Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
By Cowshed
#1736414
Another vote for “Think Like a Bird” – probably my favorite flying book.

I also really enjoyed “North Star over my Shoulder”.

One that I can't see on any lists so far is “Behind the Cockpit Door” by Arthur Whitlock. It describes his career in commercial flying from shortly after WW2 to the late 1980s, starting on C47s and finishing on Tristars. One of the ways he supplemented his income was to draw cartoons (for Eagle comic, if I recall correctly) and the book is peppered with fantastic cartoons about his experiences. I think it is out of print, but copies come up on ebay and Abebooks regularly.

A new book, published this year, is “20 West” by Steve Ford. It initially describes his life as a child with a father who was a flight engineer and the influences on him. Then the author trains as a ground engineer before deciding he wanted to retrain as a pilot. He has a precarious career for several airlines, a period working for a manufacturer and then ends up with a UK major.

For online book purchases I often use hive.co.uk. If they don’t have it in stock they usually get it in quite quickly (I think they are a ‘front end’ for one of the book distributors) and they can be cheaper than other well-known online sellers.
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By ozplane
#1736426
I enjoyed "Beyond the Blue Horizon" in which Alexander Frater retraced the Imperial Airways routes. In a similar vein "Corsairville" by Graham Coster recalls the story of the flying boat that was rescued from a forced landing in the Belgian Congo.
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By lobstaboy
#1736434
"Aviation books" is a very broad category. We seem to have included fiction, history, biography, memoirs, even text books (Stick and Rudder).
Lots of good suggestions already made, so here are mine to add to the list

Ronald Dahl, Over to You. Short stories based on his time in the RAF.

Jeffrey Quill, Spitfire. Great mix of technical detail and personal story.

LTC Rolt, The Balloonists. History of early ballooning.

James McCudden, Flying Fury. Autobiography. Particularly striking is the way the boyish enthusiasm and enjoyment of flying give way to hard edged brevity as he gets more tired and stressed (unintended but it's there in the writing it seems to me)

David Garnett, A Rabbit in the Air. Short account of learning to fly in the 1930s.

That said the ones I go back to are usually anything by Richard Bach, Harald Penrose (Airymouse in particular), Propeller head, and Stick and Rudder.
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By XX
#1736435
FF wrote " getting out of her Comanche in heels"

Do you mean to tell me you haven't done that?? Even I've done that - at Leeds Bradford. It was the saving grace for parking a mere TB20 amongst twin engine helis and Citations and stuff! :D
#1736439
One of the first aviation books I ever read (and still arguably my favourite) is Night Fighter by Robert Wright and CF "Jimmy" Rawnsley. I would also love to read Duel of Eagles by Gp Capt Peter Townsend again. That said, The Most Dangerous Enemy by Steven Bungay is my favourite book about the Battle of Britain.

Most of my books are more like reference books so to that end, the recent Air Britain books about the comprehensive histories of Auster Aircraft and Beagle are now in my collection and I'm very much looking forward to Air Britain publishing a new and comprehensive history of Piper Aircraft by Roger Peperell (Piper Company historian) early in 2020.

Ian
#1736449
Cowshed wrote:A new book, published this year, is “20 West” by Steve Ford. It initially describes his life as a child with a father who was a flight engineer and the influences on him. Then the author trains as a ground engineer before deciding he wanted to retrain as a pilot. He has a precarious career for several airlines, a period working for a manufacturer and then ends up with a UK major.


Thanks for that snippet of info , CS .
I knew Steve well when he was at VAA and still cannot believe that he is now retired . He was always one of those 'Peter Pan' looking guys who never seem to grow old ...[ the b@st@rd].. :D .
But as you correctly point out , he has had one heck of an aviation career . I believe he started as a 'ramp boy' in the U.S. just to get flying time , then got his FAA - A&P , PPL , worked in 'Propulsion' at B.Cal , not to mention his career as an airline pilot .
Will definitely add that one to the list.... :thumright:
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By JAFO
#1736456
ozplane wrote:I enjoyed "Beyond the Blue Horizon" in which Alexander Frater retraced the Imperial Airways routes. In a similar vein "Corsairville" by Graham Coster recalls the story of the flying boat that was rescued from a forced landing in the Belgian Congo.


Just ordered both of these and a couple more from further up the list. This thread is costing me more than I have spent of flying this month.
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By kanga
#1736510
PaulB wrote:I couldn't get on with Stick & Rudder either (or The Antoine de Saint-Exupery books either)


.. Read S&R (a gift) once, but probably would again if I was ever likely to resume flying, especially if tailwheel.

But I loved (and should read again; but my childhood copies were lost in family moves decades ago :( ) Vol de Nuit . Le Petit Prince is for 'children of all ages' too, certainly about aviation but much more: I first read it when fairly young, but got far more out of it in late teens :) . ISTR hearing that it was the most sold book in French after the Bible. I wonder if French and other francophones become more air-minded than anglophones because so many of them had it read to them at an early age and subliminally absorbed the idea that flying was somehow both ordinary and magical.
#1736533
XX wrote:FF wrote " getting out of her Comanche in heels"

Do you mean to tell me you haven't done that?? Even I've done that - at Leeds Bradford. It was the saving grace for parking a mere TB20 amongst twin engine helis and Citations and stuff! :D


Nope. I very rarely wear heels these days. I can guarantee that, if I wear a skirt and/or heels, somebody will need me to climb into a 208, or go up a ladder, under a desk/car or something equally uncomfortable.

Besides, Ye Olde Comanche doesn't have "real pedals", it just has slim bars. They would be very uncomfortable in bare feet........I have, however, driven all sorts of cars in bare feet, so I could slink out in four inch stilettoes :wink:
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By tomshep
#1736583
Stick and Rudder was tedious and repetitive. I didn't find it very helpful, either, but John Urmston's "Birds and Fools Fly" changed my life. I read it in Cheltenham public library when I was sixteen and I haven't been the same since.
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By condor17
#1736598
Just to add a few more to the tattiest books on the shelf ....
Wings over Georgia ,
Lancaster Target ,
Mosquito Victory , All by Jack Currie .
Tumult in the Clouds , James A Goodson .
Times subject to Tides [ story of Barra a/p ] . Roy Calderwood .
And of course my oldest and tattiest ,
Flight Without Formulae A.C. Kermode .
Cost me 2 Saturdays working on a pig farm in 1970 .

rgds condor .