View Full Version : you favourite aviation books

10th Jan 2014, 18:14
I tend to read accident investigation or human factors material in the cruise and was thinking that apart from the FCOMs, obviously, what would be your top 3 aviation related books?

Fate is the hunter-Ernest K Gann
Round the bend-Neville Shute
Wind Sand and Stars-Antione de Saint Exupery

10th Jan 2014, 19:06
Severe Weather Flying by Dennis Newton
(He was paid to fly into thunderstorms in a specially armoured Beechcraft in a research project. Best Weather flying book ever.)

The other "standard" book shelf tome for pilots is:

Handling the Big Jets (Note: NOT "flying the big jets") by D. P. Davies
(A UK test pilot in the most interesting years of Jet type introduction.)

I also have the complete series of accident books: Air Disaster and Air Crash by Macarthur Job

tony draper
10th Jan 2014, 19:15
F4 PHANTOM, Robert Prest.
Pablo's War by Pablo Mason?

10th Jan 2014, 20:11
Wings on My Sleeve .....Eric "Winkle" Brown

Sigh for a Merlin .....Alex Henshaw

Fate is the Hunter.... Ernest Gann

10th Jan 2014, 20:23
MAGNUM! THE WILD WEASELS IN DESERT STORM: The Elimination of Iraq's Air Defence: Brick Eisel, James A Schreiner: 9781844159079: Amazon.com: Books


Beaufighters in the Night: 417 Night Fighter Squadron USAAF: Brick Eisel: 9781844154838: Amazon.com: Books


10th Jan 2014, 20:23
Beyond the Blue Horizon by Alexander Frater.

Behind the Cockpit Door by Athur Whitlock

Bomber by len Deighton.

oh and in a few years time, when I have finally finished it.....

"Should Never 'ave Given Em' Shoes" by Y.T.

Lon More
10th Jan 2014, 21:14
On Amazon

Behind the Cockpit Door [Paperback]
Arthur Whitlock (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.

3 used from 557.85
ffs, is it signed by JC?

C130 Techie
10th Jan 2014, 21:16
Aviation history for me:

Sagittarius Rising - Cecil Lewis

First Light - Geoffrey Wellum

Tail End Charlies - John Nichol and Tony Rennell

10th Jan 2014, 21:21
Jumbobelle's 3 (post 1) and 'Sagittarius Rising' for me too.
Plus 'Southern Mail' and 'Night Flight', also by St-Ex

I've actually used stuff in "Fate is the Hunter' to save my life whilst airborne!

10th Jan 2014, 21:30
Lots of good books already mentioned. The one I read more than once is "Flight of Passage" from R. Buck.
Story is about two boys flying a rebuilt Piper Cub across the USA in the late 60's.

11th Jan 2014, 03:22
Not exactly favourites but both have been re-read several times in an earlier lifetime.

1) Impact Erebus by Gordon Vette
2) Verdict on Erebus by Peter Mahon
3) On Being a Bird by Philip Wills was both enjoyable and influential.

Don't read anything much these days ... Apart for PPRuNe - most of what I want to know is here :(

(Suitably filtered of course) :ok:

11th Jan 2014, 03:36
Buy them. Both the authors are friends and can use the money, plus I made a modest contribution the second volume. :p



A A Gruntpuddock
11th Jan 2014, 03:51
I'll second 'Round the bend-Neville Shute'.

Read it several times and will probably read it again.

'Shute's autobiography 'Slide Rule' is also worth a read, if only because it highlights the abysmal performance of the public sector in airship design.

11th Jan 2014, 03:58
This book is an insight into the dedication and enthusiasm that graces all aviators at one time or another in their passage through the skies.


11th Jan 2014, 10:54
Try Charles Lindbergh's 'The Spirit of St Louis', an account of his solo 1927 New York to Paris flight. CL himself was a controversial character, perhaps because his judgement became distorted by media adulation and intrusion. But 'Spirit' won a Pulitzer in 1954. I read the book at the age of 19 and it literally changed my life. I decided that by some means or other I had to learn to fly and was fortunate enough to end up making a living out of it.

11th Jan 2014, 11:57
My three:

'West With the Night' by Beryl Markham (Her account of her pioneering first-ever solo East - West Atlantic crossing, in September 1936.)

'Handling the Big Jets' by David Davies (Recommended to me by his Welsh nephew, a colleague of mine who knew of my addiction to aviation.)

'Slide Rule' by Nevil Shute Norway (Well, I have been an engineer, too ... )

11th Jan 2014, 12:05
Stick and Rudder by Wofgang Langewiesche.

11th Jan 2014, 13:04
Bush pilot with a briefcase by
Ronald A. Keith.

Seems to be available on Amazon from $0.01 to $100.35

11th Jan 2014, 16:23

I inherited Volumes 2 to 7 from me Dad.

11th Jan 2014, 16:46
I re-discovered this in the loft recently. I remember being enthralled by the story and the cover artwork when I were a sprog.


11th Jan 2014, 22:40
All the Tom Swift and Tom Swift Junior books I found while rummaging through my grandparent's attic when I was six.
Roald Dahl's "The Gremlins", "Over To You" and "Switch Bitch" (Discovered a couple of years later and enjoyed with flashlights under the covers after my parents had deemed it time for lights out.)
"West With the Night" (Markham) Discovered serendipitously in a shop specializing in books with front covers removed while I was a broke student.

11th Jan 2014, 22:52
I also have 'West with the night', and have made 'Slide Rule' required reading for any student of mine considering a career in Engineering for his coverage of how the Government f#cks up.

A A Gruntpuddock
11th Jan 2014, 23:13
Another good Neville Shute is 'No Highway'.

Predicts the failure of a new passenger aircraft due to metal fatigue, and this was before the Comet!

But mostly it emphasises the importance of the human elements in the design process.

One of my favourite bits is where he explains why a great engineer has to be a right bastard to prevent all his subordinates from diluting his vision with their own ideas.

12th Jan 2014, 04:30
Wing Leader by Johnnie Johnson.

Flight into Hell, Hans Bertram.

And another of course - being aussie - about 'Smithy', which sad to say I can't remember the title.

12th Jan 2014, 08:28
Of course 'Fate is the Hunter'....someone else mentioned 'Beyond the Blue Horizon'....fabulous book!!

Beyond the Blue Horizon: On the Track of Imperial Airways by Alexander Frater ? Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/509935.Beyond_the_Blue_Horizon)


12th Jan 2014, 10:43
And 'The Sky Beyond' by Gordon Taylor.

12th Jan 2014, 10:56
Winged Victory by V M Yeates

A Willingmess to Die by Brian Kingcome

Both classics of their respective wars.

Fly for your Life by Larry Forrester about Bob Tuck, highly commended

12th Jan 2014, 11:15
"Fly for your Life by Larry Forrester "

Make sure it's the original rather than the abridged version... Great book.

I'd recommend "Throw Out Two Hands" by Anthony Smith, which is about the 1962 hydrogen balloon safari he led in East Africa. Beautifully written, it captures the perils, delights and humour of lighter than air flight in a geographical and meteorological environment which frequently proved rather hostile!

Super VC-10
12th Jan 2014, 11:18
Fire over Heathrow by Susan Ottaway
All four engines have failed by Betty Tootell
Flying beats work by Stan Cohen

12th Jan 2014, 11:32
Delta Papa by derek piggot. From training in troop carying gliders to stunt flying in films to 20,000ft plus in a glider without oxygen.

Lon More
12th Jan 2014, 11:34

a PPRuNer I believe

12th Jan 2014, 13:08
The previous posts have covered it well: Neville Shute, Davies, Gann are all favourites. And I have read and re-read them many times.

In recent years, I have enjoyed Tony Blackman's books. They have an enthralling technical content, each of which would keep Tech Log busy for weeks. 'Now you see it' was the first of his that I read, and I kept on going until I had read all the others. 'The Right Choice' is a particular favourite.

12th Jan 2014, 14:12
Any Biggles book

Biggles Flies East. A classic!

Lon More
12th Jan 2014, 16:55
Any Biggles book
Maybe not this one.


Been Accounting
12th Jan 2014, 17:15
Frederick Forsyth The Shepherd (http://books.google.fr/books?id=Dx76uBdEJhsC&lpg=PA2&ots=xIfdn-uV1A&dq=len%20deighton%20the%20shepherd&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q=len%20deighton%20the%20shepherd&f=false)

Jimmy Macintosh
12th Jan 2014, 18:49
Low level hell, Hugh Mills


Snake Pilot, Randy someone...

Both great reads.

Oh and a second for First Light by Geoffrey Wellum.

12th Jan 2014, 19:05
Been Accounting- Was about to post the same title, but.. Frederick Forsyth, FGS!.. Present from a colleague of my father when I was a very wee lad... 7 or 8? Loved it, and still have the book someplace :ok:

12th Jan 2014, 20:46
"Terror in the Starboard Seat!"

12th Jan 2014, 20:58
No mention of:

Chickenhawk by Robert Mason.

Also the sequel: Chickenhawk-Back in the real world.

13th Jan 2014, 05:39
Swamp Cartoons: Life Raft Comic (http://www.swamp.com.au/cartoons.php)

Oh, book!

I own a fair few oldish Australian aviation books, but I found this one to be quite profound.

Atlantas: A flight into hell, Barbara Winter, 1979, Angus & Robertson.

13th Jan 2014, 23:47
Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson
The Big Show by Pierre Clostermann

Buster Hyman
14th Jan 2014, 00:28


14th Jan 2014, 20:37
A Designer's Life: The Journey to Mach 2. By Ted Talbot.
Very witty and a credit to all involved with the Concorde project.

Posted from Pprune.org App for Android

14th Jan 2014, 22:37
No Parachute (A Gould lee)
The Left Seat (Can't recall the author)
Baa Baa Black Sheep (about Boyington)
Bridges of Toko Ri (Mitchener?)
Biggles (any of them)
Helicopter Aerodynamics (Igor's thin but superb volume)

14th Jan 2014, 23:29
The Big Show by Pierre ClostermannI read the book and quite enjoyed it. However, I met a man (an Australian) some years after I read it who flew in Clostermann's squadron after the Normandy landings and he did not have one good word to say about the man. I'd go so far as to say he hated the man with some considerable passion. From what he said, flying as Clostermann's wingman was not considered a long term proposition.

16th Jan 2014, 02:19
Indeed, or having Clostermann as your wingman was probably even worse. My dad had a first edition of it, and I first read it as an 11 yr old. It's still a ripping yarn, but I do recall my Dad saying it should have been titled "The Big Show-Off". I think Screwball Buerling was a similar character in this regard....

16th Jan 2014, 03:13
The word on the street many years ago was that Closterman's book was a load of b******s.

16th Jan 2014, 05:29
Many of my favorites listed above!

Here's More:

Wager With The Wind, The Don Sheldon story. By Greiner, James. Alaska bush flying classic!

I Could never be so lucky again. Doolittle, James with Carroll, V. Autobiographical account of an amazing career.

Forever Flying. Hoover, R.A. Another autobiographical account of an amazing aviation career.

I agree with Gordy regarding Chickenhawk by Mason. A classic great read ! Rotorheads should especially appreciate this book. Basically it's an account of Robert Mason's wartime experience flying Hueys in "the 'nam" beginning with Warrant Officer Candidate school and ending with the completion of his tour in the war. My favorite and most memorable line from the book: "I never would have believed that the Army would actually teach you how to fly helicopters using the very same teaching methods that they use to teach you how to march and to shoot. They do..."

I've enjoyed some other lesser air war accounts such as Phantom over Viet Nam by John Trotti and Pak six by G.I. Basil too.