I was wondering if anyone could recommend books for aspiring pilots (like myself) to read. I understand that there is no substitute for actual experience, but I like to add to it with reading. Thanks in advance!
If you're looking for something other than technical reading...
Fate Is The Hunter, by Ernest Gann is one of the best books I've ever read. He recounts his life and experiences as an airline pilot back in the days when airlines were first starting...flying DC-2's, DC-3's, etc. I would give ANYTHING to have been flying back then! Those were the good 'ol days!
For learning how to fly-- "Stick and Rudder" by Wolfgang Langewiesche; "Airplane Flyihg Handbook" FAA manual FAA-H-8083-3
For cool flighter-pilot stories-- "To Fly and Fight" by Col. Bud Anderson (P-51 ace); "Baa-Baa Black Sheep" by Pappy Boyington (Black Sheep Sqdn., F4-U Ace); "Bogeys and Bandits:The Making of a Fighter Pilot" by Robert Gandt (F-18 pilots)
If you have just started or are about to start flying, I recommend the Airplane Flying Handbook and the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, both FAA Publications. If you can get an old copy of the Flight Training Handbook (it was replaced by the Airplane Flying Handbook) it is worth looking for.
If you like color pictures, the Jeppesen Private Pilot text book is pretty good, but rather costly. I bought it and read it before starting ground school for private and it was nice having already read most of it beforehand.
"Slipping the Surly Bonds" is a great book of flying quotations as is "The Air Up There" by the same author, Dave English. "Fate is the Hunter" is actually a personal narrative and not a work of fiction . . . I believe. It is a great book!
I think that the Jeppesen Private Pilot book is worth the cost. You can usually find one used. Their private pilot maneuvers book is pretty good too. I bought the kit that includes the flight computer, flight bag etc. when I got started. I'm actually selling it on Ebay right now... hint hint.
I'll third or fourth the Fate is the Hunter recommendation. I'm trying to read one of his other books entitled "Weather Flying", but it's not quite as compelling. Pretty interesting though. North Star Over My Shoulder is a good one too. I sound like a commercial for eBay, but try half.com and amazon.com for used copies and overstocks!
"Hard Landing" by Thomas Petzinger should be required reading for anyone interested in getting into this wacky industry. I'ts more about the business side of the big airlines between post dereg. and 96ish than versus dreamy flying stories. Crandall of American wore a bullet proof vest to work!!! It's fascinating.