RFT 131: Airline Pilot/Author Mark Berry

October 30, 2017

Mark Berry started flying as a teenager, and attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, earning all of his General Aviation (GA) ratings by the time he graduated. Following graduation, he paid his dues in GA, and passed his Airline Transport Pilot written exam and Practical Test (check ride), but couldn’t receive his ATP rating until he turned 23 years old.

Flying Tigers Airline wanted to offer him employment, but couldn’t hire him without an ATP. While he was waiting to “age” into his rating, he was hired by Trans World Airlines. His life was on track to a fantastic career, and he was engaged to his soul-mate, Susanne.

Susanne was traveling to Rome on business, seated in First Class of TWA Flight 800. When Flight 800 crashed, Mark’s world fell apart. Every time he went to work he saw aircraft in his airline’s livery that were identical to the plane that carried Suzanne to her death. Mark had to take time off, and had to find a way to deal with his loss.

In the long process of healing, Mark wrote two novels that explored survivor guilt. But he didn’t deal with his own issues until, after much urging from family and publisher, he wrote his memoir, 13,700 Feet – My Personal Hole In The Sky.

Mark eventually recovered, and returned to airline flying. When TWA went out of business, he ended up at another airline, and is now a Captain. Mark’s website is www.marklberry.com.

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