Many publishers offer excellent pilot training handbooks (see, for example, the titles on offer at ASA and the growing series of comprehensive books that feature Rod Machado’s unique approach to flight instruction).
Regardless of your approach to learning and prose-style preference, however, the (public-domain) training handbooks published by the FAA should be in your library. These books are the official references cited in the Practical Test Standards for various pilot certificates and ratings. Many also provide great background for virtual aviators who enjoy Microsoft Flight Simulator and other aviation simulations.
I’ve described and provided links to many of these books, available for free download as PDFs, on the Aviation Resources page at my Web site. Unfortunately, the FAA splits most of the titles into a series of files, making them awkward to use.
To solve that problem, I’ve merged the separate PDF files for the most important books available from the FAA and posted the complete volumes in one of my SkyDrive folders. Now you can explore the full text of each book without having to open multiple files.
Having each book available as a single PDF makes it much easier to read the text, jump to chapters from the TOC, search for specific text, and find definitions and descriptions in the glossaries (most of the books include extensive glossaries of aviation terms).
The books I’ve posted include:
- Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25)
- Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A)
- Glider Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-13)
- Seaplane, Skiplane, and Float/Ski Equipped Helicopter Operations Handbook (FAA-H-8083-23)
- Rotorcraft Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-21)
- Instrument Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-15A)
- Instrument Procedures Handbook (FAA-H-8261-1A)
- NACO Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide
- Aviation Weather (AC 00-6A)
- Aviation Weather Services (AC 00-45)
- Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook (FAA-H-8083-1A)
- Aviation Instructor’s Handbook (FAA-H-8083-9)
Remember that you can always get the latest versions of these books directly from the FAA Web site (although the FAA’s system of cataloging the books escapes me). Check my Aviation Resources page and the following pages on the FAA Web site: