Overcoming obstacles is not an easy task but when illness enters it takes courage and perseverance to soar. Beth Ruggieyo York has a goal and it would require time, training and patience to achieve it. Becoming a pilot was the end product but first she had to under go training, jobs that required physical acuity and strength. Working for The New England Flyers and taking flying lessons was the first step to achieving what the title states: Flying Alone. But, as you read her memoir and join her on her journey this title takes on many different meanings. The FAA required ground school and a minimum of 40 hours of flight time before she could take her private pilot ground and flight tests , but it might take her more hours . Next she would have to get instrumental rating , the multi-engine rating, the commercial license, multiple flight instructor ratings and the the Airline Transport Pilot license.
◦ Her journey was slow but planned out but her flight instructor, Steve would play an important part in her successes and failures. Not often seeing clearly where he was concerned she fell into a rhythm with him as a teacher and then boyfriend that caused her to question hers, her goals and her choices not realizing that she made him her top priority at times whereas it was evident that he was self absorbed and used people not just Beth for his own gains.
◦ Rod her boss had mood swings and a bottle of whiskey would definitely change his temperament. Throughout the book alcohol plays a definite roll when things get tough or the team of pilots need to unwind.
◦ Things changed when she was diagnosed with MS or Multiple Sclerosis snd if treated successfully she would be able to attain her goals. Throughout book Beth shares her struggles, her job as a lineman which required filling fuel tanks and other difficult work. Never complaining and always trying to complete each task but in the long run she had many more struggles and rude awakenings that would follow.
◦ Each time she is flying whether with another pilot or alone she shares her expertise with readers as we experience the take off and at times the hazards she encounters. But Beth at times becomes too distracted with her feelings for Steve and it can take hold during a flight.
◦ Things change after a while and she and several others decide to work for another airlines and this is where things turn sinister.
◦ Giving lessons to another student, building friendships and then striving for her ultimate goal to fly with a regular airlines, Beth would meet many people along the way and learn some hard and fast truths that would impact and impede on her progress and her life.
◦ Ren who ran Cash Air had his own agenda in mind and the reader realizes that at times he overrides standards, safety rules and equipment failures just wanting his pilots delivered their loads of whatever was ordered and not really concerned for their safety as described when Beth and Paul another pilot encountered icy conditions and equipment failure that required some quick thinking her part but Ren’s reaction should have been a red flag telling her it might be time to leave. But, she seemed to want to stay where Steve was and although you can tell he was only concerned for himself she did not see it .
◦ The author explains the many terms used when flying a plane and how she handled emergency situations. But, all too often she and the others did drink too much which could cloud judgment if imbibed before a flight.
◦ The risks taken, the exhilaration getting her license and the fatal crash of a close friend changes her life and others as the crash is investigated and the outcome shocking.
◦ Beth did not see her own downfall and decided that she as was suggested to her get some mental help and she did. The therapist suggested several drugs to deal with her depression but should not be taken if she was scheduled to fly. When opioids are in your life the end result can startling and awakenings her decline came and the frustrations rose when jobs were lost, changes had to be made and she became too dependent on the meds and Steve for every move.
◦ Some relationships are toxic and this one had disaster written all over it from the beginning but sometimes you have to as she did unfortunately learn the hard way.
◦ Things changed and Cash Air lost its license due to practices that were not FAA approved and Beth goes back to where she started as a flight instructor until she crashes in a horrific and awakening way . Sometimes it takes a harsh reality or something that happens to you that changes it all as Beth realizes that a relationship is over, her life needs another direction and hiding behind opioids is not the solution. What does she do and how does she achieve her goal working for a popular airlines? You need to read it for yourself but the story takes on another twist as her MS enters and once again another career choice is needed as she shares her final flight, where she is now and the journeys that she will still have in the future.
◦ Told in her own voice you hear her thoughts, her ups and downs and her final achievements.
◦ Fran Lewis just reviews