When I was a student pilot, I carried two flight bags to each lesson. One held my headset, flashlights, E6B, plotter, charts, etc. All the stuff I needed for flight planning and flying. The second bag held my books. I carried all the standards like the Airplane Flying Handbook, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, FAR/AIM, Aviation Weather and more. I also had a couple personal favorites including Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook and Kershner’s Student Pilot’s Flight Manual. That second bag stayed on the ground when I flew but I always took it with me for the ground school part of training. Now, for instrument training, I have been carrying the same number of books, or maybe more.
My iPad is going to greatly reduce the weight of my flight bags while making it possible to carry all the books I need all the time. Each week, more and more training material is available in the form of iPad apps and eBooks. The FAR/AIM was the first reference I replaced. Now I have the CoDeveloper version. Besides saving weight, the electronic edition is fully searchable by keyword and updated with changes as they occur.
Other electronic reference books I have are the Instrument Flying Handbook and The Instrument Procedures Handbook. I will be adding more as I get back into instrument training. I spent the $2.99 to buy these because it was convenient. It is possible to get these and others for free if you want to put in a little effort. Just go to the FAA web site at http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/ and download the PDF files then use a PDF reader like GoodReader to view them on your iPad. The GoodReader user manual has a lot of information about getting PDF files onto your device.
Recently I found out that Rod Machado is making many of his excellent training manuals available as eBooks and iPad (and iPhone) apps. Like the FAF/AIM above, these apps include updates and corrections and are fully searchable.
Another good source of training material is the Kindle Store at Amazon. Many aviation books have been published in Kindle format and the Kindle app lets you view them on the iPad. Check back occasionally as the list of eBooks is growing constantly.
Beyond just books, some of the training course providers are moving to apps. Sporty’s now offers several courses on the iPhone/iPad. King Schools has released a few of their popular video courses for the iPhone and those are usable on the iPad too. The number of offerings is constantly growing so try a search for “flight training” in the apps store to see what is currently available.
My book bag is getting lighter every day. I hope more publishers will start to publish books electronically and, I hope they will make more use of tablet computer capabilities. I look forward to much more multimedia in future electronic publications. A good mix of text, audio and video would go a long way to enhancing learning.