Top 10 Books on Aircraft Pilots

 

Aircraft pilots, they are a different breed. They are daring yet motivated. From Amelia to Sully, the lives of many  aviators and pilots have been highlighted in a number of books.

 

Last Flight

The symbol for a new age woman, this is Amelia Earhart’s story of being the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air.  This is a compulsory entry on any list of books on aircraft pilots.

Read it For:
the interesting journey of how a woman rose off the ground in a world dominated by a group of men.
Don't Read it For:
If you have read other books by Amelia like The Fun of It and The Sound of Wings, then this book might feel like familiar territory, and you might get bored.
What makes this book stand out?:
Amelia Earhart still stands as one of the boldest inspiring figures of this century, especially for the feminist-oriented society of today.

The Spirit of St. Louis

Even before Amelia’s feat, Charles Lindbergh gained fame by being the first person to fly nonstop over the Atlantic. His semi-autobiographical account tells about his interesting journey in creating history.

Read it For:
The description of his training process and how he prepared in his magnificent flying machine, ‘The Spirit of St. Louis,’ making it one of the best books on aircraft pilots.
Don't Read it For:
The middle parts of the book where Lindy talks about fatigue and his desire to sleep while flying. This might be tiring for some readers
What makes this book stand out?:
It stands out as a tale of survival and how there might be hurdles on the way, but determination and effort can lead you to success.

Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness

An eccentric figure in American culture was Howard Hughes. Hughes was an ambitious film director, aviator, and developer of the Hercules plane. This is based on his anecdotes and incidents describing his ambitions and quirkiness with the people around him.

Read it For:
The character of Howard Hughes himself is a big reason to read this book. He was, as a critic wrote: “a man who had everything- and yet nothing.”
Don't Read it For:
It isn’t fully dedicated to aircraft as the starting portions talk about Hughes’s disorders and his business partners.
What makes this book stand out?:
Hughes’s story tells us that sometimes walking the other end of the line and taking risks can lead to success.

The Red Fighter Pilot

This is the story of a German pilot, Manfred von Richthofen, popularly known as ‘The Red Baron.’ The book talks about his experiences and dogfighting skills in the First World War which made him an Ace pilot with 80 hits.

Read it For:
The fast-paced narrative.
Don't Read it For:
Well, for some the red pilot was on the enemy side. The Axis Powers of which Germany was a part lost both the wars. Therefore, some readers might not find it interesting.
What makes this book stand out?:
Nearly all popular books on aircraft pilots especially from the early 20th century are about American or British figures and those who served in the Allied forces during the World Wars. This is an exception.
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Into the wild

The book ‘Into the wild’ is a true story of McCandless who went into the wilderness to explore his obsession and his limits and also died. His corpse was found out after 4 months, and it was totally emaciated. The book describes his story when and how he went in the wild.

Read it For:
The book has got very sensitive details, and it gives goosebumps to the reader.
Don't Read it For:
The book has got few disturbing moments, and few readers may not like it.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book tells about the obsession that few people have which even takes their lives. It is an epic piece and has been adapted as a film too.

Night Flight

This is the second novel written by writer and author Antoine De Saint-Exupery. It talks about early aviators who piloted night mail planes from South American countries when commercial aviation was just starting.

Read it For:
Glorifies the legacy of the unsung heroes of the skies.
Don't Read it For:
Language is a bit dated and not that engaging.
What makes this book stand out?:
one of the few books which talk about aircraft pilots from South America.

Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters

In January 2009, a crippled airplane could have crash landed if Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger did not take a last minute decision that saved every life on board. In the absence of a spot to land, Sully landed the plane right over the Hudson River. This act of courage got later dubbed as ‘The Miracle on Hudson.’

Read it For:
Sully’s story gives important life lessons that he gathered during his service in the military and the civil aviation.
Don't Read it For:
The parts preceding Flight 1549 are not that exciting.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book stands out as an inspiring testament to being brave in the face of adversity.

A Higher Call : An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

The true story of a 21-year-old pilot in control of a damaged American bomber facing a German ace controlling a Messerschmitt in the Second World War.

Read it For:
The intense description of the fight from both the officer’s perspectives.
Don't Read it For:
The story is intriguing but short and feels unnecessarily stretched in the whole book
What makes this book stand out?:
The suspenseful buildup to the main duel in the skies.

Yeager, an autobiography

Chuck Yeager is an impressive aviator with an impressive life. He was a hotshot pilot during World War 2 shooting down German Messerschmitt jets. However, his most remarkable feat was being the first person to fly at a speed faster than sound. This is his story…in his words.

Read it For:
Fills you up with adrenaline as you read about the casual yet insightful details of Yeager’s adventures all through his decorated flying career.
Don't Read it For:
Some local slangs and examples can be hard to digest for the non-American readers.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is one great autobiography in the post-modern period that mixes aspects of Yeager’s public and private life perfectly, making it a worthy mention on the list of top 10 books on aircraft pilots.

Operation Overlight: A memoir of the U-2 incident

A memoir from Gary Powers who created a sensation during the Cold War. Flying in a U2 spy plane over Soviet territory, his plane was shot down, and he was taken prisoner by the USSR for several years.

Read it For:
It is a great read for those who are interested in cover-ups and hidden truths relating to world governments.
Don't Read it For:
Some parts like the trial procedures get a bit too long in the book.
What makes this book stand out?:
The story is increasingly dramatic and cinematic even though the events mentioned are mostly real and accurate. No wonder it served as the inspiration for the film, Bridge of Spies. It is without a doubt, one of the best books on aircraft pilots.

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