Book Review: 13,760 ft: My Personal Hole in the Sky


I was not really as aware or conscious of the TWA crash, back in 1996. It was years later, after I got my private pilot license (PPL), that I accidentally stumbled across the crash information. I remember spending hours digging into the details of the crash. With internet access, you see this was all possible now. It was spectacular in a way: since it was the third deadliest crash in the US.

Last year when AOPA offered a day long safety seminar with a visit to the NTSB facility up in Northern Virginia,  which still houses the reassembled Boeing 747 recovered from the TWA 800 crash site, I had signed up with the hope that I could take the day off and attend. Unfortunately, I regret, that I let that opportunity slide, due to work commitments.

I first came across Mark Berry’s autobiography titled 13,760ft My Personal Hole in the Sky on Karlene’s Friday’s Fabulous Flier a few days ago.

What really happened with the TWA crash might never be known. Reading Mark Berry’s autobiography does provide some insight into the mind of a TWA pilot, who was very closely associated with loss, not only at the personal level (through the loss of his fiancee) but also professionally (through the loss of fellow pilots in his extended family) being a TWA pilot at that time.

The book also does have other information on becoming, maintaining and the challenges associated with  being an air transport pilot (ATP) with a major airline.  It also provides  insight into the world of Air Carrier operations and the life of an Air Transport Pilot.

The book also is about soul searching, and recovering from the worst tragedies that life throws at you. Tragedy can strike you at any level. Aviation or otherwise. That we recover or can recover is uncertain.

Kudos to Mark Berry to finally get past the worst tragedy in his life and finally find himself!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: 13,760 ft: My Personal Hole in the Sky

  1. Karlene September 18, 2013 / 2:02 am

    I think the one thing that impressed me the most with his book…was how much of his life it took with an accident so senseless. Then I thought about AF447…and know that there are families and friends going through the same thing. Mark climbed out of that hole through his writing…. I hope that everyone who has been touched by an accident can do the same.

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  2. flynthings September 18, 2013 / 2:48 am

    True Karlene! Ultimately it is any tragedy and how deeply it affects you that finally determines how long you take to recover!

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