Essential reading list for pilots

Understanding the job of an airline pilot is essential before selection. Be ready to explain why you want to be an airline pilot. Here are four books to get you started. 

Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
— Ernest K. Gann

So You Want To Be A Pilot 2012: Flying As A Career Professional Pilot Training
Author: Gapan Captain Ralph KOHN FRAeS
Price: Free at Gapan
Why Read It? This is a perfect introduction to pilot training in one comprehensive document. Some of the advice won't be applicable to everyone and I would prefer if it encouraged the pursuit of the few sponsored opportunities that do exist. Although the text is dense, it is a must-read to the end. Any aspiring pilot will learn something.


Fate Is The Hunter
Author: Ernest K. Gann
Price: £0.64 at Abe Books £6.89 at Amazon
Why Read It? Nothing I can write here will do justice how important this book is. Our industry is still yet to quantify the stuff that it takes to make it as a pilot and what piloting an aircraft makes of you. This book makes you feel those feelings. Although written about experiences in the late 1930s and early 1940s it has not dated a single day. I once naively thought I was the first pilot to have to have these thoughts and emotions and ideas. When I read this book I realised what Ernest K. Gann had learnt. Piloting is as much about aviation as it is about learning who you are and what you're made of, even today, every day.


The Naked Pilot: The Human Factor in Aircraft Accidents
Author: David Beaty
Price: £0.64 at Abe Books £9.87 at Amazon
Why Read It? Never accept the term 'pilot error'. The media still uses it, but we in aviation know better. Instead of blame our industry has developed a proactive non-punitive system to reduce accident rates every year since aviation began. This selfless and mature attitude gave birth to the recognition of non-technical skills and the study of human factors and the practice of CRM. Our industry is an example to all others.
This book published in 1995 describes the human factors in incidents and accidents that occurred prior to the recognition of this life saving subject.


No Frills: The Truth Behind The Low-Cost Revolution In The Skies
Author: Simon Calder
Price: £0.65 at Abe Books £8.99 at Amazon
Why Read It? The airline landscape didn't always look as it does today. And it wasn't 9/11 that changed it. The rise and influence of the low cost airlines in Europe changed the industry forever. The consequences have had a massive impact on the career and day-to-day job of an airline pilot. This book tells the fascinating story of that change and speaks to those responsible.
Some advice: try and get the updated edition.

Your Suggestions Here

This is just the beginning of the Stripes library. What books do you think are essential reading for aspiring pilots? Leave your suggestions and reasons why in the comments below. I will add top voted entries to our reading list.