Favorite Airplane Books

Over the years i have reviewed many of the books on this list for various flying publications.  Check out my thoughts, and then let me know if you agree

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The Wild Blue - The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s over Germany

Stephan Ambrose

A terrific account of the B-24 in WW II by one of our nation's best historians.

An Arsenal of Democracy - FDR, Detroit, and an epic quest to arm an America at War

A J Baime

We all know that America built a lot of planes in a short time.  How did that happen?

Clash of Wings

Walter J. Boyne

World War II in the Air, by the former director of the Air & Space Smithsonian


Bryan Burrough

Aboard the MIR

Flight of Passage

Rinker Buck

True story of two teen-age boys who rebuild a J-3 Cub and fly it across the country

Dead Men Flying

Pat Brady

The story of "Dustoff", the army helicopter unit that brought the wounded back from the Viet Nam battlefields.

North Star Over My Shoulder

Bob Buck

An airline career from DC-2s to Boeing 747s

A Man on the Moon

Andrew Chaikin

What it took to put Neil Armstrong on the Moon

The Cannibal Queen

Stephen Coots

Flying Across the United States in a Stearman

Wind, Sand and Stars

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Pilot's poet

The Day the World Came to Town

Jim Defede

On September 11, 2001, aircraft were not allowed to enter US airspace.  Here is the story of the 6,000 passengers who diverted to Newfoundland

I Could Never Be So Lucky Again

Jimmy Doolittle

An autobiography of a fascinating American legend

Another Great Day at Sea

Geoff Dyer

A look at the crew of the USS George W. Bush by the most unlikely of writers. Turns out that pilots are not the only folks on the boat

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion

Fannie Flagg

A woman's novel, perhaps, but an intriguing novel wrapped around the WASPS of WWII

The Lucky Bastards Club A B-17 Pilot in Training / Mr. Fletcher's Gang

Eugene Fletcher

How B-17 pilots trained and survived

High Flyers

Micheal Fopp

30 Reminiscences celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the RAF

The Forgotten 500

Gregory Freeman

How do you rescue 500 World War II airman, trapped in the mountains of Yugoslavia, in German-held territory

Experiences of the War - The American Airman in Europe

Roger Freeman

Stories from the crews of the 8th Air Force in England

Fate is the Hunter

Ernest K. Gann

Gann's first, and best, "autobiography" Flying in the 30's

Gentlemen of Adventure

Ernest K. Gann

A novel of the early days of aviation

Ernest K. Gann's Flying Circus

Ernest K. Gann

A collection of historical essays of the early days of flying

In the Company of Eagles

Ernest K. Gann

A novel of flying in World War I

Song of the Sirens

Ernest K. Gann

Another Gann book, this one combining his stories of the sea and air

The Black Watch

Ernest K. Gann

Flying the U-2

1,000 Mile War

Brian Garfield

The last US territory to be held by a foreign government? The islands of the Aleutian chain in southwest Alaska

John Glenn - A Memoir

John Glenn

The autobiography of the first American to orbit the earth

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

Chris Hadfield

How does training for life as an astronaut relate to training to life on earth?  Lots of lessons for all of us earthlings.

 Flying Carpet

Richard Halliburton

The story of a round-the-world flight in a Stearman, by a 1930's adventurer

The Berlin Candy Bomber

Gail Halvorsen

Dropping candy to kids during the Berlin Airlift

Unbroken - A World War II story of survival, resistance, and redemption

Laura Hillenbrand

Six weeks on a raft, two years in a Japanese POW camp, and ??? -The Louis Zamperini story

Searching for the Epic of Flight - 107 Books Briefly Noted

Robert Hing

A wonderful book of book reviews. Robert Hing's list includes aviation books of all genres, old and new. Check it out to get some new suggestions

Forever Flying - Fifty Years of High-Flying Adventures

Bob Hoover

I know of Bob Hoover as the epitome of exhibition pilots. But until I read his autobiography I was not aware of his years as a military and civilian test pilot, or that he knew just about everyone you ever heard of in aviation. This book just feels like you sitting with him in a small social gathering, hearing him spin stories

Atlantic Fever - Lindbergh, His Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic

Joe Jackson

When Charles Lindberg decided to try to make his Atlantic Ocean crossing, he had a lot of company. Who were they? And why did they fail?

Inside the Sky

William Langewiesche

A meditation of flight

Stick and Rudder 

Wolfgang Langewiesche

The original (and still the bible) how airplanes (and pilots) fly

Soul Survivor

Bruce and Andrea Leinger

A two-year old boy, who relives the last moments of the life of a Navy fighter pilot he never knew. Eerie

The Spirit of St. Louis

Charles Lindbergh

A Diary of the first solo crossing of the Atlantic

Father Goose

Bill Lishman

Flying with the geese in an ultralight

Straight on Till Morning

Mary S. Lovell

A biography of Beryl Markham

Higher Call

Adam Makos

An extraordinaryWW II  encounter between a B-17 crew and a German Luftwaffe pilot.  A few minutes, two changed lives

West with the Night

Beryl Markham

An autobiography of the first woman to fly eastward across the Atlantic - a fascinating woman

The 11 Days of Christmas - America's Last Vietnam Battle

Marshall Michel

A truly exciting account of the last air battle of the Viet Nam war. The Story of Linebacker II. What went right, and mostly what went wrong. For those of us who were there, this book really tells it like it was

Chasing Icarus-Seventeen days in 1910 that forever changed American aviation

Galvin Mortimer

What was aviation like just before WW I, when flying was still a novelty?

Lindbergh - A Biography

Leonard Mosley

Lindbergh's life, including the difficult days during and after WW II

Riding Rockets

Mike Mullane

Outrageous tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut

Night Witches

Bruce Myles

Russian women fighter pilots of WW II

Target Luftwaffe

William Ong

Tragedy and Triumph of the WW II Air Victory - Features former Kansas City Flying Club member, Ken Martin

Terror of the Autumn Skies - The True Story of Frank Luke, America’s Rogue Ace of WW I

Blaine Pardoe

Pilots in WWI were a breed unto themselves, and none more so than Frank Luke.  One of the inventors of aviation tactics, a man so revered among fighter pilots that the primary USAF fighter trainer base is named in his honor

The Flying North

Jean Potter

A history of flying in Alaska and the Yukon

Queen Bess, Daredevil Aviator

Doris Rich

The story of Bessie Coleman, America's first black women pilot


Dick Rutan, Jeanna Yeager

One takeoff, one tank of gas, one landing, around the world

Alaska's Sky Follies

Joe Rychetknik

The funny side of flying in the far north

Two Sides of the Moon

David Scott, Alexi Leonov

Side by side descriptions of the space race from the first man to walk in space, and the commander of Apollo 15

The Wrong Stuff

Truman Smith

Adventures and Mis-Adventures of an 8th Air Force Aviator

In Love and War

Jim and Sybil Stockdale

The story of Medal of Honor holder, before, during, and after his imprisonment in North Viet Nam

On the Wing

Alan Tennant

Have you ever wanted to see what a bird sees? And fly where a bird flies? Alan Tennant follows the falcon from Alaska to Mexico, and finds that it isn’t always a pretty sight

Return of the Enola Gay

Paul W. Tibbets

The preparation and delivery of America's first atomic bomb

Flight of the Phoenix

Ellston Trevor

When you make a forced landing in the desert, you have three choices - die, walk 200 miles to the nearest oasis, or build a new airplane out of what is left

WASPs - Women Air Force Service Pilots of WW II

Vera S. Williams

America's Women flyers in WW I

Da Nang Diary

Tom Yarborough

I used to listen to these guys on the radio when I was flying over Viet Nam. This is what the "Covey" guys were doing down in the bushes in Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos

Devil At My Heels

Louis Zamperini

His story of crash, rescue, and the aftermath, told in his own words.

Frozen in Time

Mitchell Zuckoff

Three aircraft lost in the glaciers of Greenland in World War II. A story of survival, and a story of perseverance

Lost in Shangri-La

Mitchell Zuckoff

A WW II aircraft is lost in the mountainous jungles of New Guinea. The terrain is impassible for aircraft, and walking through the Japanese territory is not a pleasant option