Air travel can be a great experience. It’s a chance to sit back, relax, and perhaps even get some work done, but let’s face it, flying long haul can also be a bit boring if you’re not in the mood for films or TV, and the conversation has dried up.
So here’s a list of the seven best aviation audiobooks to keep you entertained while you fly or when you’re lying on a beach on some tropical island. Whether you’re a pilot, an air traveller, or a flight attendant taking some time off, there’s something on this list for you.
7 Best Aviation Audiobooks
“An Officer, Not a Gentleman. The Inspirational Journey of a Pioneering Female Fighter Pilot” by Mandy Hickson
The book chronicles Mandy Hickson’s journey to becoming one of the UK’s first female, fast-jet pilots. It details her challenges and obstacles, including sexism and prejudice, as well as her dedication to her training and development as a pilot. The book also covers her experiences flying in combat missions, the pressures she faced, and how she dealt with them. In addition, it delves into her personal life and how she balanced being a wife and mother with serving in the military. Overall, the book offers an inspiring glimpse into the life of a trailblazing female pilot.
An Officer, Not a Gentleman
‘Mandy, break right…’ Jacko’s urgent scream shatters my bubble of bliss like a balloon exploding. My right hand slams the stick across and we tip over sideways, like a hard right turn on a roller coaster. I tense my stomach muscles to accept the punch in the guts from the g-suit, which clamps my legs tight to force the blood to my brain and stop me from blacking out.
“Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying” by Wolfgang Langewiesche
Often cited as a must-have by private pilots, in “Stick and Rudder,” author Wolfgang Langewiesche delves into the mechanics and principles of flying an aeroplane, including the concept of angle of attack, lift, and stall. The book also explores the role of a pilot in controlling the aircraft through the use of the rudder and elevator, as well as how to properly approach and land an aircraft. Additionally, Langewiesche discusses various visual cues that can aid in a successful flight.
He discusses the role of the rudder in controlling yaw, as well as the roles of the ailerons, rudder, and elevator in executing turns. The book also covers the differences between a tricycle and tail-dragger landing gears, how wind affects flight, and avoiding accidents. Additionally, there is a chapter on air accidents by Leighton Collins.
“Cockpit Confidential” by Patrick Smith
In Cockpit Confidential, Patrick Smith addresses common misconceptions and fears about air travel, offering insights from his experience as an airline pilot. The book covers topics such as the mechanics of flying, airport design, and in-flight services. Smith also discusses the cultural aspects of travelling by air and the thrill of visiting new places.
The author delves into the inner workings of the airline industry, from the physics of flight to the daily challenges faced by pilots. Smith offers insights into turbulence, pilot training, and aviation safety, as well as examines common misconceptions about cabin air and automation. The book also explores the realities of terrorism and airport security, along with frustrations surrounding airfares and customer service. Ultimately, Smith offers a candid glimpse into the world of commercial flying.
“Skyfaring” by Mark Vanhoenacker
In “Skyfaring,” Vanhoenacker shares his passion for flying as he explores topics such as the art of mapmaking, the physics of flight, and the beauty of the sky. The book delves into the feeling of being in the air and offers a new perspective on the world below. Vanhoenacker also discusses the technical aspects of flying, including navigating wind patterns and understanding cloud formations. Overall, “Skyfaring” is a celebration of the magic and marvels of flight.
“Hauling Checks – A Satirical Aviation Comedy” by Alex Stone
In “Hauling Checks,” author Alex Stone explores the seedy underbelly of the aviation industry through the eyes of a group of unethical pilots working for a struggling air cargo company. As they flout regulations and cut corners in their quest to meet deadlines, the consequences of their actions become increasingly dire. The narrative takes an even darker turn when the company resorts to illegal measures to stay afloat. This darkly comedic novel offers a satirical look at the cutthroat world of aviation.
“Dangerous Lessons and Guardian Angels – An Airline Pilot’s Story” by P J Spivack
The book is filled with thrilling stories of the author’s experiences as an airline pilot, including transporting guns to Biafra, flying in the Berlin Air Corridor during the Cold War, and missions over Russia. The author also recounts a nail-biting landing in fog, where the runway is not visible until the last moment. In addition to these high-stakes adventures, the book also touches on themes of camaraderie and trust among pilots and crew members, as well as gratitude for their guardian angels watching over them in dangerous situations.
The book chronicles the author’s experiences as an airline pilot, including dangerous lessons learned, guardian angels encountered during flights, and treasure diving with man-eating sharks. It also includes tips on how to become an airline pilot and land a job in the industry, as well as an inspirational message about persistence and never giving up.
“Above and Beyond. Secrets of a Private Flight Attendant” by Saskia Swann, Nicola Stow
In “Above and Beyond,” the authors take readers on a wild ride through her experiences as a private flight attendant, serving the elite and wealthy in luxurious settings. With behind-the-scenes glimpses into high-flying shenanigans, decadent meals, and the opulent lifestyles of the rich and famous, this book offers a tantalizing look at a world to which few have access. From navigating drama between passengers to managing demanding requests, they expose the secrets of life in the sky for those with endless money and power.
Whether you’re looking for entertainment or education, there’s an aviation audiobook on this list for you. So next time you find yourself sitting on an aeroplane with nothing to do, consider listening to one of these seven great books about flying.