If you both read and have any interest in flight, you have heard (even if you can't spell or pronounce) the name Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He was a pilot and a dreamer and a writer who lived and flew in the age when every flight was a dangerous leap of faith, before reliable engines, organized search and rescue, and good aviation charts. His writing is quite simple, linking the things a pilot sees and thinks about to the general human condition. The sentences are not complex, so they are good books to read to practice French, and they work well in translation, too. Even if you haven't heard of or read Vol de nuit (Night Flight), Terre des Hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars), or Courrier sud (Southern Mail) you may still have met Saint-Exupéry through The Little Prince, widely translated as a children's story. It's either about a pilot downed in the desert and hallucinating with thirst; or about a little man from an asteroid who loves a flower he believes to be unique in the universe, and who comes to earth where he discovers his flower to be common.
Saint-Exupéry disappeared during flight in 1944 and for years was like the French Amelia Earhart: no one knew what had happened, so people dreamed of the best. I only recently came across this article, revealing that they not only have found his identity bracelet and thus airplane, but they have found the German pilot who shot him down. The poignant part is that the Messerschmitt pilot, Horst Rippert, had read Saint-Exupéry's stories in school and says that had he known who was in the airplane he would never have fired. Saint-Exupéry probably inspired his own killer to take up the pursuit that lead to his death.