Flying Alone: A Memoir by Beth Ruggiero York

Flying Alone was something I knew I had to read. I know several people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. Including my most best friend since I was seven years old.

She’s brave, and courageous, and pretty darn awesome. And most of the time – she “seems fine.” I think that’s the biggest misunderstanding of MS. It’s for the most part, fairly invisible to others. The pain and fatigue isn’t always obvious. The symptoms and flareups present differently for every person. It’s very unpredictable. Most of the time if she doesn’t tell me something is bothering her – I have no idea.

I went into this thinking, “This will help me understand what she’s been going through all this time. I’ll be able to relate more. I will learn from this book.”

This is what I learned:

I learned that the rigorous training and flight hours and steps one must go through to become a pilot is INSANE. And as someone who flies – I am very thankful for it!

That those fun “”Will you marry me?’ banners and advertisements that fly over the beach in the summer are SO very dangerous to tow and I have MAD respect for the pilots that do so.

That you NEVER EVER want to run out of gas while flying in an airplane.

And I learned that Beth Ruggiero York is a bad ass. She’s braved a lot of incredible things in her life. Including, but definitely not limited to: intense pilot training with some very scary emergencies, sexism, crappy boyfriends, difficult job situations, a car accident, and so much more. But it has shaped her, and molded her and she came out on the other side to tell her story.

You notice I didn’t mention MS. In fact – I didn’t learn anything about the disease. Because it didn’t shape OR mold her.

That DESPITE having an MS diagnosis, Beth thrived. She didn’t quit.¬† That it doesn’t define her.

I learned that the best way to understand my friend and what she goes though – is to just be there for her. To understand her. That she’s an amazing friend and an animal lover and an incredible painter who just happens to have MS.

She can tell me “I’m not fine.” and I can understand that she just needs a friend.

Thanks so much to FSB Associates for sending me this uplifting and fascinating memoir!

Flying Alone: A Memoir is available now! You can get it here.

Please note I am an Amazon Associate and I may earn money from qualifying purchases made through my storefront. Thank you!
  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Beth Ruggiero York
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578544210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578544212

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About the Book:

Front cover 8.14.19

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.

About Beth:

Beth - Head Shot-1Beth is a former airline pilot for Trans World Airlines. She entered the world of civil aviation in 1984 shortly after graduating from college and, for the next five years, climbed the ladder to her ultimate goal of flying for a major airline. She originally wrote Flying Alone in the early 1990s, shortly after her career as a pilot ended and the memories were fresh.

Beth now has dual careers–Chinese translator and professional photographer. She teaches photography workshops for Arizona Highways PhotoScapes and her own company, Ruggiero Images LLC. Beth has published a popular instructional book on night photography, Fun in the Dark: A Guide to Successful Night Photography, which has worldwide sales, and she has co-written a book entitled, Everglades National Park: A Photographic Destination. She and her husband live in Fountain Hills, AZ.

To learn more about Multiple Sclerosis, you can visit


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