With the success of this question, which asks about good books on aerodynamics, I thought I'd ask another general question regarding books that we can turn into a community wiki.

What are good books to use to learn how to fly? And yes, I know that, in the end, you'll just need a good instructor. But there are several books that suppliment a good instructor, or can be used by people who are interested in learning to fly, but perhaps are unable to get an instructor just yet.

Note: I am well aware this is a very general question. But I would like to have a centralized resource, vetted by users of this stack, that we can point to when someone asks for text resources on learning how to fly.


1 Answer 1


As you pointed out in your question, no book is a substitute for actual instruction in an aircraft with a flight instructor. That being said, doing your homework and knowing what your instructor is going to expect goes a long way toward completing your training in a timely manner.
The books here are all great reference texts to be combined with a flight instruction curriculum.

FAA Publications / Books for initial training

A surprising number of new student pilots are not aware of the wealth of information the FAA has compiled and published to help people learn to fly. There is a whole series of FAA Handbooks and Manuals that you can take advantage of which are available from the FAA as well as from a variety of publishers like ASA. While all of the regulatory information is geared toward US/FAA regulations much of the technique information, signs & markings, etc. will be universal, in conformance with ICAO rules.
I list a whole bunch of them here, but you can find a wealth of information by googling what you want to do and the words "FAA Handbook".

  1. Books on Flying the aircraft - maneuvers, etc.
    Quite simply if it flies the FAA probably has a book about how you should fly it. These books cover basic flying technique and the maneuvers the FAA expects pilots to be able to demonstrate.
    The popular ones include:
    The Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A)
    The Helicopter Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-21A)
    The Glider Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-13A)
    The Balloon Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-11A)

  2. Books on "essential aviation knowledge" - Airport signs & markings, "rules of the air", etc.
    The Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A) is the starting point here.
    The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is another key resource (you will often find this as a combined "FAR/AIM" printed publication).

  3. Books for the more advanced stuff - Instrument ratings and beyond
    The Instrument Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-15B) and Instrument Procedures Handbook (FAA-H-8083-16) are excellent references for pilots pursuing an instrument rating.

  • $\begingroup$ +1, Very comprehensive answer, Well Done. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 21:11

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