Kershner vs. Jeppesen


Well-Known Member
Hey peoples, looking for opinions from anyone that has read a book by William Kershner. I talked with Mr.Kershner last week about our school and what books we use for training.

We currently use Jeppesen as the core for all our media related needs along with a few other sources to supplement them. In Mr.Kershner's words: "Jeppesen is eating my lunch!" He was kind enough to send a free copy of his Private Pilot Manual, Advanced Pilot Manual, Instrument Pilot Manual, and Flight Instructor Manual.

The Kershner books are about $30 cheaper than their Jepp counterparts. The Jepp is more colorful (probably because Kershner's are devoid of color) and the layout seems to be a bit easier to follow.

Presentation wise Jepp wins so I guess I'm looking for what people may think about the content of the books. Would it be worth our while to switch from Jepp?

Thanks for da help. giddy up!
"...The Jepp is more colorful (probably because Kershner's are devoid of color)..."

Yeah, that's probably it.

I like both books. Why don't you leave it up to the student? Both books are helpful, and flying is flying. IMHO.
We're supposed to use Jeppesen where I work, and all of the students do. However, the Jeppesen private pilot syllabus is rather strangely put together and somewhat disorganized. I've read Kershner's Flight Instructor Manual a couple of times, and am working on a new syllabus based loosely on that. Jepp is cool, but as an instructor, I like to look in Kershner's books for insight. My vote goes to him.
I think of Jeppessen as the Starbucks of flight training. Sure it look good and even shows up in an Austin Powers or two, but if you want real quality you'll go to the nice coffee shop down the street.

I'm a big fan of Kershner's books; that's awesome that you spoke to him; I'm sure he's a very interesting person to talk to.
Well, let me put it this way: A couple of months ago I purchased Kershner's IR book. I reasoned that it wasn't expensive, and that it might even be fun to read. When I got it, I read it straight through, slowly, and taking it all in. Now bear this strange fact in mind, please: I am still a primary student. I was planning to put off reading the book until after the PPL, but I got so engrossed, I ate it right up.

By comparison, the Jepp just seems to weigh a lot more.
Exactly! Jepp's like a lot of fluff with no stuff.

I like my flight training books like I like my women... easy to read and to the point.
I like Kershner's CFI manual, but I recently was shown some errors in the spin section. For example, he states to step on the ball in a spin. Most TC's are set up with a one degree slant to the right to compensate for being off centerline. (How it was explained to me) In a spin, the ball always goes to the left. I personally had serious doubts about this until I spun the aircraft to the left and the ball went left as well. You have to step on the high wing if practicing spin recovery under the hood (an interesting prospect). The 30 degree cant on the gyro keeps it from tumbling and it is a reliable instrument in a spin.

I was told that the reason it goes left is because the centrifugal force in the spin causes everyting to move outwards from the center of rotation. The center of rotation is somewhere in the middle of the airplane; if you had a TC on the right side of the plane that ball would be on the right.

That's also why the Cessna's engine will quit after 15 or so turns in the spin... fuel in both wings is forced towards the tips and away from the gravity feed lines to the engine.
It was my understanding that which way the ball goes in a spin is entirely dependent on where it is mounted. If it is on the left side of the AC then it will go to the left in a spin regardless of which way the aircraft is turning. If it is on the right then it will go to the right. If you had both pilot and co-pilot instruments, then the balls would both be to the outside. The only time the ball will indicate the direction of the spin is when it is located in the center of the instrument panel.
Kershner's Book has the diagram of where the ball will go in a spin. It all depends on where the ball is mounted. Left side of airplane? Left side of cockpit. Right side of airplane? Right side of cockpit. Centered? Centered ball. If he said "step on the ball" it is a typo and needs to be corrected, or in a different context such as a banked approach to a stall where the ball being centered is a good thing.

Stepping on the high wing is the default "stop the airplane from doing bad things."
Get yer grubby mitts of the yoke and step on the high wing.

In the clouds without instrument proficiency? Step on the high wing.
In a spin? Step on the high wing.
In a steep spiral? Step on the high wing.
Inverted and turning? Step on the high wing.
Don't know? Step on the high wing.

One bank/yaw is resolved, deal with pitch. If the flight bag is on the ceiling, chances are you are inverted. If you are staring at the ground, gently apply back pressure, more likely it'll be you applying serious forward pressure to keep it from pitching up too much.

I know of a few flight school's that have adopted Gene Hudson's book in addition to the Jeppesen text. Others have their students, "get it over with," and purchase Kershner's, Jepp's, Rod Machado's, Gleim's, and Collins'. There is value in all of the texts and most provide only minimal overlap. The repetition is good anyways.

If you are not going to write your own training course, and the students will purchase only one text, then Jeppesen or Cessna. If the student starts having difficulties with the materials, now is the time to add other texts. Even the FAA text has value.
I don't own any of the Kershner books, but I've borrowed a couple. I'd say that they as good as Jepps.

The Jepp is more colorful (probably because Kershner's are devoid of color)

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Well, I guess that's logical.
I think the FAA texts are really helpful. The Airplane Flying Handbook is quite an achievement. It's been around forever, hasn't needed much updating, is fairly complete on the basics, and is quite authoritative.

Added later:

I also enjoy ASA's series of books edited by Trevor Thom. Volume 2 (Instrument) if the best training/reference/refresher manual I have seen yet. Oh....and Machado's instrument book sucks!

Oh....and Machado's instrument book sucks!

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TOTALLY disagree; I think his book's chock full of great info and tips!
Oh....and Machado's instrument book sucks!


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Remember, that book is not supposed to be an IR primer.
Well, compared to his private manual, I was really disappointed in it. A correction: The ASA instrument manual is volume 3. I went through it again last night after posting...a really good book!
Rod just came out with volume 2 of his IFR Book. It's twice as big and has excellent sections on GPS operation and thunderstorms. Look for the copies that have the Avidyne display on the front, not the old white/blue cover.

That is the great thing about having so many books to chose from. One can hate one text, but be able to learn from another. The end result is the student learns what they need to before they are flying in the system.

One book is rarely mentioned, the "Air Force Instrument Flight Manual." They get rid of the 70/30 b.s. in holding patterns and just use 90/90/180. SIMPLE!!!!! One government outfit in the business of flying airplanes is using 90/90/180, why can't we? Unlike when I took my IFR ride, you can't get busted for using a different holding pattern entry than FAA standard, even on the CFII ride.

Jedi Nein
The ASA instrument manual is volume 3. I went through it again last night after posting...a really good book!

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I read through the ASA Instrument book and found it a bit too verbose.. for my liking.

I got more out of the FAA's Instrument Flying Handbook than I did the ASA book.

That being said - I do like how the ASA books are set up with the quizes at the end of each chapter. I would still recommend them.