I should probably have added to the end of the title of this post “according to me”. Of course, the opinions here on what constitutes the ‘top 10’ are wholly my opinion but what I think makes me qualified to pitch these channels to you is my avid loyalty to watching YouTube aviators that give me something, well, useful.
Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love a bit of Trent Palmer, that guy literally has the dream life (not to mention a good aviation merch shop, a collection of which I am growing myself), but I also like to learn plenty from the time I invest in watching these videos.
You can learn a lot from many of these and other aviation driven YouTube channels. Since getting my licence I have used them to great effect in some of the following ways which has increased my confidence and made otherwise daunting ideas far less so when it comes to actually doing them:
- Understanding approaches and patterns at new airfields
- Getting to know the radio calls required at more controlled airfields
- Learning from the mistakes of others
- Discovering new and interesting places to fly to
- New equipment
- Appreciating alternative ways of doing things and thinking about things
I have of course contributed to this subject in the past, back in 2018 actually with a post about the top 5 (at the time) YouTube channels. Some of those will reappear here but some of them will not. I thought an update was called for justified by the current times both in terms of our release from the clutches of restrictions and the emergence of a new flying season.
I am an advocate for Dr Simon Keeling and his weather courses. I have completed both parts of his aviation dedicated courses in 2018 and they well worth the money and the travelling. His channel offers some excellent weather insights and I tend to learn a lot from his posts not only on YouTube but his annotated images and Skew-T graphs on Facebook and Instagram. They are also worth a look. He’s very enthusiastic and shares buckets of knowledge.
This chap is a fairly new one to me but I love his fly-along style and his narration, I get a lot from that. It reminds of some of the older YouTube channels that used a similar style. There’s good depth to his content, he is great at showing you things and explaining things, exactly the sort of video I enjoy and yes, he is UK based.
Missionary Bush Pilot
Ryan is not from the UK but he does have an exciting flying channel as a bush pilot in Papua New Guinea. Plus, he’s just an all round lovely chap. His video production is very good, he is great at explaining things and it is his level of detail, awareness and judgement is what I find most useful and extremely intriguing in his videos. He talks through how he assesses the right path through a gap in the cloud or how he plans his descent into a small bush strip in the middle of a deep valley surrounded by cloud. Another aviation YouTuber who has a merch shop too.
Another American pilot YouTube channel and one that is geared towards safety and improving your performance as a pilot. FlightChops produces an interesting and wide variety of videos with great production and video editing. Not only are his videos entertaining and pleasant to watch, there’s plenty of actual pilot knowledge to gain from watching his videos too.
I love Tim. A genuine guy who is trying to genuinely share his passion for flying and his true journey. He not only posts some useful and interesting flying videos including meet ups and airfield visits but I have found a lot of his ground based stuff insightful too. He has done posts on addressing engine problems, maintenance and talked about his experiences with engine failures. All stuff I love to soak up and learn from. His channel has buckets of potential and I’m really interested to see how Tim progresses his channel moving forwards.
Gliding? Gliding you say? Yes, this channel is all about when things don’t go well and personally I find that stuff the most useful because it means I’m better armed to avoid the same or similar mistakes. There’s good explanation and assessment of the issue being discussed and the guy is an instructor. Not only are his ‘woops what do we learn from that’ videos useful but he provides some really interesting content on gliding and there is of course things we can learn, take onboard and appreciate from these chaps too, especially as they have no engine and everything is all about ‘energy management’.
You Have Control
I couldn’t very well have a list of top aviator channels without a mention of AirBourne’s very own Ben! As an instructor Ben’s channel is full of useful tutorial based material from across the syllabus but also videos that contain a good mix of entertaining and useful content that you can take away and apply yourself. I know Ben has big plans for his channel over the coming year so definitely one worth keeping an eye on.
Flying with Matt
Matt’s channel is very new with most of his content uploaded in the past 12 or so months. His content focus on his lessons which he is currently doing in a EuroFox microlight but he has a mix of other content thrown in too. Getting to see learnings from his lessons is useful and he’s another content producer I’m very interested in continuing to watch as he progresses.
Ben is a very likeable chap and his voice, being a Heart radio presenter, is ideal for YouTube. Buzzing with enthusiasm and confidence his content is both very insightful and useful. He reflects upon mistakes, discusses his trips and provides commentary during his flying. He also has some really great ‘features’ including ‘farm strip Fridays’ which I am a huge fan of and enjoy watching. He’s also based out of Kemble so his content is also orientated around the south of England which again I find more useful. His content branches into all sorts including how to record, ground based items and reviews. He also does takes other people flying which is always entertaining and hooks up with other content producers too.
Jolmer is a pilot in the Netherlands and another content producer who doesn’t just focus on the flying element but provides a good mix of material as well as interesting ground based pieces too such as the topic of engines. That makes his channel great for learnings and tips. He records flying with friends and fans and some of his flying adventures are very interesting. It’s also insightful from the perspective that he’s European rather than UK based.
The Flying Reporter
A bonus number #11 for you! I have been watching John’s channel for quite some time and thoroughly enjoy his content. He continues to produce very high quality material with great production and editing. Because of his career as a BBC aviation reporter he is excellent on screen and at providing commentary. His content includes flying adventures across the UK and Europe alongside some really interesting content with Air Traffic Control and characters such as the Aviation Minister. He has quite the following which I would imagine helps him create some really interesting content.
Worthy of a mention
Plane old Ben
You may remember or be familiar with Plane Old Ben. I met him at Yeovil airshow back in 2019, lovely chap. I do get much more from his older videos than his newer ones though. He mainly does commercial based videos parallel to his career progression which as far as content goes, is less relevant to me, but he gets a shout out for his older stuff.
Over the course of the past year their YouTube posts and weekly streams have really got better and better. A great source of tips, ideas and latest aviation news that applies a little more weight to our end of the GA scale I feel. Worth taking a look.
Disclaimer: This article was written for information and entertainment only and was up to date at the time of writing. Please always ask a qualified instructor for more information and discuss airfield operations and the use of aircraft equipment with a suitably qualified person.