In this post, I’m going to share 7 private pilot books that will help you prepare for and pass your FAA knowledge exam and practical test.
When trying to pick the best books for private pilots to purchase, I recommend first checking with your flight school. They may have some they’ll include in your training package if you’re going that route.
They may also have a book or two they recommend because they use it in their curriculum.
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However, every book on this list will help you learn and prepare for your tests and of course, make you a much better pilot.
Private Pilot Manual by Jeppesen
If you can only buy one private pilot book to aid you in your training this is it.
This book covers a wide range of information you’ll need as a private pilot. Unlike many books that aren’t updated often, this one goes into details on more modern systems including all-glass cockpits, ADS-B, electronic flight bags and more.
Another great feature of this book is the impressive illustrations. That may not sound all that exciting but illustrations and diagrams are a huge part of learning in flight training. So having ones that not only look good but also explain everything thoroughly are truly helpful in learning the concepts.
One last thing you’ll enjoy about the Jeppesen book is the real-life stories. These stories help teach why the material is so critical to learn and ingrain into your flying.
Like I said, if you can only afford one, this is the book to buy.
Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook
If you’re looking for a straight-to-the-point book with a healthy dose of humor, this is the book for you. Rod covers every topic thoroughly and does an excellent job of explaining the “why” behind the principle.
It’s definitely one of the more enjoyable books to read on this list. It’s also loaded with great illustrations (over 1,200) that help explain things effectively.
One issue some people have with this book, however, is that it is written with some humor and stories which doesn’t work for everyone when trying to learn.
If you paired this with the next book on the list you’d have a great set of resources to help you learn.
This one is absolutely essential for every pilot to own and keep in their flight bag. It includes information from Titles 14 and 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These apply to general aviation, sport pilots, flight instructors, and unmanned aircraft systems. It also includes the Pilot’s Bill of Rights.
One of the benefits of buying this is that they also mark what has changed since the last publication. It’s a helpful feature that you don’t get if you went directly to the source.
ASA has been publishing this book every year for decades. It’s used by everyone who flies in the US so it’s worth adding to your library whether physically or digitally. Many pilots like to keep this on their iPad for quick reference.
Private Pilot Test Prep 2022
Get ready for your private pilot knowledge test with one of the most popular study guides. The ASA Private Pilot Test Prep book will help you learn aerodynamics, engine operation, airplane performance, radios and navigation, meteorology, instruments, and even hazardous attitudes. After going through all of the subjects you can take the 5 free practice tests this book includes.
This book is a great aid in your preparation for the private pilot exam. However, I wouldn’t rely on this book alone to prepare you for the test. Instead, look at taking a private pilot ground school and then use this book to help refresh and then test your knowledge. Take each of the practice exams and see how you do. If you can pass these you should be good to go for the test.
Overall, it’s a great private pilot book to help you pass the knowledge test.
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Private Pilot Oral Exam Guide
Many pilots feel good about the flying portion of their checkride but are incredibly nervous about the oral portion. If that’s you, this is the book to grab. This private pilot book goes through many, many questions you could potentially be asked during the oral portion of the checkride and the accompanying answer.
This is another book that is updated regularly so make sure you’re purchasing the latest edition (they update it to align with the Airman Certification Standards).
One other helpful portion of this study guide is the scenario-based questions. These are often asked by designated pilot examiners to test if you really know the principles (not just memorize them) and can explain them in action.
Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
This is the official FAA handbook and one that should be owned by just about every private pilot. It covers all the necessary info you need to know for your FAA written test and practical test.
As far as private pilot books go, it isn’t the most exciting by any means. But it is packed with helpful information that will get you ready for your private pilot checkride.
When purchasing, you’ll want to make sure you buy the most recent version, it gets updated every few years. You can purchase it from Amazon as a paperback book or you can read it as a PDF.
Gleim Aviation Weather and Weather Services
One of the most challenging parts of flying for many new pilots is the weather. Making the decision to fly or not can be a bit stressful. And understanding the many weather charts and services available takes some study in and of itself.
This book includes the FAA’s Aviation Weather and Aviation Weather Services text along with a few other publications. It also contains study guides and other helpful information as you work to learn the weather.
Now, as a Private Pilot, you generally don’t focus too much on the weather. It’s generally reserved for your instrument rating. However, you should still spend some time learning about the weather during your private pilot training and this book is a great resource to help you do that.
Plus, once you do get to your instrument rating, you’ll already have this book to help you study for the instrument rating practical test.
Additional Private Pilot Books
The above list is some of the top books available to help you in your training. But there are many additional options to choose from. Here are a few other books you may find helpful as you prepare for your exams.
- The Complete Private Pilot
- The Private Pilot Blueprint
- Principles of Flight for the Private Pilot
- The Pilot’s Manual: Ground School
Want to take a break from studying and enjoy some good aviation literature? Check out some of the best books for pilots on our list.