Books to study for private pilot license refresher.

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private pilot refresher book

Are you going back to flying after a long time? With numerous resources available online, it’s easy to get confused. It’s time to prepare for the renewal, and you don’t know where to begin.

You can have your hands on all the aviation books in this world and figure it’s impossible to study them before your PPL renewal. Or you can be wise to pick a few selected textbooks.

I shared the preferred books I keep in my digital library, and also, you can find the accessible version of a couple of these books on FAA’s website.

So which books do you think I recommend?

Let me tell you this each pilot have their favorite instructor and publisher of books. No matter which book you buy, if you need books for private pilot license renewal or refresher, you need more than one book for different purposes.

I listed books in three categories to serve a different purposes and get you back in the sky without delays:

  • Books to refresh your aeronautical knowledge;
  • To revise your flight operational skills, I would need another book;
  • Lastly, a book to sharpen my communication skills;
  • Finally, I would keep a FAR/AIM book handy to aid my regulation memory.

Study one book from each category, and you will be ready to be a pilot in command.

Which books can refresh your aeronautical knowledge?

Jeppesen is a pioneer in publishing aviation books. When I started my pilot training, my flight school recommended Jeppesen’s private pilot manual. Undoubtedly, Jeppesen’s books are colorful, with lots of images and illustrations.

However, aspiring pilots find Jeppesen’s books overwhelming. Similarly, many student pilots don’t have the time to read much information. Learning only the essential information for the private pilot stage is better.

As you progress in your flight training, you can study more and gather information.

Jeppesen’s Private pilot manual is an excellent book if you have plenty of time to prepare for your private pilot license refresher. Assuming you are a current private pilot and want to study something to refresh your knowledge, then looking at Jeppesen private pilot manual can fulfill your needs.

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On the contrary, if I want to study one book and have all the information in one place in an easy-to-understand language, I would pick Rod Machado Private pilot handbook. The book is available in both pdf and textbook versions.

Rod Machado’s books are fun to read, with many crucial facts. Rod Machado is renowned for explaining things in ways that student pilots never forget once they read.

It’s not about what you studied, and it’s crucial to remember essential cases at the right time. Rod Machado’s explanation is for pilots to remember all the facts forever.

If you read many books and can’t utilize the knowledge in real life, this knowledge is not practical.

Rod Machado explains things with examples, tips, and techniques for student pilots never to forget a subject. Even if I memorized an entire book and can’t remember the different types of Airspace, what benefit would learning a whole book do for me?

It’s you who need to identify which subjects are essential for you. Or issues on which you need more clarification.

Rod Machado’s private pilot handbook has a table of contents to find the subject you need more practice on and then continue reading from there.

Aeronautical knowledge books are lengthy with many texts, and you don’t need all the information during an actual flight. The subjects are in the book because it is good to know about safe flight operations.

If you are unwilling to study either of the books I mentioned above, you can choose this last book by ASA, commonly known as PHAK.

FAA recommends the pilot’s handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, and you can have a PDF version of the book for free by clicking here.

ASA’s PHAK is not a heavy book but has all the necessary information to become a safe pilot.

During your advanced flight training, you may need more information. ASA’s PHAK is like a summarized version of other books. It is a compact version of all the facts you need to know to be a private pilot. Now, ask yourself why you need a book.

If you are a current private pilot and want to refresh your fundamental aeronautical knowledge, buy Rod Machado’s Private pilot handbook.

If you have limited time to study and renew your private pilot license, the ASA’s PHAK can do the job for you.

Which books improve your fundamental flying skills?

Before you go back to flying after a break, you must look at one of the books I mention below. These books are essential whether you are coming to fly after decades or a current pilot who wants to refresh your practical aircraft operating skills.

In the past, you were probably an excellent VFR pilot. But no matter how good you are at flying, without practice, you will struggle. Similarly, an intelligent pilot is always learning.

So these books are suitable for anyone who wants to improve their flying skills.

But do you need to study both of these books? Sometimes less is more. If you have the time, you can explore both, but if you want to become a better pilot, then study one book at a time and apply the lessons in actual flight training.

You may wonder how can reading a book improve actual flying.

Honestly, it does help because you absorb knowledge from the book, and during the experience, your brain automatically reloads what you have to do.

You read books about how to perform a maneuver correctly and stabilize your aircraft to maintain a straight and level flight in detail. The details in the books are often better than how a flight instructor explains inside the cockpit.

Many pilots struggle to land the aircraft smoothly because amateur pilots don’t understand a smooth touchdown depends on a good approach entry. Thus the landing phase for a pilot begins downwind when the pilot enters the traffic altitude.

Landing the aircraft is like a chain reaction. A minor error at the base will make your touchdown bumpy.

If you read the airplane flying handbook I listed, you will know many other details about operating and maneuvering an aircraft as a pilot in command.

There is a popular book about learning how to fly an airplane:

Stick & Rudder flying teaches pilots to operate an aircraft without exceeding the limits. This book explains the fundamentals of aviation and the matters a pilot must learn to manage the plane safely.

However, this book was published a long time ago, and a lot has changed today in aviation. Thus, this book seems irrelevant in many aspects of flying today. Therefore, I mentioned the two other books:

  • How to fly an airplane handbook;
  • Airplane flying handbook

These two books are relevant to studying the fundamentals of flying and becoming a better airman.

Which books to study to improve your private pilot communication skills?

As a private pilot, you don’t need to read any particular book for communication skills. Aviation communication is mostly about practice.

The more often you aviate and communicate, the more confident you become; over time, communication becomes second nature during flight.

However, you must be ready for congested Airspace. You can’t waste any time in a busy airport in B airspace.

Bad communication during a flight can become fatal when approaching a busy airport.

A current pilot who doesn’t fly often may also forget proper communication. Similarly, a pilot returning to aviation after years is entirely out of practice. Without practice, this pilot will fail to respond appropriately to other traffic in the area. Responding on time during a flight is crucial. A delay in responding can lead to a fatal crash in the sky.

You don’t want to be that pilot who gets stuck during the flight. It is embarrassing, and the worst, it can be the reason for your crash.

So how do you refresh your aviation communication skills?

As a private pilot, aviation communication is not so difficult. There are plenty of books available online—both paid and free versions. After reading a book for an hour, you can grasp basic communication techniques.

There are also many youtube tutorials available on the subject. By reading a book like this: VFR communication for Idiots, you can be ready for your first flight after decades.

Communication for VFR flight is straightforward. IFR flight communication is more challenging, but that’s a subject for a different post.

Also, you can go to and purchase a book to improve your communication tricks for the private pilot stage.

Lastly, have a FAR/AIM at your disposal.

You can access the latest FAR/AIM from FAA’s website or purchase a physical copy online or offline.

To refresh your aviation regulation proficiency and maintain airspace safety, you must never forget the air laws. A pilot must keep the FAR/AIM book handy during the flight. It is tricky to remember every federal aviation regulation, so having the book and referring to it now and then is essential.

After years, a private pilot going back to the flight can go through the book and use this book for a private pilot license refresher.

To continue flying as a proficient private pilot having a FAR/AIM book is essential.

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