The best holiday gifts money can buy are books. They are also inexpensive to ship ($2.50 for USPS “media mail”). If you have friends, neighbors, relatives, or airport and pilot colleagues who may be remotely interested in aviation, the following list of aviation books will pleasantly entertain these people: In honor of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” our holiday reading list highlights 12 great aviation books.


  1. Jonathan Livingston Seagullby Richard Bach; non-pilots as well as aviation folks have enjoyed this classic for nearly 40 years; available anywhere books are sold.


  1. Falling to Earthby Al Worden: A memoir of an astronaut who went from a small farm in Michigan to become the first man ever to venture to the back side of the moon as the Apollo 15 command module pilot. Amazon:


  1. Fighter Pilot(Robin Olds) with Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus: A must read for every current or ex-military person, particularly any pilot from the Vietnam War era. The story of an iconic fighter pilot who was a heroic and courageous leader. Amazon:


  1. Rules of Engagementby Joe Weber: This book complements Fighter Pilot. It is Tom Clancy-like fiction, since it is laced with reality. The primary theme of a free-spirited Marine fighter pilot during the air war over Vietnam is complemented with a poignant love story; available at


  1. The Rogue Aviatorby Ace Abbott: A memoir of an adventuresome, maverick pilot who experienced a radical roller-coaster-like ride through a diversified aviation career; filled with entertaining and implausible aviation anecdotes; as well as an insider’s look at commercial aviation. Amazon:, or


  1. Cruising Altitude: Tales of Crash Pads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet by Heather Poole:  As the title reveals, this book relates many radical anecdotes of craziness in the cabin, and provides insight into the multifaceted drama that can occur in the cabin of a passenger airplane. Amazon:


  1. Chuck Yeager– An Autobiography by Chuck Yeager; This story of the renowned test pilot will take you way beyond the speed of sound and into the world of swashbuckling fighter pilots and test pilots. Amazon:


  1. Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen: This well researched book will provide revelations about the famed top-secret “black-area” in the Nevada desert. It will clear up some misconceptions about aliens while revealing insight into the depth of the level of energy and effort by the U.S. government into the development and use of spy planes, such as the SR 71 “Blackbird.” Amazon:

9.The Darkest Mission by Rick Burton; This well-researched spy-vs-spy thriller was very well researched and contains troves of information derived from the real world of international espionage. The primary narrative revolves around a WW II B-17 crew that was shot down over enemy territory; an adrenalin-pumper from start to finish. Available at

10.An Extraordinary Life-Gone To The Dogs by Lisa Weiss; A powerfully poignant non-fiction account of a Jewish B-24 pilot who was shot down over France and captured by the Germans. Protagonist Irwin Stovroff relates his experiences as a POW and provides unique insight into the nuanced relationships of POWs and their colleagues as well as their captors. Irwin’s yeoman humanitarian efforts toward American Veterans is the glorious outcome of his improbable survival. Amazon:

11. Squawk 7700-by Peter Buffington; This auto biographyrelates the trials and tribulations of life as a commuter/regional air carrier pilot who reveals his very onpalatable training experience as a co-pilot for American Eagle Airlines. This book functions as an expose’ of the underpaid and overworked commuter pilots in the U.S. Amazon:

12. Unbroken by laura Hillenbrand; This WW II aviation bestseller is a story of survival, resilience, and redemption. It is avialable whrever books are sold. Amazon:

All of these books are available at Amazon as well as other book selling entities; most are available as  eBooks at numerous eBook distributors

This blog is prepared by retired commercial pilot Allen Morris, aka Ace Abbott; for access to his books and web talk radio show, see his entire website at:


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  1. Squawker (Pete B.) December 4, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Thank you Ace. Wishing you and yours the very best this holiday from Clearwater Beach. As always, Fly Safely!

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