Friday, October 18, 2019

Book Review and GIVEAWAY - Flying Alone: A Memoir, by Beth Ruggiero York {ends 10/25}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

“Nice job. You handled the airplane well,” Frank told me after the flight test.

We stood on the ramp outside Mountain Air’s building that housed the offices along with the cleanest hangar space I had ever seen. I didn’t know a Part 135 operation could be so professional.

“Thank you.” My hopes were high.

“Your movements of the controls are smooth, and that’s important when there are people in the airplane. I learned to fly that way in the Air Force. Couldn’t get through a flight check if we weren’t smooth. I’m retired but I try to pass on all I learned to the young people I hire,” he explained. “I know you’ve been flying freight before this. It’s easy to get sloppy when you only have boxes in the back. Our business here at Mountain Air is half and half, passengers and freight, so we expect you always to fly as though you’re carrying passengers.”

Did he mean I had the job? It sure sounded that way. “How many airplanes do you have?” I asked.

“We’ve got the four Navajos, a single-engine Cessna, two Beech Barons, and a Piper Aztec.” The operation was impressive. “And Joe Fontaine – he’s the owner of the company – keeps the Stearman over there for his own fun.” He pointed to the yellow biplane in back of the hangar. “When would you be available to start?”

To work so diligently toward a goal for years is impressive. Beth Ruggiero York fought her way through an industry that wasn’t supportive of her and her dreams to earn the reward she wanted for so long.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY - Flying Alone: A Memoir, by Beth Ruggiero York {ends 10/25}
From the time she was a teenager, Beth knew she wanted to fly, and a solo trip across the country to visit family confirmed her aspirations of becoming a pilot. But her dreams were almost grounded before they could take off when she received the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the age of 22.

Beth vowed that this new challenge would not put restrictions on her life and embarked on journey to become an airline pilot. Starting at the small local airport, the aviation world swallowed her whole, and the next five years of her life were as turbulent as an airplane in a thunderstorm, never knowing when, how or if she would emerge.

An agonizing love affair with her flight instructor, dangerous risks in the sky and flying broken airplanes for shady companies all intertwined to define her road to the airlines, eventually being hired by Trans World Airlines in 1989.

Flying Alone outlines the struggles and the challenges of civil aviation that Beth faced 30 years ago.

Ultimately a story of survival and overcoming overwhelming odds, Flying Alone is told with soul-baring candor, taking readers on a suspenseful journey through terror, romance and victory.

What an all-consuming hobby and goal it was for the author to want to fly for a commercial airline! Her determination to continue pursuing her goal in spite of the obstacles was truly inspirational. I liked reading her comments on the specific planes and challenges of flying that she encountered. Her extensive knowledge of the subject was obvious. The situations that employers put her and others in while they were working and trying to accrue more flying hours were horrible. The author’s struggles were 30 years ago, but I wonder if the industry has really changed much since then.

While I liked the flying parts of the book and was on the edge of my seat whenever she navigated a challenge in the sky, I just wanted to yell at her over her stupid boyfriend. Maybe I’m old and jaded, but I was tired of his shenanigans almost immediately. I would have been interested in hearing what the rest of her close family (her mother and her brother) thought of her persistence in pursuing such a monumental goal.

Overall, I would give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. It is a great story of the author’s determination and planned steps toward her goal.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a daughter, sister, wife and mother. She spends most of her time juggling schedules for her immediate household, and tries to spend a few minutes commenting on it all at


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Flying Alone!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Friday, October 25th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be chosen the next day and notified via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Flying Alone, by Beth Ruggiero York


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