Posts: 494
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 9:44 pm

Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 3:14 am

Can somebody recommend good aviation books?

I just read "Emergency" by Stanley Stewart. I really enjoyed it. Would be glad to get some recommendations.


Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2000 10:02 am

RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 3:39 am

Three of my all time favorites:

Frequent Flyer, by Bob Reiss. In 1992, the author was given the privilege to ride the jumpseat of a Delta L-1011 for 72 hours straight. The book delves into the many facets behind how a major airline is run and gives great insights on what it's like to fly in the L-1011. You will definitely learn a lot from this book and it's a very interesting read.

Thunder Down the Runway, by Robert S. Ames. This author was an American Airlines Captain who retired in June, 1989 with a seniority number of 1 for the DFW base and number 2 systemwide. This book traces his entire flying career from his first solo, to his WWII experiences, to his career at American Airlines. Through his eyes, we witness the evolution of the airline pilot from the early 50's to the late '80s. Ames pulls no punches and you'll appreciate his honesty.

Freefall, by William and Marilyn Hoffer (I think that's their names). This is the true story of the Air Canada 767 that experienced a fuel starvation situation over Winnipeg in July of 1983. This novel was well researched and comprehensive.

All of these books will remain on my shelf forever. Any airline enthusiast will enjoy all three of them immensely.
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RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 3:44 am

I've recommended it before, and will do so again.

Beyond the Blue Horizion by Alexander Frater.

The author recreates the routes of the old Imperial Airways flying boat services, but on modern airliners. It reads like one, big "trip report" with plenty of interesting insights into what has now become of the old Imperial Airways aerodromes/landing sites and the cities or communities they served.

Difficult to find, try the online second-hand bookshops.

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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:18 pm

RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 4:23 am

"The Max Ward Story" by Max Ward
An autobiography of a Canadian bush pilot who started out flying in Yukon with a DeHavilland Beaver, and grew his airline to become Canada's third biggest airline. Like all sizeable Canadian airlines apart from AC, it was gobbled up by competitors (Canadian in this case)

"Freefall" by no-idea-who
Book about the Gimli Glider - an Air Canada 767 that made an emergency landing due to running out of fuel (not the Air Transat A330 or the Sky Service A330  Laugh out loud It seems Canadian pilots & fuel don't mix  Big grin ) Cause was a miscalculation when changing from Imperial to metric units.

"Airframe" by Michael Crighton
One of the few books that focusses on a (fictional) aircraft manufacturer. Very thrilling, though of course it includes the typical Crighton drawbacks: poor writing and lots of faceless goons thrown in, i.e. a typical thriller novel.

"Pandora's Clock" by John J Nance
This author's only half decent novel, very thrilling and enjoyable. Better than anything else he wrote. It's about a plane carrying an airborne, fatal, Outbreak-alike virus.


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RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 4:46 am

For fiction, ANYTHING by John J Nance.
Posts: 494
Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 9:44 pm

RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 7:46 pm

Thanks for the response.

I appreciate it.
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 12:13 pm

RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 8:13 pm

"Fighter Test Pilot" by Roland Beamont.
"I told you I was ill ..." Spike Milligan
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Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2002 11:42 pm

RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 8:22 pm

I agree,
"Airframe" by Michael Crighton (author of Jurassic Park) is pretty good

If you are looking for books with a liberal dose of humor thrown in take a look at

- Confessions of an Airline Pilot by Clyde E. Roach

- Cockpit Confessions of an Airline Pilot by Stephen Gary Keshner

- Plane Insanity by Elliott Hester

- Around the World in a Bad Mood: Confessions of a Flight Attendant by Rene Foss

This last one is really funny.

I purchased all the above books from Amazon, though some might take 2/3 weeks as they are "on order" books

Happy Reading..  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self- centered: Forgive them anyway - Mother Theresa
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RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 8:31 pm

No-one mentioned Fate is the Hunter by Ernest Gann yet...?
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2002 12:18 pm

RE: Good Aviation Books

Fri Aug 29, 2003 8:42 pm

Dorrs to Manual

I agre with you about "Beyond the Blue Horizon". I picked it up something like 15 years ago from a second bookhand shop, but boy what a find! A real GEM!
(You should also read Alexanders Frater's "Chasing the Monsoon" as well- not much to do with aviation but does describe if I remember two flights including a hair raising one on the old "Vayudoot " from Calcutta to Shillong- but even otherwise it is another fantastic piece of writing)

Marilyn Hoffers Free Fall is also a good read.

I also found

"Pan Am 103: The Bombings, the Betrayals, and a Bereaved Family's Search for Justice by Susan Cohen, Daniel Cohen"

a very interesting as well as a touching work. Written by parents of a teenage victom of the crash, I read it only a couple of months back and found it very useful in understanding the recent developments onm the issue (Libya's admission of guilt).

Also another fascinating book has been
"Jeremy's Airport" by Jeremy Spake, the aeroflot customer service rep at LHR, who was featured in the BBC seral. The book is brought out by the BBC and is a real page turner!

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Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:33 am

RE: Good Aviation Books

Sat Aug 30, 2003 4:16 am

Some of the best aviation books that I have read are:

Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de St. Exupery
Slide Rule by Nevil Shute
A Gift Of Wings by Richard Bach
Great Flying Stories - various authors

World War II:
VCs of the Air by John Frayn Turner
Fight for the Air by Jonh Frayn Turner
Von Richthofen - the Legend Evaluated by Richard Townshend Bickers

On Airlines / airline business:
Skygods by Robert Gandt (Pan Am story)
Fasten your seat belt by Valerie Lester (Stories and experiences of Pan Am cabin crew)
Nuts! by Kevin and Jackie Freiburg (on Southwest)
From Worst to First by Gordon Bethune (the Continental turn-around story)

Air Accident books:
Air Disaster Volumes 1 - 4 by Macarthur Job
Disaster in the Air by Andrew Brookes
Flights into Disaster by Andrew Brookes
Emergency - Crisis on the Flight Deck by Stanley Stewart
The Naked Pilot by David Beaty
Ghost of Flight 401 by John G. Fuller

More novels with an aviation slant:
One - Richard Bach
Illusions - Richard Bach
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull - Richard Bach
The Bridge Across Forever - Richard Bach
Nothing by Chance - Richard Bach
Airport - Arthur Hailey


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