviation magazine editor, safety counselor, flight instructor, volunteer pilot in remote areas of the U.S. and Central America, and has been the executive director of a nonprofit conservation organization making use of aircraft and volunteer pilots throughout much of North America.
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8. Night Flight, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
In this gripping novel, Saint-Exupéry tells about the brave men who piloted night mail planes from Patagonia, Chile, and Paraguay to Argentina in the early days of commercial aviation.
ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY, the “Winged Poet,” was born in Lyon, France, in 1900. A pilot at twenty-six, he was a pioneer of commercial aviation and flew in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. In 1944, while flying a reconnaissance mission for his French air squadron, he disappeared over the Mediterranean.
9. Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook
Flying is fun, and with Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook, learning about flying is now fun, as well.
If you want to learn to fly, or even just learn about what makes a plane fly, you’ll find this lavishly illustrated, fast-paced book to be the best available guide. Written in a clear and witty style, the Private Pilot Handbooks contains more than 1,200 illustrations and photos that are a standalone education about why we can fly.
Studying for your private pilot oral and knowledge exams? Everything you need is in this book. It’s not just a beginner’s book—it’s a comprehensive and useful reference resource for private and even professional pilots. As one flight student said, “This handbook explains why things are the way they are, in a way that’s easy to understand. I learned lots of things in Rod’s book that I had not read ANYWHERE else, despite years of reading aviation literature.”
Rod has been teaching people how to fly airplanes since 1973. His highly acclaimed teaching methods have established him as one of aviation’s most respected teachers. Using analogies, memory aids, clear and detailed graphics and a little humor, Rod reduces the complexity of all aviation subjects (aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation, airspace, etc.) to a level that even the non-technical person can easily understand. Simply stated, Rod Machado makes learning about flying a fun and enjoyable experience.
10. Pilot’s Pocket Handbook, by Art Parma
The next best thing to having that brain chip implant! A handy collection of useful everyday aviation facts, figures and neat stuff for pilots.
“Best, simple, all in one, data in print, form of information. I pass these out to my advanced students as they are more appreciative of the information that is difficult to disseminate to the beginning student.” – Trucker Loyd (Amazon review)
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