Much of training as a pilot involves hands-on knowledge. However, the best aviation training books can make a world of difference.
In my time training as a pilot, I’ve realized that how well a book explains things impacts how easily I learn vital concepts. One of the primary criteria I use is how well books explain certain concepts overall when recommending books for aviation training.
I also look at the quality of aviation training books’ illustrations. Because I’ve known more than one student pilot who has been a visual learner, we need to keep images in mind.
I’ve looked at some of the training books that aviation students are talking about. After thoroughly reading many of these titles, I have found the ten options that I recommend the most.
Table of Contents
Types of aviation training books
- Pilot manuals/handbooks – These books have extensive information on flight technology, including illustrations and regular updates
- Test prep books – This book category includes study guides to prepare pilots for all areas of testing
- Aviation weather services guides – These books provide helpful information about aviation weather that every pilot must know
My picks for the best aviation training books are:
My 10 Best Aviation Training Books for Private Pilots
- the best book covering current aviation regulations, the FAR/AIM 2023: Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual
- the most user-friendly text for student pilots, the Jeppesen Private Pilot Manual Private Pilot Textbook
- the best option for visual learners, An Illustrated Guide to Flying by Barry Schiff
- the best Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-authorized weather guide, the Aviation Weather Services Handbook
- the best supplemental resource for the knowledge test, the Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement
- the best training handbook utilizing personal experience, the Private Pilot Blueprint by Jason Schappert
- the best oral exam test prep guide, Oral Exam Guide by Michael D. Hayes
- the best non-technical guide to flight, Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying 1st Edition by Wolfgang Langewiesche
- the top training book for performance flying, Performance Pilot: Skills, Techniques, and Strategies to Maximize Your Flying Performance by Ross Bentley
- the best training book for instrument training, Instrument Pilot Oral Exam Guide by Michael D. Hayes
1. FAR/AIM 2023: Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual
The FAR/AIM 2023: Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual allows ASA to continue living up to its reputation as an aviation publisher. One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the updated information, including a subscription to FAA email updates.
All the graphics are in full color. One of the most significant advantages of color images is greater clarity.
I enjoyed how the text denotes areas where updates have been made since the last edition. When regulations change, it is essential to know when the new rules will be in effect.
The tabs in the page margins made it easier for me to find everything. I also found the index comprehensive, making finding references much more accessible.
2. Jeppesen Private Pilot Manual Private Pilot Textbook
The Jeppesen Private Pilot Manual Private Pilot Textbook includes updates on crucial information for students, such as GPS systems. New innovative graphics help make these concepts easier to understand.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was the emphasis on next-generation flight operation technology. All of the information was streamlined for more precise explanations.
I enjoyed the colorful presentation that this guide used. The organization was intuitive so that everyone would get the most from it.
3. An Illustrated Guide to Flying
An Illustrated Guide to Flying was the best option I found for visual learners. The number of photos and illustrations contained in the book effectively shows the concepts discussed instead of merely telling readers about them.
Some concepts discussed include flight maneuvers, flight rules, navigation, and how flight instruments work. The visual style is perfect for pilots and loved ones interested in learning more about what the pilot-to-be is studying.
4. Aviation Weather Services Handbook
The All-New Aviation Weather Handbook is the most comprehensive weather guide that contains essential information from the FAA. All the information in this guide comes from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service releases.
I found the comprehensive information in this helpful book, addressing everything from observations to forecasts. A selection of charts, color photographs, and satellite images help provide more effective visuals.
5. Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement
The Airman Knowledge Testing Supplement is the book provided during the knowledge exam. I found it very helpful to have this book ahead of time.
This supplement has information for knowledge areas other than conventional aircraft, such as gyroplanes and balloons. Any student pilot will have better chances of acing their test with this supplement.
6. Private Pilot Blueprint by Jason Schappert
Private Pilot Blueprint by Jason Schappert has an interesting take that I found useful for aspiring pilots. Schappert wrote this book with things he wished others had told him when he started flying.
Anyone interested in flying will benefit from reading this volume. I especially enjoyed the section about finding the right flight school.
7. Oral Exam Guide by Michael D. Hayes
The Private Pilot Oral Exam Guide by Michael D. Hayes was a tool I felt would help instructors, as well as students. The questions students are most likely to encounter in the exam, and their responses are invaluable tools.
I appreciated how this book is updated for current certification standards. The section on scenario-based questions was another favorite feature of mine.
8. Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying 1st Edition by Wolfgang Langewiesche
Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying 1st Edition by Wolfgang Langewiesche describes how flying works. Although manuals devote much attention to rules and regulations, students receive more sense of the hows behind aircraft operations.
Langewiesche’s book addresses these basics for large and small planes. The book’s popularity with instructors, as well as pilots, says a lot about it.
9. Performance Pilot: Skills, Techniques, and Strategies to Maximize Your Flying Performance by Ross Bentley
Performance Pilot: Skills, Techniques, and Strategies to Maximize Your Flying Performance by Ross Bentley is the best resource for performance flying. I think that flying with performance in mind makes a substantial difference for most pilots.
I feel that this book lives up to its reputation for helping pilots get their licenses faster. Another significant advantage I found with this book was how it helped me increase my concentration.
10. Instrument Pilot Oral Exam Guide by Michael D. Hayes
Instrument Pilot Oral Exam Guide by Michael D. Hayes was the best study resource I found for the instrument exam. This book contained the questions most likely to come up in the exam and answers in the appropriate format.
I like it when a book is updated, and this edition meets that criterion. Some of the newer information since the last edition includes weather services and transponder requirements.
I also appreciated the chapter on scenario-based questions. Whenever an exam has open-ended questions, students benefit from knowing the best ways to phrase their answers.
What book is the best for pilots?
Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche is one of the best books commonly recommended for pilots.
What types of books are best for private pilot’s license training?
Pilot manuals and handbooks, exam guides, and either guides are all recommended for pilots.
Are pilot license tests easy to pass without books?
Although the majority of pilots in training pass their tests, using books to prepare helps.