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This page includes links to aviation-related books, teaching and learning resources, online courses, and other information that I recommend to students, pilots, instructors, and virtual aviators (Flight Simulator hobbyists). The resources include:
Unless otherwise noted, items on this page are freely downloadable from the Web.
You may also find resources in PowerPoint or Microsoft Word format. You can download free viewers for Microsoft Office applications (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio) from the Microsoft Office website. The file viewers let you open and review documents (but you can’t edit the files) even if you don’t have an Office application installed in your computer.
The FAA offers many complete, public-domain training handbooks for free download in Adobe Reader (.pdf) format. These books are the official references for many pilot certificates and ratings, and they’re comprehensive, practical guides to the core knowledge every pilot should possess.
The FAA has been revamping its Web pages, and sometimes it takes a bit of pointing-and-clicking to find specific titles. New titles are added periodically, so check back occasionally to see what’s been put on the virtual bookshelf.
Other good places to find these handbooks on the FAA website include:
Here's a list of FAA titles that you may find especially useful. If you prefer real books, ASA offers reprints, including eBook versions, of many titles.
The Aeronautical Information Manual and many other references of interest to pilots are available free online in both .html and .pdf format at the FAA’s Air Traffic Publications website. Publications available include:
I frequently use Air Safety Institute materials as teaching aids, homework for students, and review materials for pilots getting back up to speed. To see a complete list of current publications offered by Air Safety Institute, visit the Publications page.
AOPA has organized many of its valuable articles from AOPA Pilot and other sources in the AOPA Pilot Information Center, available only to AOPA members. The Pilot Information Center provides links to details about such subjects as aircraft ownership, flight planning, learning to fly, medical certification, and international flying.
The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System publishes a monthly newsletter Callback. The newsletter (available in both HTML and PDF formats) features incidents reported by pilots, air traffic controllers, and others involved in the aviation system. Each issue is well worth reading.
You can subscribe (free) and get an email summary of each month's issue.
The Web offers an ever-increasing array of services to help pilots collect and understand information about the weather and to assist with flight planning. Many sites in the following list offer free products; others provide tools via subscription or purchase.
Of course, you should always use official sources, such as an FSS or DUATS, to get a complete briefing before you fly.
The following links take you to sites that offer a variety of information about airports, navigation aids, and regulations. Some sites also offer online charts and airport diagrams.
Other handy free sources of airport and navigation data include:
The guide (now in its 10th edition) covers VFR and IFR charts, including:
ASA publishes a reprint edition (ASA-CUG-11) of the guide.
If you prefer Jeppesen charts, you can learn all about them by downloading the free Chart Clinic Reprints available on the Jeppesen website. Jeppesen produced the Chart Clinics series that appeared in AOPA Pilot magazine from 1998 through 2001. Each two-page installment in the series includes a wealth of information about Jeppesen departure, en route, arrival, approach charts, plus detailed explanations of IFR procedures and terminology. These guides are available for free download in .pdf format from the Online Publications section of the Jeppesen website. Unfortunately, the Chart Clinic articles are organized by date of original publication, not by topic; but the following table points you to specific articles.
|Jeppesen Chart Clinic Topics||Date of Publication|
|Reporting points, navigation aids, intersections, etc.||April 1998|
|Airways, en route altitudes, etc.||September 1998|
|Plotting airway and direct routes||November 1998|
|More about minimum altitudes||December 1998|
|Airway symbology||January 1999|
|Understanding the title/index section of approach charts||February 1999|
|The Briefing Strip||March 1999|
|More about communications||March 1999|
|The plan view||June 1999|
|The segments of an approach||July, August, September 1999|
|The profile view||October 1999|
|Non-precision approaches||November, December 1999|
|Minimums||January, February 2000|
|More on minimums and missed approaches||March 2000|
|Airport diagrams||May 2000|
|Departure procedures||June 2000|
|Arrival procedures||July 2000|
Note that some symbols and terminology used on Jeppesen charts—especially those related to GPS navigation and approaches—have changed since the Chart Clinic series was published. For the latest information, refer to current Jeppesen legends and glossaries or to the Jeppesen edition of the Instrument Procedures Guide (JS312407).
Most manufacturers of GPS units and other avionics offer user manuals, PC-based simulators, training syllabi, and other resources via their websites. You needn’t be an owner of the equipment to download the information and resources. See, for example:
The Air Safety Institute offers many free interactive online courses and other resources about VFR and IFR operations with GPS; for example:
Many pilots are confused about the Flight Review that is mandated every 24 calendar months. The basics of the rule (FAR 61.56) require most pilots to log one hour of ground instruction and one hour of flight instruction from a flight instructor, who must also specifically endorse the pilot's logbook to certify completion of the Flight Review.
I also recommend the ASF Pilot’s Guide to Getting Back into Flying; it’s also free on the Web.
You can find many more excellent, free resources related to the flight review at www.FAASafety.gov. The Pilot Proficiency Program, also known as Wings, is an alternative way to meet the Flight Review requirement.
The following links take you to many resources that answer common questions about learning to fly and provide links to flight schools and additional information. Plotting Your Course, a free PDF brochure from ASA, answers many common questions.
Dale R. Wilson, Professor and Chair of the Aviation Department at Central Washington University, has published several papers and articles on such topics as night flying and VFR flight continued into IMC. You can find links to his publications on his faculty page on the CWU website.
The Light Sport Aircraft Manufacturers Association is another good source of information, including lists of aircraft that qualify under the LSA regulations.
ByDanJohnson.com contains up-to-date pilot reports and news related to Light Sport Aircraft, including lists of and links to LSA manufacturers.
To learn more about aerodynamics and related topics, check out NASA’s Aerodynamics Index. The site is aimed at teachers, but it’s trove of useful information for CFIs, students, and pilots.
If you’re a teacher or volunteer interested in teaching kids about aviation, start with the following links.
To learn more about general aviation (i.e., all flying except that conducted by the military and scheduled airlines), visit AOPA’s Communications Resources website. It includes information about all types of general aviation activities, GA security, airports, and the air transportation system.