Flying, flight, and aviation have long captivated people’s imaginations, inspiring countless books about the wonders of the skies. From memoirs and biographies to novels and historical accounts, there are many books about flying that are worth exploring. Here are 15 of the best books about flying, flight, and aviation.
- The Wright Brothers
- Fate Is the Hunter
- Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot
- Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying
- The Aviator’s Wife
- A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
- Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
- Flight: A Novel
- The Spirit of St. Louis
- West with the Night
- The Jet Sex: Airline Stewardesses and the Making of an American Icon
- The Little Prince
- Wind, Sand and Stars
- The Right Stuff
- The Bishop’s Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright
1. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography chronicles the lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the brothers who built and flew the world’s first successful airplane. McCullough’s book provides a detailed look at the Wrights’ lives and the challenges they faced as they worked to achieve their historic achievement.
2. Fate Is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann
Ernest K. Gann was a commercial airline pilot before becoming a writer, and this memoir recounts his experiences flying in the early days of commercial aviation. Gann shares his thoughts on flying, the people he met along the way, and the many dangers he faced while piloting planes.
3. Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker
Mark Vanhoenacker is a British Airways pilot, and his book is a fascinating exploration of the experience of flying. Vanhoenacker takes readers through the various stages of a flight, offering insights into the technological and emotional aspects of piloting an aircraft.
4. Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche
Wolfgang Langewiesche was a pilot and flight instructor who wrote this classic book about the art of flying. Langewiesche’s book provides a detailed explanation of the principles of flight, and it’s still considered one of the best books for pilots to read today.
5. The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
This historical fiction novel is based on the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the wife of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. The book explores Anne’s life and her experiences as the wife of one of the most famous pilots in history.
6. A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II by Adam Makos
This nonfiction book tells the story of a remarkable encounter between a German fighter pilot and an American bomber crew during World War II. The two sides engaged in a midair battle, but the German pilot ultimately chose not to shoot down the Americans, instead escorting them to safety.
7. Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O’Brien
This nonfiction book tells the story of five women who broke barriers in aviation in the early 20th century. The book explores the challenges these women faced and the impact they had on the aviation industry.
8. Flight: A Novel by Sherman Alexie
This novel tells the story of a Native American pilot who struggles with addiction and trauma. The book explores themes of identity, family, and the power of forgiveness.
9. The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles A. Lindbergh
This memoir recounts the experiences of Charles Lindbergh during his famous transatlantic flight in 1927. Lindbergh’s book offers a firsthand account of one of the most important moments in aviation history.
10. West with the Night by Beryl Markham
Beryl Markham was a pioneering aviator who became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. Her memoir recounts her experiences flying in Africa and her many adventures as a pilot.
11. The Jet Sex: Airline Stewardesses and the Making of an American Icon by Victoria Vantoch
This non fiction book explores the history of airline stewardesses and the role they played in shaping the image of the airline industry in the mid-20th century.
12. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This beloved children’s book tells the story of a pilot who encounters a young prince from another planet. The book is a whimsical and thought-provoking exploration of love, friendship, and the meaning of life.
13. Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This memoir by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry recounts his experiences as a pilot flying mail planes across the Sahara and the Andes. The book is a lyrical exploration of the wonders of flight and the beauty of the natural world.
14. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
This nonfiction book tells the story of the test pilots who became the first astronauts in the early days of the U.S. space program. Wolfe’s book is a thrilling and insightful exploration of the men who risked their lives to push the boundaries of human exploration.
15. The Bishop’s Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright by Tom D. Crouch
This biography of the Wright brothers is a detailed exploration of their lives and the work they did to invent the airplane. Crouch provides a comprehensive look at the brothers’ experiences, from their childhood in Ohio to their pioneering flights at Kitty Hawk.
In conclusion, there are many books about flying, flight, and aviation that offer insights into the wonders and challenges of piloting planes. Whether you’re a pilot, a history buff, or just someone who loves a good story, these 15 books are sure to inspire and captivate you. From memoirs and biographies to novels and historical accounts, these books provide a fascinating glimpse into the world of aviation and the people who have shaped it.
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