Blog: Ahead of the Power Curve

Aviation stories and tips to help you stay sharp.

Aviation books to read that will help you fly safe

  •  By Dan Sobczak
  • Editor's note: This content does not constitute flight instruction. Consult a certified flight instructor in your area for proper flight instruction.

As the saying goes, a good pilot is always learning. Steven Daun, the National Chief Pilot for American Flyers, recently wrote an article suggesting ways every pilot can learn something new:

"Flying is one of those endeavors in which nobody can know everything. My advice to those who think they know all they need to know about flying is to stop flying, or for your sake and that of your passengers, please keep reading."

Of course, his instruction to "keep reading" referred to the great recommendations in his article. But it should go without saying that his directive can be taken more broadly as well, to keep reading books that have been published on various aviation safety topics.

With that in mind, here are three aviation books we recommend that can help you be that good pilot who is always learning. The ultimate goal of course is to help you fly safe on every flight.

Handling In-Flight Emergencies

Handling In-Flight Emergencies, by Jerry A. Eichenberger

As the name of our blog states, we strive to share information with pilots and provide thoughts and ideas to help every pilot stay ahead of the power curve. In the book Handling In-Flight Emergencies, by Jerry A. Eichenberger, the author discusses ways every pilot can stay ahead of the power curve by defusing an emergency before it happens.

Author/pilot Jerry Eichenberger gives real-life case studies that illustrate emergency situations to help pilots prepare for the unexpected, fly confident and fly safe.

The Killing Zone

The Killing Zone: How And Why Pilots Die, by Paul A. Craig

In his book The Killing Zone: How And Why Pilots Die, by Paul A. Craig, Craig refers to that vital time for any pilot in which they've just received their pilot certificate and are embarking on their life as a newly-certificated private pilot.

As author/pilot Craig states on the back of the book, most new pilots earn their certificate with 40 to 70 hours. But then they leave their private pilot instructors behind and enter what Craig calls the "killing zone" -- a period from 50 to 350 flight hours where new pilots are still building their own practical and decision-making skills.

A Pilot's Accident Review

A Pilot's Accident Review, by John Lowery

In the book A Pilot's Accident Review, by John Lowery, Lowery reviews real-life accident cases -- including the Concorde crash cause, the JFK, Jr. accident, and other less-well-known but just as important accident cases -- that help drive home the importance of recognizing the accident chain.

Author/pilot John Lowery discusses how most accidents are attributed to a cascade of equipment and/or human failures. The book provides knowledge based on specific NTSB accident cases that will help any pilot regardless of experience level improve their own decision-making skills to fly safe.

Stay sharp!
The Flight Chain App team

  • Dan Sobczak is the founder of, a mobile app that helps pilots learn from accident chains by making NTSB reports more convenient and easier to digest. Dan received his private pilot certificate in 2003.

Flight Chain App - NTSB Aviation Accident Reports - Helping pilots learn from accident chains

Helping pilots learn from accident chains.

An easier way to read NTSB aviation accident reports.