Aeronautics Professional Development Reading List and Library

In each of the three professional development courses (AERN 20000, AERN 30000 and AERN 45360), students are required to select one book from the list below and submit a 2-3 page essay after reading. Details of essay requirements can be found in respective course syllabi.

Students may not use the same book more than once. Students must submit their own response to the book chosen. Instructors will use SafeAssign to evaluate submissions given on Blackboard, so it is imperative that the work be the student’s own. Students may not choose a book for a professional development class that they have also used in another course. This is closely monitored.

New in 2018, students are welcome to borrow books from the Aeronautics Library!

  • Students will reserve the books online and pick them up in 127 ATB during normal business hours 8am-noon and 1pm-5pm, Monday-Friday.
  • Students may be notified via email that the book is ready for pick up, otherwise they are welcome to stop in 127 after a reasonable time period.
  • To claim a reserved book, students must present their Student ID within 3 business days of submitting a reservation/being notified the book is ready for pick up.
  • Students will have 30 days, or until the last day of classes for the semester, whichever comes first, to return the book from the date they reserve it. The specific date due will be confirmed via email.
  • Books must be returned to 127 ATB before 5pm on the date due. If the date due is a weekend day or day the University is closed, the book will be due before 5pm on the next open business day.
  • Students who return books late or damaged will be charged a fee. Normal wear is acceptable at the discretion of the University, and will not be charged.
  • If the book is not returned, the student will be charged the replacement fee.

Reserve Books Here

Approved Reading List

Descriptions provided are taken from www.amazon.com. Books are listed alphabetical by title.

Atlantic Fever:  Lindbergh, His Competitors and the Race for the Atlantic by Joe Jackson

For five weeks--from April 14 to May 21, 1927--the world held its breath while fourteen aviators took to the air to capture the $25,000 prize that Raymond Orteig offered to the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean without stopping. Joe Jackson's Atlantic Fever is about this race, a milestone in American history whose story has never been fully told. Delving into the lives of the big-name competitors--the polar explorer Richard Byrd, the French war hero René Fonck, the millionaire Charles Levine, and the race's eventual winner, the enigmatic Charles Lindbergh--as well as those whose names have been forgotten by history (such as Bernt Balchen, Stanton Wooster, and Clarence Chamberlin), Jackson brings a completely fresh and original perspective to the race to conquer the Atlantic. Replacement cost $10.

Beyond The Call: The True Story of One World War II Pilot's Covert Mission to Rescue POWs on the Eastern Front by Lee Trimble

This is the inspiring true story of Captain Robert Trimble, who laid his life on the line to rescue hundreds of World War II POWs, including women and children, on the Eastern Front.  Near the end of World War II, thousands of Allied and civilian ex-prisoners of war were abandoned to wander the war-torn Eastern Front. With no food, shelter, or supplies, the POWs were at great risk of perishing. As the Red Army advanced across Poland, the Nazi prison camps were liberated. In defiance of humanity, the freed camp inmates were discarded without aid. The Soviets viewed POWs as cowards, and regarded all refugees as potential spies or partisans. Thus many were rounded up again and put in detention camps. With little covert training, Trimble took the mission. He would survive by wit, courage, and determination. This is the compelling true story of an American hero, who risked everything to bring his fellow soldiers and abandoned civilians home to safety and freedom. Replacement cost $12.

The Birdmen: The Wright Brother, Glenn Curtiss and the Battle to Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone    

The feud between this nation’s great air pioneers, the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss, was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities. On one side, a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries-old riddle of powered, heavier-than-air flight. On the other, an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death-defying stunts. For more than a decade, they battled each other in court, at air shows, and in the newspapers. The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history—and take a fearsome toll on the men involved. Replacement cost $12.

The Bishops Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright by Tom Crouch

Brilliant, self-trained engineers, the Wright brothers had a unique blend of native talent, character, and family experience that perfectly suited them to the task of invention but left them ill-prepared to face a world of skeptics, rivals, and officials. Using a treasure trove of Wright family correspondence and diaries, Tom Crouch skillfully weaves the story of the airplane's invention into the drama of a unique and unforgettable family. He shows us exactly how and why these two obscure bachelors from Dayton, Ohio, were able to succeed where so many better-trained, better-financed rivals had failed. Replacement cost $13.

Boeing v. Airbus: The Inside Story of the Greatest International Competition in Business by John Newhouse

The commercial airline industry is one of the most volatile, dog-eat-dog enterprises in the world, and in the late 1990s, Europe’s Airbus overtook America’s Boeing as the preeminent aircraft manufacturer. However, Airbus quickly succumbed to the same complacency it once challenged, and Boeing regained its precarious place on top. Now, after years of heated battle and mismanagement, both companies face the challenge of serving burgeoning Asian markets and stiff competition from China and Japan. Combining insider knowledge with vivid prose and insight, John Newhouse delivers a riveting story of these two titans of the sky and their struggles to stay in the air. Replacement cost $15.

Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA by Amy Shira Teitel

NASA's history is a familiar story, culminating with the agency successfully landing men on the moon in 1969, but its prehistory is an important and rarely told tale. America's space agency drew together some of the best minds the non-Soviet world had to offer. At the end of World War II, Wernher von Braun escaped Nazi Germany and came to America where he began developing missiles for the United States Army. The engineer behind the V-2 rocket, von Braun dreamt of sending rockets into space. Ten years later his Jupiter rocket was the only one capable of launching a satellite into orbit. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, brought rocket technology into the world of manned flight. NACA test pilots like Neil Armstrong flew cutting-edge aircraft in the thin upper atmosphere while Air Force pilots rode to the fringes of space in balloons to see how humans handled radiation at high altitude. Breaking the Chains of Gravity looks at the evolving roots of America's space program--the scientific advances, the personalities, and the rivalries between the various arms of the United States military. After the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, getting a man in space suddenly became a national imperative, leading President Dwight D. Eisenhower to pull various pieces together to create the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Replacement cost $25.

Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew by Michael Leinbach and Jonathan Ward

On February 1, 2003, Columbia disintegrated on reentry before the nation’s eyes, and all seven astronauts aboard were lost. Author Mike Leinbach, Launch Director of the space shuttle program at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center was a key leader in the search and recovery effort as NASA, FEMA, the FBI, the US Forest Service, and dozens more federal, state, and local agencies combed an area of rural east Texas the size of Rhode Island for every piece of the shuttle and her crew they could find. Assisted by hundreds of volunteers, it would become the largest ground search operation in US history. This comprehensive account is told in four parts:

  • Parallel Confusion
  • Courage, Compassion, and Commitment
  • Picking Up the Pieces
  • A Bittersweet Victory

For the first time, here is the definitive inside story of the Columbia disaster and recovery and the inspiring message it ultimately holds. In the aftermath of tragedy, people and communities came together to help bring home the remains of the crew and nearly 40 percent of shuttle, an effort that was instrumental in piecing together what happened so the shuttle program could return to flight and complete the International Space Station. Bringing Columbia Home shares the deeply personal stories that emerged as NASA employees looked for lost colleagues and searchers overcame immense physical, logistical, and emotional challenges and worked together to accomplish the impossible. Featuring a foreword and epilogue by astronauts Robert Crippen and Eileen Collins, and dedicated to the astronauts and recovery search persons who lost their lives, this is an incredible, compelling narrative about the best of humanity in the darkest of times and about how a failure at the pinnacle of human achievement became a story of cooperation and hope. Replacement cost $18.

Chickenhawk by Robert Mason

This straight-from-the-shoulder account tells the electrifying truth about the helicopter war in Vietnam. This is Robert Mason’s astounding personal story of men at war. A veteran of more than one thousand combat missions, Mason gives staggering descriptions that cut to the heart of the combat experience: the fear and belligerence, the quiet insights and raging madness, the lasting friendships and sudden death—the extreme emotions of a "chickenhawk" in constant danger. Replacement cost $12.

Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, The Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America by Joseph M McCartin

In August 1981, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) called an illegal strike. The new president, Ronald Reagan, fired the strikers, establishing a reputation for both decisiveness and hostility to organized labor. As Joseph A. McCartin writes, the strike was the culmination of two decades of escalating conflict between controllers and the government that stemmed from the high-pressure nature of the job and the controllers' inability to negotiate with their employer over vital issues. PATCO's fall not only ushered in a long period of labor decline; it also served as a harbinger of the campaign against public sector unions that now roils American politics. Collision Course sets the strike within a vivid panorama of the rise of the world's busiest air-traffic control system. It begins with an arresting account of the 1960 midair collision over New York that cost 134 lives and exposed the weaknesses of an overburdened system. Through the stories of controllers like Mike Rock and Jack Maher, who were galvanized into action by that disaster and went on to found PATCO, it describes the efforts of those who sought to make the airways safer and fought to win a secure place in the American middle class. It climaxes with the story of Reagan and the controllers, who surprisingly endorsed the Republican on the promise that he would address their grievances. That brief, fateful alliance triggered devastating miscalculations that changed America, forging patterns that still govern the nation's labor politics. Written with an eye for detail and a grasp of the vast consequences of the PATCO conflict for both air travel and America's working class, Collision Course is a stunning achievement. Replacement cost $15.

Crash Detectives: Investigating the World's Most Mysterious Disasters

A fascinating exploration of how humans and machines fail—leading to air disasters from Amelia Earhart to MH370—and how the lessons learned from these accidents have made flying safer. In The Crash Detectives, veteran aviation journalist and air safety investigator Christine Negroni takes us inside crash investigations from the early days of the jet age to the present, including the search for answers about what happened to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. As Negroni dissects what happened and why, she explores their common themes and, most important, what has been learned from them to make planes safer. Indeed, as Negroni shows, virtually every aspect of modern pilot training, airline operation, and airplane design has been shaped by lessons learned from disaster. Along the way, she also details some miraculous saves, when quick-thinking pilots averted catastrophe and kept hundreds of people alive.  Tying in aviation science, performance psychology, and extensive interviews with pilots, engineers, human factors specialists, crash survivors, and others involved in accidents all over the world, The Crash Detectives is an alternately terrifying and inspiring book that might just cure your fear of flying, and will definitely make you a more informed passenger. Replacement cost $12.

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