Aviation books for aspiring or professional pilots

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The brief

For current pilots or those who are learning to become one, these books are particularly well-suited to you. They’re the tried and tested manuals for flying the skies, with many having been used for many years in aviator training and education programs.

Whether you’re a novice, a pilot with decades of experience, or someone who hasn’t yet even flown independently, all 5 of these books are a worthwhile read that will help you become a better aviator.

Review list

1. Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flyingby Wolfgang Langewiesche

An Explanation of the Art of Flying

This is an essential aviation handbook for any pilot and has been used in aviation training for decades. It was first published in 1944, providing the world’s first exact analysis of flying. It’s largely independent of the specific type of plane, which is likely why it’s stood the test of time for so long.

From the technical details behind flight, to how and why a pilot should behave in a particular way, to details explorations of takeoff and landing strategies, this is undoubtedly a comprehensive manual.

2. Weather Flyingby Robert N. Buck

Weather Flying

Another aviation classic, this book should belong to every pilot’s shelf. It’s often referred to as the “bible” of flying in all types of weather conditions and is useful for novices and experienced pilots alike. Recent editions have updated it to include the latest weather research, procedures, reporting and compliance practices. It also describes the latest progressions in instrumentation and technology which are changing the way aviation works.

3. The Next Hour: The Most Important Hour in Your Logbookby Richard L. Collins

The Next Hour: The Most Important Hour in Your Logbook

Sharing personal insights from a lifetime in the skies, Collins provides valuable advice about flying. He argues that focusing on how to understand and manage the risks of flying is crucial, and it explores proven ways of doing this. Filled with real-life examples, it’s high on the recommendation list for all new pilots.

4. Fly The Wingby Jim Webb

Fly The Wing

In an easy to read format with conversational style language, this book for professional pilots offers useful tools and proven techniques for all types of flights. In particular, it’s popular for its highly detailed explanations of flight dynamics and wing designs. Perfect for anyone in or working towards an aviation career.

5. You Can Be A Pilot! Answers to 25 Popular Questions About Learning To Flyby Chris Findley

You Can Be A Pilot

Perfect for any aspiring pilot who’s keen to learn more but isn’t sure how to get started, this book is a bestseller amongst aviation enthusiasts who want to learn to fly. Findley is a flight instructor who shares 25 of the most common questions about learning to fly, which are perfect to kickstart your way into the aviation sphere.

Final thoughts

Borrow from the library, purchase a hardcopy or digital version, or download an audiobook - these 5 must-read books for aviators and aviation enthusiasts and professionals alike will keep you hooked from beginning to end. Whether you’re already a seasoned pilot, or a pilot in training, or just someone who’s passionate about aviation, these books are popular and well-recommended reads that won’t leave you disappointed.