Every pilot has a library. Some are bigger than others, but they all include at the very minimum the basic textbooks that got you through your certification training. If you have a little more space to play with, you may find yourself wondering what books you should add to your collection.
Or perhaps, you aren’t a pilot, but are interested in aviation and want to learn more about it. Maybe you’re looking for a good gift for a pilot friend or you want an aviation bedtime story for your child.
We're constantly expanding our selection with even more captivating titles from various aspects of aviation. Check back regularly to discover new additions to the collection and fuel your passion for aviation.
Happy reading and happy flying!
Learning from your own mistakes is good but learning from someone else’s is much better. Nowhere is this truer than in an industry like aviation where mistakes can easily be deadly. I Learned About Flying From That is a collection of over 75 first-hand accounts from real-life pilots.
They share tales of mishaps and close calls that will keep you on the edge of your seat and allow you to walk away with plenty of valuable life lessons to apply, especially for student pilots considering a career in aviation.
The stories shared in this book come from Flying Magazine’s popular column by the same name. Every topic you can think of is covered from dangerous weather to equipment malfunctions. The book is conveniently divided by topic, making it easy to find the exact type of anecdote you are searching for.
2. Test Prep and Test Guide Books
While perhaps not as exhilarating a read as some other books on this list, if you are working on obtaining your pilot certification or are in the process of adding additional certs, a current test prep/test guide book certainly qualifies as a must-have.
The ASA has just released a brand-new series of study materials for 2020. The guides have been updated to reflect the latest test questions from the FAA data bank.
Each guide is packed with material to set you up for success on your FAA test. You will have access to every test question, graph, chart, figure and table from the test, plus full explanations of the answers. These books are perfect for student pilots working on becoming a private pilot and pushing forward to pursue a career in aviation.
Once you have studied the materials and expanded your aeronautical knowledge, put everything you've learned to the test by taking 5 free online practice exams (offered with most of the guides). Private Pilots and those going for their IFR rating can even receive their FAA knowledge test endorsement through the included software.
Books are available for:
- Private Pilot
- Instrument Rating
- Commercial Pilot
- Professional Pilot
- Flight Instructor
- Remote Pilot
- AMT Powerplant
- AMT General
- AMT Airframe
If you’re looking for the complete package, you can get a test prep bundle option which includes the book, downloads and online content. This is a great bundle for novice pilots.
You’ve put in your time practicing basic flights over flat terrain and made countless landings on well-lit paved runways. Now you’re itching to go out and explore somewhere a little more adventurous.
If the next flight on your bucket list involves traversing mountains or canyons, if it takes you into remote backcountry areas, the ASA Mountain, Canyon, and Backcountry Flying guide is a must-have aviation book for you.
Preparing for a backcountry flight over unforgiving terrain requires a new level of skill, physical and mental preparation, equipment, and knowledge of your aircraft.
Who better to learn from than pilots who have been there and have the experience and real-world knowledge to share with you?
This guide walks you through the entire flight step-by-step starting in the planning and preparation phases. You will learn what emergency equipment and supplies to take along, what type of situations to watch out for and review emergency operations procedures to take if something goes wrong.
Along the way, the authors share their own personal experiences and insights including valuable analyses of accident scenarios they found themselves in. They also solicited contributions from other experienced backcountry pilots, making this guide a wealth of information and a great addition to your collection of aviation books.
It goes without saying that each aircraft is different and there is a learning curve when you transfer your skills from one aircraft to the next. Steepen that curve and get up to speed faster by including an easy-to-follow checklist to walk you through procedures on each aircraft.
The checklists are printed on sturdy spiral-bound pages and are designed to fit on nearly every kneeboard for ease of use.
Keep one on hand for each aircraft you fly, and you will always be prepared.
Starting with the cover of his book, Richie Lengel sets the reader at ease and assures us that we have picked up the right guidebook. The title - Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot – sets the expectation for exactly what Lengel then proceeds to deliver.
This book is a must-have for pilots who want “excruciatingly detailed plain English explanations of everything essential for every pilot.” Lengel opted for a non-traditional writing style based on an outline format that reads more like a checklist or scannable summary. This helps the reader skim through and get the gist of a topic before diving into the details.
6. Gift Books
Pilots and fans will both appreciate adding some recreational titles to their aviation library.
From photography to military history, here are some favorites:
This book is an ideal present for any aviation fan or member of the military. "What's Your Call Sign?", written by Ben "Lobo" Taggart, a Marine Corps major and naval aviator with over two decades of experience, is an amusing yet insightful take on the custom of assigning call signs among naval aviators.
He provides examples of how these tags are earned, what they signify, and how they have impacted the lives of members in the navy flying corps for generations. This is one the aviation books you need to have on your shelf.
In his memoir, "Flying Sideways", pilot Fred North enthralls readers with tales from his incredible career in Hollywood. As the stuntman for some of the most iconic action films, including “Inception,” “James Bond: Spectre,” and “Fast X”, he has more than 200 credits to his name.
From his beginnings in Senegal, North tells stories of rally racing, a run-in with the DEA in Miami, and being accepted into flight school as if by magic. Follow him as he recounts the daring feats and gravity-defying stunts that wowed audiences around the world.
Greg Brown, a seasoned aviation columnist, chronicled his experience as a student pilot to an experienced aviator in the memoir Flying Carpet: The Soul of An Airplane.
The name of the book and his aircraft reflects Brown’s daring attitude towards flying and the freedom it brings. In his story he captures the vividness of adventure, humor and entertainment of being airborne.
If you are looking for a fun read on the challenges and sheer delight of taking flight, then Flying Carpet is your answer.
Those looking to break into aviation can follow the usual strategies used by countless job seekers before them. This includes things like networking, devising a plan of action, developing interviewing skills, writing an impressive resume, and more.
With Your Job Search Partner by Cheryl Cage, you can master all these skills and more in just 10 days. On top of that, readers will learn how to recognize common mistakes and how to deal with typical career-related anxieties. You can get your hands on this guide and have your job search strategy worked out in no time.
Take that first step toward your dream job.
Don’t fall into the tempting trap of relying on technology to do all of your cockpit calculations for you. If your tech fails, it will be up to you to have the skills to carry out the basic calculations, computations and conversions that allow you to safely land your aircraft.
Pilot Ronald D. McElroy walks you through easy tips and shortcuts for remembering how to calculate vital formulas like descent planning, aircraft range & performance data, fuel burn, hold entries and more.
This is one of those books that may keep you alive someday, and it is a must-have for your library.
Making the move from prop to turbine? Imagine having a couple of experienced pilots walk you through the mechanics and operation of these engine systems.
Using easy-to-follow illustrations and commentary, Greg Brown and Mark Holt teach you the basics you should be aware of when you start flying a turbine aircraft. Increase your aeronautical knowledge and learn about wake turbulence, high-altitude operations, descent planning, airspeed management and more.
What’s the best way to deal with the threat of severe weather? Avoid it. While it is important to learn what to do if you end up caught in a severe weather condition, focus on prevention may keep you from needing to use those severe weather flying skills in the first place.
Aviation Weather Services is the main source of weather information for the aviation world. In this revised edition, there are 400 pages filled with vivid graphics and illustrations. If you want to tap into the best resource regarding weather, this book is your guide.
Do you or someone you know aspire to become a flight instructor? Or maybe you already are a flight instructor but want a little advice on how to teach certain concepts to new students. If any of these situations suit you, then Bill Kershner’s “The Flight Instructor’s Manual” is the perfect purchase for you.
Federal Aviation Regulations are intended to be taken seriously, and failure to comply can have grave consequences and impact even the most successful airline business. Mark J. Holt and Phillip J. Poynor’s book “Air Carrier Operations” helps to set you on the track.
This book applies to both Part 121 and Part 135, covering everything from pilots, to flight crews and dispatchers. Become knowledgeable about everything the Federal Aviation Administration encourages those with a career in aviation to understand. Be prepared for anything with this book.
Whether you are just starting to build your aviation library, or you are looking to expand your already robust collection, consider these 12 books must-haves for pilots and aviation enthusiasts.