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Beware of Unauthorized or Counterfeit FAA Handbooks


By Dan Grunloh, Editor Light Plane World, EAA 173888

Flight instructor, author, and filmmaker Paul Hamilton of Adventure Productions reported that one of his students complained about poor-quality, unusable black-and-white graphics contained in printed copies of FAA handbooks purchased through the Internet. Apparently some publishers have been reformatting, shrinking, and printing FAA publications in black and white, so they are not up to the original standards. Unfortunately the books are presented as approved FAA publications and do not clearly disclose the loss of color graphics. Online reviews by purchasers confirm the problem.

Overall, this is bad for those who buy them, because the graphics are not readable or understandable, and the student will need to purchase the genuine article. To be safe, always purchase your aviation books from reputable, established suppliers. The Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge is widely available in full size and in color for about $25. The version sold here for $15.95 is reduced in size with no mention that it's only black and white. The sample pages for preview include only the table of contents and the glossary. Comments by purchasers below the listing tell the story.

Another FAA book, the Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook, is not as widely available and contains a lot more color graphics. You can purchase the full-color book for $44 from www.AP-Stores.com. Or you can go online and buy the book from the same publisher as above for only $19.95. The reduction in size from 11 x 8.25 inches to 9 x 6 inches is convenient, but the loss of color is said to render the graphics useless. (Hamilton was the principal contributing author for this FAA manual.)

Both of these publications can also be downloaded for free. Individual chapters of the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge can be downloaded from this FAA website. The full-color version of the Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying Handbook is available on the FAA Aircraft Handbook and Manuals webpage as a single, 56-megabyte PDF file.


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