Books for Aviators

These are books that have caught my attention. I have read most of them, but some are still on my reading list.

   Fate is the Hunter By Ernest K. Gann

This is a fascinating autobiography of one pilot who lived through the most fascinating times of aviation.  Gann became the premier aviation writer of the 20th century.  This is one of those books that once you start reading, you cannot put down until finished.

   I Could Never Be So Lucky Again By General James H. Doolittle

History will best remember General James H. Doolittle for his daring raid into Tokyo against the Japanese on April 18, 1942.  Doolittle was so much more than the man who led the first strike against the Japanese homeland.  This captivating book starts with his boyhood in Alaska.

   Forever Flying By Bob Hoover

Bob Hoover is regarded as one of the best pilots in the entire United States.  He has spent much of his life performing air shows domestically and internationally.  His time in aviation spanned from the era of the barnstormers well into the jet age.

  Wind, Sand and Stars By Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This book is regarded as one of the classics in aviation literature.  Saint-Exupery captures everything wonderful, dangerous, and beautiful about flying over the deserts of North Africa.  The author would later go on to write The Little Prince, one of the bestselling books ever produced.

   Flight of Passage: A Memoir By Rinker Buck

Rinker Buck and his older brother Kernahan became the youngest pilots to fly across the country in the summer of 1966.  They flew from New Jersey to California when they were only 15 and 18 respectively.  Compiled from Rinker’s memoirs, this book is a must read for all young pilots.

  Flying the Alaska Wild: The Adventures and Misadventures of an Alaska Bush Pilot By Mort D. Mason

This book is a fascinating collection of stories about the life of an Alaskan bush pilot.  Mort Mason is a skilled storyteller who recounts stories of other Alaskan bush pilots as well as his own.  This is a great primer for anyone who is thinking of becoming a bush pilot in Alaska.

   Fighting the Flying Circus By Eddie Rickenbacker

This is a republished classic written by famed aviator Eddie Rickenbacker.  During World War I, Rickenbacker was one of the leading aces with 26 confirmed kills.  After the war he became involved in the creation and leadership of America’s flagship airline, Eastern Airlines.

   Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942
By Daniel Ford

This is an historical account of the American Volunteer Group that formed in support of China at the beginning of the war to fight the Japanese.  The volunteers flew for a salary of $600 a month with a bonus of $500 for every Japanese plane they brought down.

   Howard Hughes And His Flying Boat By Charles Barton

This is the story of Howard Hughes, the aviator, inventor, engineer, and designer of the world’s largest flying amphibious aircraft.  In a life which spanned the period from 1905 to 1976, Hughes created wealth beyond most Americans capabilities to dream.

   Your Signal is Charley By Ron Rypel

Harry Ferguson flew A-4 Skyhawks during his service in the Navy.  During the Vietnam War, Ferguson flew from the deck of the carrier, USS Kitty Hawk.  He flew day and night combat missions over North Vietnam and dealt with the restrictions placed on combatants by politicians.

   Teenage Aviation Stories By Don Samson

This is a very unique and hard to find book about teenagers and flying.  Published by kessinger publishing, it serves as an inspiration to young people who are considering flying for themselves or later as in a career.

   Flight Patterns: A Century of Stories about Flying By James Salter

Over the past century, aviation was developed from vehicles barely able to climb into the lowest reaches of this sky to jumbo jetliners carrying hundreds of people near the speed of sound.  This is a collection of writing that ranges from the time of the Wrights into the space age.

   Moondog’s Academy of the Air and Other Disasters By Peter Fusco

Peter Fusco’s account of his flying career is unbelievably funny.  During the early days of his career, he goes from one bad situation to the next, helped along by the Gods of Aviation Misfortune, as he describes them.  Oh yes, and the gods had the help of an ex-biker named Moondog.

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