New Beginnings (Sequel Post #1)

New Beginnings (Sequel Post #1)
Nov 15, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
**Some readers of Flying Alone have asked me if I will be writing a sequel. They tell me they want to know more -- what happened with my flying after Steve was no longer in my life, and what was it like to be flying for a major airline. So I've decided to write the sequel through weekly blog posts. There's a lot more to tell, so I don't know how long it will take to tell "the rest of the story", but let's get started! **

Note: If you haven't read "Flying Alone", you can buy it here.


Reaching Your Dreams

Nov 06, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York

This is a repost from Karlene Petitt's blog, "Flight to Success." Karlene is a Boeing 777 pilot for an international airline and author of six books. 

Flying Alone

Reaching Your Dreams

I came across a memoir, Flying alone, and had such a fun time reading it! I highly recommend this book for anyone who is in search of a dream and finding themselves. As it turns out, Beth and I were both 13 in 1975... so it was fun to identify with her experiences, being the same age. Thirteen was the age that her journey began. Loss that drove determination. 

After reading Beth's book you'll see that those good old days were from another era, when some pilots flew drunk, violated FARs and did anything they could to build flight time. Beth lost too many people in airplane crashes along the way. She also came close to losing her own life couple times. These stories all unfold in her memoir. Lessons learned can be found within the pages, as can the tears, successes and losses. 

This book shows the integrity, determination, and the humanness of woman in aviation in pursuit of her dreams. She learns the lessons that her instructor boyfriend never could teach her, about confidence. For anyone in a dysfunctional relationship, this book is also for you, and hopefully you can find your strength before it's too late. 

Beth's challenges were many. So much so, that most would have given up before they began. She achieved her success, and then her dreams were ripped away. Beth is a pilot at the core because she never gives up. Sometimes our life doesn't turn out as we plan, but it does turn out like it should. Beth proves that tenfold. 

Ready For Takeoff

Oct 26, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
A fun new interview on the "Ready For Takeoff" podcast with Captain George Nolly of United Airlines has just been posted. We tried to do a video podcast from where I am in France a few days ago, but the bandwidth couldn't handle it, so it's audio only. 

Thank you, Captain Nolly, for the opportunity to be on your podcast!

“Flying Alone” Reviewed on Bookapotamous

Oct 18, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York

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.


  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Beth Ruggiero York
  • Language: English</

Book Launch Day—It’s Official!

Book Launch Day—It’s Official!
Oct 14, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
Today is the official launch of my book, Flying Alone. It is also the 75th anniversary of the first female-piloted jet flight by Ann B. Carl. Join me in remembering the achievements of this remarkable woman by reading Carl’s story...

I would like to introduce you to one of my heroes, or rather, heroines, Ann Baumgartner Carl, an extraordinary woman–and aviatrix–for her time and for all time. She was the first American woman to fly a jet! But let’s go back to the beginnings…

Imagine you are a young girl in grade school around 1930, and one day a woman named Amelia Earhart comes to your school to talk about her career. You are awed and inspired and, on that day, decide...

Two new interviews released this week!

Oct 04, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
It has been another exciting week in the buildup to my book launch! Two new interviews, one on a popular website ( and one on a podcast (Talking Flight” with Alaska Airlines Captain Mike Swanigan) were released.

Read the interview at Next Act for Women.

Listen to the podcast at Talking Flight with Mike Swanigan

I'll be in southern France for two weeks starting October 8th teaching a photography workshop but will be in constant contact as other media events happen (yes, there are more to come

Wow! More 5-star reviews of Flying Alone

Wow! More 5-star reviews of Flying Alone
Sep 27, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
“Riveting! I couldn’t put it down. Ms. Ruggiero York is an excellent storyteller. What an interesting life!” “This very personal novel takes us through the highs and lows of the author's early professional life in her quest to become an airline pilot. Her tenacity and commitment pushed her forward despite numerous obstacles and some seriously dangerous situations. The author's personal story about her difficult romantic relationship is heart-wrenching, but her story offers an important message for other women who may find themselves in a similar situation. We see the author's personal growth and how she perseveres to overcome tragedy and pain. This is a great read.” “An absolutely outstanding memoir that I wasn’t able to put down until I had read the...

An excerpt - Posting Bail

An excerpt - Posting Bail
Sep 20, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
It was still dark when the phone rang, and it woke me from a deep sleep. The red digits on my alarm clock glared five thirty-two. I reached from under the covers and reluctantly closed the distance between the warm bed and the cold phone. “Hello?” There was the sound of a clearing throat, and then, “Yeah, Beth, Rod here.” He cleared his throat again. “I need ya to do something. You awake?” "Uh huh. "Adam Kraft did a number last night. Got himself drunk with some friends and took four of ‘em flyin’ in one of the Warriors. They went into the office and stole the keys to the new leaseback I’ve got on the line and went for a joy ride.”...

Why did I write it?

Why did I write it?
Sep 13, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
I was asked recently why I wrote this memoir, so I thought I'd try to answer that in this week's blog post.

Growing up, I always had books on my mind and always knew I wanted to write one, or maybe many, but writing Flying Alone was more spontaneous than planned. It was as though, unbeknownst to me, a seed was planted when I took my first flying lesson on December 26, 1984, and it germinated and grew like a weed for the next six years. There were branches and offshoots and, while some pieces withered and died, it developed into a full-sized tree over the years.

When my flying career ended in 1990, I think I was still in shock from the combination...

Interview with Dave Costa of the Renegade AV8R Radio Show

Interview with Dave Costa of the Renegade AV8R Radio Show
Sep 07, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
My interview with Dave Costa on the RenegadeAV8R Radio Show about my memoir, "Flying Alone", has aired. Click the link below to listen!

A Heroine for All Women - Ann Baumgartner Carl

A Heroine for All Women - Ann Baumgartner Carl
Sep 06, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
[This is the story of my heroine, Ann B. Carl, the first American woman to fly a jet in 1944. My memoir, “Flying Alone” will be officially announced on October 14, 2019, the anniversary of Ann Carl’s test flight of a jet fighter aircraft, making her the first woman to fly a jet.]

Today I would like to introduce you to one of my heroes, or rather, heroines, Ann Baumgartner Carl, an extraordinary woman--and aviatrix--for her time and for all time. She was the first American woman to fly a jet! But let's go back to the beginnings...

Imagine you are a young girl in grade school around 1930, and one day a woman named Amelia Earhart comes to your school to...

Birth of a Book — The Life and Times of “Flying Alone”

Birth of a Book — The Life and Times of “Flying Alone”
Aug 30, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
It was an important week for me and my book. The joy of getting physical proof copies of Flying Alone in preparation for publication was over the top!

When I first wrote the book, it was right after my aviation career had come to an abrupt end (more on that later). I put my heart and soul into recording all that had happened during those years. As I laid it all out, I realized how remarkable the ride had been in all manner of speaking.

I wrote and wrote, and when I was finished, I put the paper manuscript in a box where it still is today. There were other things going on in my life that took up my...

The Captain’s Secretary

The Captain’s Secretary
Aug 24, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
I've been thinking about some of the stories from my flying years. There were so many, but one in particular stands out after all these years.

It was late winter in 1990. We arrived in St. Louis after the last flight of the third day of a four-day trip crisscrossing the United States. I was standing outside the cockpit with the captain and co-pilot saying goodbye to the deplaning passengers (yes, that was the protocol for airline pilots back then). Toward the end of the line, an elderly lady with bluish-gray hair smiled at us as she approached.

She stopped in front of the head flight attendant and, pointing at me, said, "I didn't know the captain had a secretary!"

I challenge you—

Aug 18, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
I have a challenge to propose. In my book, “Flying Alone,” and in my blog, I tell you about my most memorable flying experiences. Well, I’d like to hear about YOUR most memorable flying experience. It doesn’t matter if you were a pilot or a passenger!

Please share your story as a comment. The writers of the 3 best stories will receive a signed hard copy of “Flying Alone.”

If you like what you've been reading, please like and follow my blog. Thank you!

Cockpit Porn -- A True Story

Cockpit Porn -- A True Story
Aug 15, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
January 1990. Kansas City International Airport, Missouri. We just flew in from my domicile -- Kennedy Airport in New York -- on the first leg of the first day of a five-day trip. This was a new crew I was flying with -- reserve duty was the norm during the first months of a pilot's career at Trans World Airlines, so I filled in where they needed me and only flew one trip at a time with each crew.

I was second officer, aka flight engineer, aka third person in the cockpit of a Boeing 727. I was also the only woman in the cockpit, which had not been an issue thus far in my new job as an airline pilot....

The Backstories (1) — Why Fly?

The Backstories (1)  — Why Fly?
Aug 09, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
August 1984. Marblehead, Massachusetts. I was sitting on the beach contemplating my career options. I had just graduated from college with a degree in East Asian Studies and fluency in Chinese, but now I faced the dilemma I’d been forewarned about—where to get a job using my at-that-time obscure skill. Someone even asked me once, "What are you going to do with that? Work in a firecracker factory?"

Don't get me wrong. I loved what I studied, but the only way to get a job using it back then (besides working in a firecracker factory) was to get a law degree or a masters in business and then hope for an opportunity. Or, I could go back to Taiwan where I’d...

Flying in the Fog (Part 2)

Flying in the Fog (Part 2)
Aug 02, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
(Continued from last week)

The right engine had cut out. I abandoned the radio and went through the memorized engine failure emergency checklist, finally pulling the throttle to idle and feathering the prop. 

“Boston Center, Six-Seven-Delta, do you read?”

“Roger, Six-Seven-Delta,” the controller responded. “Please confirm your status.”

“I’m on the missed approach from Runway Seven at Provincetown and have an engine out in the climb. I repeat, engine out.”

“Roger, Six-Seven-Delta. Are you able to climb?”

“Barely,” I answered. “I’ll continue the climb as much as I can, but I’ll need to intercept the approach to Runway Seven as soon as possible.” 

We had to land at Provincetown, there was no other option. The plane was climbing at less than fifty feet per minute.

“We’ll be there soon,...

Flying in the Fog (Part 1)

Flying in the Fog (Part 1)
Jul 26, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
“What would you like me to call you?” I asked the uncomfortable question, unsure if it was even okay to ask. Should I call her Mrs. Onassis, or Mrs. Kennedy, or something else?

“Jackie,” she said. Her response took me off guard.

I said nothing more and helped her out of the small twin-engine prop plane now parked on the tarmac at Martha’s Vineyard Airport. She wore the signature kerchief over her head and dark sunglasses. 

Our flights were becoming almost regular. Every week or two, I picked Mrs. Kennedy up at LaGuardia Airport in New York and flew her to the Vineyard, or occasionally Fisher’s Island. It felt as though I was flying royalty, a far cry from the freight I’d been...

Flying broken airplanes...

Flying broken airplanes...
Jul 18, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
I taxied into position and gave the door one more visual check before starting the takeoff roll. Confident I was now ready to get myself to Teterboro, I brought the power up. As I accelerated down the runway, I felt something holding the airplane back, some kind of resistance. My eyes darted around the instrument panel looking for a clue. Everything checked normal until I glanced at the right wing. The flaps were down in the full forty-degree position. I quickly looked back to the flap controller and then to the indicator, both to the right of the throttle quadrant. They showed normal. I yanked the throttles back to abort the takeoff.

Back on the taxiway again, I shook my head...

An excerpt from “Flying Alone”...

An excerpt from “Flying Alone”...
Jul 11, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York
...Steve sent me out to do the pre-flight inspection while he ate a ham and cheese sub at Rod’s desk. I’d picked it up for him when I made the afternoon liquor store run for Rod. The store was out of Rod’s favorite cigars, but there was plenty of whiskey, and he was now on his way to a smile.

“You mind if I fly left seat tonight?” Steve asked as he approached the plane. “Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how. Besides, you need to start learning to fly from the right seat when it’s time for your instructor ratings.”

My instructor ratings were a long way off, and at this point in my aviation career—and it had become a career—it didn’t...