September 3, 2010 — Nate Foster will undoubtedly have no trouble writing about how he spent his summer vacation.
Three days after earning his private pilot certificate, the 17-year-old Reisterstown, Maryland, youth flew solo across the United States in a Piper Cub. He left Ocean City, Maryland on August 22 and six days later, he arrived safely in Monterey, California, the Baltimore Sun reported.
“It's indescribable how happy I felt to see the Pacific," he said Monday after a commercial flight home from California. On Tuesday, he was back at Friends School of Baltimore, where he is a senior, for the start of the new school year.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Foster decided to make the cross-country trek, just like the teenage brothers did in Flight of Passage.
The trip went mostly as planned, with no technical difficulties and only one lost day when thunderstorms kept him trapped in Battle Mountain, Nevada.
"It's a very, very small town," Foster told the Sun. "It only took about an hour to see the whole thing."
Throughout the trip, Foster followed the advice of local pilots he met at each small airport along the way. He stayed near a highway when possible, so he would have a place to land in an emergency. The only time he was somewhat scared, Foster told the Sun, was when he was crossing a stretch of flat, brown desert as Nebraska bled into Wyoming.
"It was like flying over the moon," he said. "I felt this horrible loneliness. I just had to get out of there.”
While flying at 12,000 feet, the highest he’s ever flown, he crossed the Grand Tetons, and saw a 13,000 peak and a 14,000 peak. "It put it into perspective how massive they really are," he said. "To see those snow-capped peaks literally passing by my window was surreal."
Nate Foster, 17, a senior at Friends School of Baltimore, flew solo from the East Coast to the West Coast before starting the new school year. Photo credit: Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun