Best Books for Learning to Fly

Start with the basics before expanding your knowledge base

The task of learning to fly can look daunting at first, from reading reams of FAA regulations to understanding aerodynamics, to talking to Air Traffic Controllers over a frequency full of experienced pilots. These books will start you on that journey and give you a grasp of the basics as you prep for that first flight lesson.

Understand ATC Communications Before Hitting the Master Switch

Say Again, Please: Guide to Radio Communications by Bob Gardner
When it comes time to key the mic and speak to ATC for the first time, this book will help you understand what controllers are saying and what needs to be said back to them.Amazon

In Say Again, Please: Guide to Radio Communications by Bob Gardner, the author draws on his long career as a Gold Seal Instructor to help flight students overcome “mic fright” as they speak to ATC. Readers will learn everything they need to communicate effectively in VFR, IFR, and emergency conditions. A fold-out sectional excerpt is provided so readers can review the map while reading “example flights” which explain flying and talking in each area.

The Fine Art of Flying Airplanes is Timeless

Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche
If you read only one book on why airplanes fly, make it this one, and your flight instructor will marvel at how fast you pick up basic aircraft control.Amazon

Even though Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche was originally written in 1944, its concepts are universal to all airplanes big and small, and it remains one of the best and most concise explanations of why airplanes fly. Considered a “must-read” by many flight instructors, student pilots will devour this information, and better understand how their control inputs make the airplane reacts the way it does on their next flight lesson.

A Passing Grade on Your FAA Private Pilot Written Test

ASA’s Private Pilot Test Prep 2020
Give yourself a better chance at passing your Private Pilot written exam with this test prep book from ASA, which publishes a full series of “prep” books on all aspects of becoming licensed to fly.Amazon

Before anyone is ever issued their private Pilot Certificate, they must first overcome a common hurdle of passing the FAA Knowledge Exam. In ASA’s Private Pilot Test Prep 2020, pilot license candidates will review every question in the FAA exam database arranged by subject category, with a thorough explanation of the correct answer to each. Up-to-date basics on aerodynamics, engine operation, flight instruments, performance, radio navigation, and meteorology are covered so you can hit that magic number of “70 or higher” on your private pilot written exam.