I'm interested in buying a text book about learning to fly so that I'll have some basic knowledge when I begin lessons.

Someone recommended the Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA), but I was wondering if there's an equivalent Australian text and whether it's worth getting?

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    $\begingroup$ Flying an airplane is same in every country since airplanes don't care about countries. The difference lies in the regulations. For books, at a look at this answer which lists several great resources. $\endgroup$ – Farhan Nov 24 '14 at 14:31

CASA (the Civil Aviation Safety Authority) has a number of resources that might be of interest, in fact a lot of their safety publications and videos are as good as (or better than) the FAA equivalents. As best I can tell they don't have anything equivalent to the textbook-level Airplane Flying Handbook or Instrument Procedures Handbook from the FAA though.

You can find references to the FAA handbooks in some of CASA's CAAPs - for example, the Night VFR Rating information references the Airplane Flying Handbook's section on Night Operations) - so clearly they consider at least some of the information broadly transferrable.

Like Farhan mentioned the operating principles, maneuvers, etc. are going to be largely the same because the plane doesn't care what country it's in. It's the specific regulations (and regulatory citations), airspace design specifics, etc. that will vary but if you're aware of that you can easily pick out the parts that you should pay attention to versus the parts you'll need to go and cross-check in an appropriate Australian reference like the Part 61 Manual of Standards for flight training / practical test requirements.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @voretaq7. Seems like the CASA site has some really good resources, and I'll go ahead a grab a copy of the Airplane Flying Handbook. $\endgroup$ – Mark Micallef Nov 25 '14 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ Besides the regulations, the other thing(s) which would be different for you would be related to weather, e.g. Coriolis effect. $\endgroup$ – Farhan Dec 1 '14 at 15:35

My flying school as recommended the RPL Study Guide by Bob Tait as the introductory text. It covers basic aviation plus Australian (CASA) regulations.


CASA (the Civil Aviation Safety Authority) have a number of training publications but they are largely oriented at existing pilots, be they recreational or commercial. For someone interested in becoming a pilot, probably the single most useful CASA publication (other than the regulations themselves) is the Visual Flight Rules Guide which gives an overview of key VFR matters and practices. A lot of the information is also provided at http://vfrg.casa.gov.au/ which is worth a look for the wannabe pilot.

AirServices also publishes charts and supplemental material and it is almost certainly worthwhile getting a VTC chart to become familiar with the area in which you will do your flight training.

However, whether you plan to get a Recreational Pilot Licence or a Private Pilot Licence, the goto book is the RPL Study Guide by Bob Tait. As shown, it comes with a supplement for recent changes. Later books cover the more extensive knowledge required by the PPL and CPL but the RPL is the first step.

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The book unfortunately is not cheap but it covers a lot of material in the nearly 400 pages within and there is certainly a lot for the student pilot to get into. It incorporates Q&A at the end of each chapter so you can self-study your way through quite a lot of it.

I did my original training for my FAA PPL with what was the bible at the time - the Jeppesen-Sanderson Private Pilot Manual

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Comparing that to the Bob Tait book is interesting and IMHO the Bob Tait content is probably more readable as it doesn't present as simply a technical treatise and it is laced with some very good analogies. For example, apparent wind is presented with pictures of a motorcycle rider which makes it instantly obvious to anyone who has ridden a motorcycle. And the descriptions of moment, force and arm are easier to digest than I have seen elsewhere.

It also uses metric measurements/hectopascals and references what measurement systems the US uses, whereas an FAA-oriented book will never use a metric reference and pressure will be in inches of mercury. And of course a US book will reference US geographic locations & meteorology whereas an Australia book will reference Australian locations and met.

So buy the book for the county where you are training. That said, the used Jeppesen books are less than $10 on Amazon so you might want to pick one up as a supplemental reference.


With CASA blurring the lines between the RPL and the PPL, the RPL Study Guide has now been renamed to RPL/PPL Study Guide - Volume 1 (The PPL Study Guide is now the RPL/PPL Study Guide - Volume 2).


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