There are so many student private pilot books out there to help you through your training. There’s no way I even tackled 1/16th of them all. I was also trying to save money, obviously. I wanted to review the books I’ve used during my training for others though.
Airplane Flying Handbook: People criticize this book as dry. I didn’t think it was that dry, it just was a no nonsense way of explaining the theories behind flying. I liked it a lot. I did end up reading about the maneuvers a lot before ever actually doing them, which it didn’t always stick because of that, but sometimes I’d go back and reference it if I was having difficulty. It helped me a lot with my slips. And now it has color illustrations which is nice. My DPE LOVES this book. Bonus: free online!
Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge: Another FAA book, this one is more complicated than the AFH and I had trouble working through some of the chapters. But for the theoretical knowledge of aerodynamics I’d suggest reading this book. Though I had trouble working through the dryness of it, I was able to understand the principles after reading a chapter.
American Flyers Private Pilot Learning Guide and Textbook: This book is amazing. And I got it for free! The illustrations are helpful (especially for the AD stuff) and just explains everything in a very concise, clear way that I enjoy. It is also split up into Written and Flight sections. This book was perfect for when I was taking practice exams. I’d go to the section in the book and review the information so I’d understand it instead of just memorizing the question.
Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook: Honestly, I bought this book because so many people seem to worship this man’s teaching. I have to say afterwards, I’m not one of those people. It is by far the LONGEST book I’ve bought because he just goes into stories about past students or finding another way of explaining a theory in a way he thinks you’ll get it. I didn’t always get the antidote, and frankly, it confused me more than helped me. I’d prefer to just understand the way it actually works with a plane than fitting it to how it works in a car or something. Anyone want to buy this book from me?
Gleim’s Private Pilot Written Exam Guide: I thought this book was great to study for the written. It outlined every section in a concise way (I’m seeing a theme here.) Each section being broken done clearly and within a few pages was great for my learning and memorization of the harder items. And all the test questions were in this book, which I wish I realized they were the exact questions. It was also helpful looking up after the test because it has all the codes in the back and I could find the question and know why I got it wrong. I looked them up right after I got home, so I found the questions easy.
ASA’s Private Oral Exam Guide: I wasn’t a huge fan of this book at first. And still not a huge fan, but it does do its job. I just wish the answered were laid out better and not so technical but the way you’d actually answer the question in the Oral Exam setting. But maybe I’m just picky like that.