The best books about flying, flight training, and working as a pilot

Vesa Turpeinen Author Of Learn to Fly and Become a Pilot!
By Vesa Turpeinen

Who am I?

I have been involved in aviation all my adult life as a pilot and a flight instructor. I am also an avid reader, and I like to read books written by my fellow aviators. I find books written by pilots exciting because of the similar experiences we all share in the industry. All the books that I recommend are very accessible for any reader without previous aviation knowledge; in fact, I think you will find these books even more fascinating as they will open your eyes to the wonderful world of aviation!

I wrote...

Learn to Fly and Become a Pilot!

By Vesa Turpeinen,

Book cover of Learn to Fly and Become a Pilot!

What is my book about?

Learn to Fly and Become a Pilot! introduces readers to a non-fiction aviation series, The Pilot Career Series, by Vesa Turpeinen, packed with information and guidance for readers with the dream of flying. The author, an experienced pilot and a pilot instructor for a reputable institution gives readers the guidance they need to discern and make choices when it comes to taking lessons in flying, choosing the right flight school, and becoming a professional pilot.

In this book, readers learn about the adventure of flying, from small piston airplanes to large passenger transport aircraft, and the wonderful benefits of being a pilot. Whether the reader wants this information for themselves, their child, or a loved one, this book has a lot to offer.

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The books I picked & why

Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters

By Chesley B. Sullenberger, Jeffrey Zaslow,

Book cover of Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters

Why did I love this book?

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is one of the most well-known aviators in recent history. He was made famous by an extremely dangerous situation that he handled exceptionally well. This book is not just about the “Miracle on Hudson” incident; this is a biography about Captain Sully, how he became a pilot, and how decades of flying prepared him for this one single moment. It’s an inspirational book for anyone to read.

By Chesley B. Sullenberger, Jeffrey Zaslow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Highest Duty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed one of the most remarkable emergency landings in aviation history when Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger skillfully glided US Airways Flight 1549 onto the surface of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. His cool actions not only averted tragedy but made him a hero and an inspiration worldwide. To Sullenberger, a calm, steady pilot with forty years of flying experience who is also a safety consulting expert, the landing was not a miracle but rather the result of years of practice and training-wisdom he gained in the cockpit of U.S.…

Book cover of CFI! the Book: A Satirical Aviation Comedy

Why did I love this book?

CFI is short for a Certified Flight Instructor. As a former flight instructor and a chief flight instructor of a major flight school, I found this book very comical to read; just be aware, it’s a comedy and not to be taken seriously! This book is written by a former flight instructor who shares his stories that many flight instructors can relate to; being underpaid, flying with challenging students, and dealing with bad weather. While it is loosely based on actual events, read it for entertainment, not for factual information about flight training! 

By Alex Stone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked CFI! the Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An underpaid, overworked Certified Flight Instructor cheats death while attempting to teach a cast of incompetent student pilots to fly at a skeezy South Florida flight school; all in the quest to build flight time so he can get a “real job” at an airline. The planes break, the regs break, metal gets bent, students are lost at sea, and a Top Gun wannabe student, who has four hundred hours of flight instruction, still hasn’t made his first solo flight. “CFI! The Book” is an over-the-top satirical aviation comedy that’s loosely based on real world experiences of flight instruction, but…

Book cover of Ferry Pilot: Nine Lives Over the North Atlantic

Why did I love this book?

Most people associate pilot jobs with working for airlines and wearing a uniform. Many people think about flying as similar to driving busses while, in fact, it’s far from it. Working as a ferry pilot can be one of the most exciting jobs on the planet! Ferry pilots get to fly countless different types of airplanes worldwide and face adventures like no one else. This book may not introduce you to the best decision-making by pilots, but it indeed introduces you to a different type of flying.

By Kerry McCauley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ferry Pilot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What could possibly go wrong? A LOT, if you spend 30 years flying small airplanes over the North Atlantic!

Join Kerry McCauley in the cockpit as he battles a fuel system malfunction over the Atlantic, a total electrical failure at night over the Sahara, being struck by lightning off the coast of Portugal and losing his engine in a thunderstorm. As an international ferry pilot Kerry’s almost insatiable, reckless quest for danger and adventure also led Kerry to put international smuggler and bank robber on his resume. Kerry’s skill, ingenuity and a heavy dose of luck were what allowed him…

The Learjet Diaries

By Greg Madonna,

Book cover of The Learjet Diaries

Why did I love this book?

The Learjet Diaries is a book that I can relate to very well, and I could see myself writing a similar book. While I have never flown Learjets, I fly corporate airplanes built by the same manufacturer, and I have had similar experiences flying jets around the world. The author describes the transition from flying small piston planes to flying fast jet aircraft very nicely. Anyone interested in flying and private jets is sure to enjoy this exciting story of a coming of age. 

By Greg Madonna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Learjet Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Learjet Diaries is a fictional pilot memoir of young ambitious pilot who starts his career as a Learjet charter pilot flying around the Caribbean and South America in the early 1980s. It is a well-written and compelling aviation adventure with each paragraph sizzling with tension and authenticity. The author places you right in the cockpit as he learns the strengths and sensitivities of one of the world’s most demanding business jets. As a reader you feel the control stick in your hand of one of the world’s fastest business jets as you experience the chilling adventures of a Learjet…

Book cover of Memories from My Logbook: A Bush Pilot's Story

Why did I love this book?

I have been to Alaska many times as Anchorage is one of the main fuel stops flying from Asia to the United States. It’s always fascinating to see so many small airplanes filling the skies there. It’s also fascinating to see so many planes on floats; those are the planes that can land in the lakes and rivers in remote areas. So I found this collection of stories an exciting introduction to bush flying in the Alaskan wilderness.

By Lynn Wyatt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memories from My Logbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Flying in the Alaskan wilderness is an entirely different skill set than the way most pilots are trained; flying to and from remote gravel bars on wheels, streams and lakes on floats, and ski operations in deep snow and horrific weather. Many times I thought I would not make it, flying overloaded airplanes with the doors removed, external loads strapped to the floats, no navigational aids and totally alone in a vast wilderness with only my skills and determination to get me home.

After logging 4,000 flight hours, and flying sometimes 16 hours a day, I actually became as one…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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