The Right Seat by Avram Goldstein

book cover for the right seat

This book is a very detailed, thorough course in the basics of general aviation flight, radio communication, navigation, and emergency procedures for non-pilots, yet is easy to read and enjoy. If you are a pilot in all but the certificate, you enjoy learning about the hows and whys of flight and would feel more comfortable and have more fun in a small plane with the knowledge to understand what’s going on and help out in an emergency, than this is a great book for you! I’d even recommend it as a book for those who are considering flight training, or pilots who are returning to flight after a long hiatus as a basic review.

I do have a few criticisms. One, I think the level of technical detail would be overwhelming to some, and a more basic “pinch-hitter” course or video would be more appropriate for them. Two, some of the photos and information are very outdated in today’s glass panel world, so a new edition incorporating newer technology would be useful. Three, in my experience flying the remote West, there may not be a VOR with voice capability or an air traffic controller around to help direct you to a large airport, yet this is the only emergency landing scenario the author describes. A short section on the strategies of off-airport lands would be a good idea!

A nice addition would be an easy-to-read, simple checklist in the back to turn to in the event of an emergency, if the pilot is incapacitated or the plane’s checklist is undecipherable to a non-pilot. The steps a discussion included in the book is great for ground reading, but much too lengthy for a quick-reference.

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