By Mary Drier and Bill Petzold
CARO — Sara Dost has been a long supporter of Tuscola Area Airport, and she is even more so now.
Dost’s daughter, Susan Dost, flew her airplane cross country to the airport outside of Caro last week to visit her mother.
“It’s nice having an airport here,” said Sara Dost. “There’s been a lot of improvements done over the years.”
Although Susan Dost has been flying for six years, this trek home was her first solo flight across country.
It wasn’t smooth sailing—or flying—all the away, according to Sara.
“She ran into a lot of rough weather so her arrival was delayed,” said Sara. “She had to set down because of high winds one time, and there was a big storm that delayed her.”
The longest leg of her journey from her home in California was the day before she arrived back home in Caro.
“The longest trek was from Boseman, MT, to Flying Cloud, MN. That was the longest flight I’ve ever taken,” said Susan. “I just wanted to get out of Montana, get out of the Rockies and get to flat land, so once that terrain dropped away, it was like, ‘Oh, so good to feel flat land and no more mountains.’ ”
While traveling over the Rocky Mountains she was flying at 13,500 feet and used supplemental oxygen in order to be able to fly at that height.
“It was very exciting,” she said.
Another issue Dost had to deal with while flying her airplane was visibility.
“There are a lot of forest fires in Montana and Idaho, so the visibility was bad with all the smoke,” said Susan.
A special aspect of Dost’s cross country flight was the variety of scenery she got to see … especially flying over Lake Michigan for the first time.
“It was only 20 minutes, but you have water beneath you for 20 minutes. So you just have that feeling in your stomach like, ‘I don’t have a life vest,’ ” said Susan. “I fly from Los Angeles to Catalina, that little island there sometimes, so I have a familiar feeling with it.”
In soaring through the clouds, cellular phone reception is hit and miss at times, and one message she got while she was flying over Lake Michigan gave her pause.
“Occasionally, I’m able to get text messages up there, and one of my friends texted me, ‘Oh, I forgot to give you my life preserver vest,’ as I’m over Lake Michigan, but he’s got the same plane that I do, and he’s been across the country 14 times so he was helping me along the way,” said Susan.
Susan, who is a 1982 Caro School District graduate, plans to spend a few days visiting with family and friends.
“I’d like to make it to New York if I could, just to say that I did the whole country,” said Susan of her future plans.
The Tuscola Area Airport covers an area of 260 acres and has two runways. The airport is capable of accommodating small jets.