A Field Guide to Airplanes

You are on the grounds at AirVenture — or any other air show — and trying to impress your traveling companion with your aircraft knowledge. Your companion points to a particular aircraft and asks what it is. You have no idea.

You can avoid this particularly nasty form of aviation embarrassment by carrying “A Field Guide to Airplanes,” by M.R. Montgomery, with you at air shows and fly-ins.

The book, which is small enough to be carried in a backpack or purse, covers pretty much everything that flies in North America from biplanes to helicopters. The illustrations, more than 400 in all, are done in pencil and are clean and accurate. Because this is the most recent edition of the book, it has been updated to include designs that are just starting to appear at local airports, such as the Diamond DA42 Twin Star.

Both military and civilian aircraft, including vintage models, are included. You won’t need to know who builds the aircraft to be able to find it in this book as the information is organized by “low wing” and “high wing,” “single-engine,” “multi-engine,” and so on.

The book is published by Houghton Mifflin. It can be purchased through online sellers or through brick and mortar stores.

A Field Guide to Airplanes, Third Edition, by M.R. Montgomery; illustrated by Gerald Foster; Houghton Mifflin, 2006; 304 pages, illustrations, index; $18.95.

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