Top 7 Free Books For Student Pilots That Will Make You A Better Pilot

Free Books For Student Pilots

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Where Are These Resources Coming From?

Aviation is constantly changing. This is seen through regulations, technology, and procedures. The challenge for any aviator is keeping up with these changes. For the United States, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) oversees regulating civil aviation to promote safety. They also develop and operate a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military aircraft. 

In order to make sure everyone is on the same page, they provide manuals and guides on the regulations, procedures, etc. As long as you have an internet connection, you will have access to this material. You may also download this material so you may access the information when you may not have an internet connection such as when you are flying. We will give you a quick summary of some of the most helpful and recommended materials provided by the FAA.

Where Can I Access The FAA's Manuals and Handbooks?

The FAA is constantly updating its handbooks and manuals so it is a good idea to check on them regularly. If they do update a manual, they will show any changes so you may compare the new and old.

To get to the manuals follow the steps below:

  1. Go to 
  2. Find the Regulations and Policies Tab
  3. Click on the Handbooks and Manuals option
  4. Find the Handbooks and Manuals Headline and click on aviation
Following these steps will put you on the page that hosts a table displaying all of the manuals and handbooks. Each of them is free for anyone to open and download. It has a multitude of good information from the source original source, the FAA.

Can I Get A Physical Copy Of The FAA Manuals?

For those of you who like to have a physical copy in front of you rather than an E-Book, this is an option as well. This is what we typically recommend for a few reasons. There are pros and cons with this option with the biggest con being that it will cost a few bucks. Fortunately, the costs of the physical handbooks and manuals are used to cover the costs of printing so they are minimal.

Why Should I Get A Physical Copy?

When you need to remember what you read, print is superior. People find that eBooks are hard to absorb. A study had participants read the same story, one group read on paperback and another on an electronic device. They were asked to put the events of it in chronological order. They found that the students who read from the E-book did worse than those who used the printed version. It was found that students who study from a printed textbook will do better on their tests and in retaining information. This is important when trying to remember all of the flying rules.

Other reasons would include that printed copies have been found to be less distracting, They also do not take away from sleep, and lastly, print is widely more popular. For these reasons we like to recommend the printed version which is what we have personally done ourselves.

Top 7 Free Books/Manuals For Student Pilots


The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is the FAA’s official guide to basic flight information and Air Traffic Control procedures. It contains the basic aeronautical information that is required to fly in the National Airspace System (NAS). The 2021 FAR/AIM book continues this tradition, containing complete and up-to-date information from Titles 14 and 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 and 49 CFR) pertinent to General Aviation, Sport Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators, combined with the Aeronautical Information Manual.

This is one of the best resources to reference for rules and regulations. It breaks down everything from navigational aids to arrival procedures.

Airplane Flying Handbook

This handbook was specifically designed to assist student pilots in learning to fly airplanes. It introduces the future pilot to flying and hosts guidance for procedures and maneuvers required for pilot certification. It also is very beneficial to current pilots who are looking to improve their flying proficiency and general knowledge. This is very helpful for pilots who are working towards additional certificates and ratings.

Instructor pilots will also greatly benefit from the information in this book whether they are instructing new or establish pilots. It specifically gets into topics such as navigation, communication, meteorology, use of flight information publications, regulations, and decision making.

Pilot's Handbook Of Aeronautical Knowledge

This official FAA handbook has been required reading for over 30 years! It starts with the basic knowledge that is essential for all types of pilots. It Gets into all the stages from the beginning to more advanced certificates. It hosts a broad spectrum of knowledge that as a student you will be getting into throughout your time through pilot training.

Pilots gain the necessary and required knowledge needed to earn a certificate and understand the aerodynamic theory behind flight. It Is tailored to the pilot who is preparing for a remote, sport, private, commercial, and flight instructor pilot certificate. It is a great reference to pass the FAA knowledge exam and practical test.

It provides insight to flying and the history of flight. It then gets into the role of the FAA and criteria for earning your pilot certificates. It discusses such things as selecting schools and instructors and the tests associated with earning your certificate.

Topics covered include aeronautical decision making, aircraft construction, principles of flight, aerodynamics of flight, flight controls, aircraft systems, flight instruments, flight manuals and other documents, weight and balance, aircraft performance, weather theory, aviation weather services, airport operations, airspace, navigation, and aeromedical factors.

Lastly, it also provides abbreviations, acronyms, signs and markings, and more!

Instrument Flying Handbook

Are you looking to get your instrument rating? This is the FAA’s primary resource for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). It goes over everything that needs to be known to operate an aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). It teaches you how to fly in the weather and without referencing outside and just using the cockpit to fly safely. Regardless of your type of aircraft it covers information that is applicable to all types of cockpit setups.

It gets into the NAS, ATC system, human factors, aerodynamics, instruments, IFR flight maneuvers, navigation, and emergency operations. It also gets into advanced systems such as the flight management system, primary flight display, multi-function display, synthetic vision, and TCAS.

Are you having trouble with IFR clearances? It gets into that as well as an instrument training lesson guide. This handbook is designed for students and instructors alike. It contains the information to successfully navigate through the training and tests to get your instrument rating or to stay current with refresher information.

Avionics Handbook

For those who are learning how to fly in more modern aircraft with glass cockpits, this handbook is for you. It is designed to provide users with solid information on advanced avionics equipment available in technically advanced aircraftThis handbook introduces the pilot to flight operations in aircraft that have the latest advanced avionics packages.

Aeronautical Charts Guide

One of the toughest things for student pilots to grasp at first are charts and airspace rules and regulations. It is essential to understand be able to decipher the FAA’s published charts for each stage of VFR and IFR flight including training, planning, departure en route, approach, and taxiing.

This is a great book to references for both novice and experienced pilots alike. This can also be beneficial for international pilots to become familiar with U.S. charts.

It also contains explanations for all symbology used on the FAA charts. This includes world aeronautical charts, sectionals, terminal area, flyaway planning, helicopter, en route, area, oceanic, arrival, standard instrument departures, and instrument approach procedures. It also gets into airspace classifications with easy-to-learn graphical depictions.

Aircraft Weight And Balance Handbook

Another difficult topic for pilots to master is the topic of weight and balance. This is a crucial part of flying since it is so important to safety of flight. Each time you fly, you are responsible for making sure it is safe to operate the aircraft and this is an aspect of that.

This publication addresses the safety crucial topic, and will provide great information to pilot and mechanics alike. It provides the necessary knowledge for the FAA knowledge exam as well as safe  flight and maintenance operations.

It starts at the very beginning and eventually dives into the methods of determining the location of the empty weight center of gravity. It also provides information on loading computations with graphs and tables. It also provides examples of problems to help you understand fully how to tackle any real world problem.

Take Advantage Of These Resources

Whether you are brand new to flying or a seasoned veteran, it is important to know your stuff. The FAA is in charge of everything flying which includes tests. It would be beneficial to anyone looking to further their flying career to studying material from the original source itself. 

The FAA gives you the answers to the tests with these resources, make sure to take advantage!




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