Women Soaring Pilots Association Seminar

Chilhowee Gliderport, Benton, Tennessee

July 3rd to July 7th, 2017


Since the early 1970's Chilhowee Gliderport has offered rides, instruction, and towing. It is a great place to spend the day watching the beauty of soaring, hitching a ride, or the start point for a long cross-country flight.  Chilhowee is a full service gliderport that is open year round and a soaring site rich in natural scenic beauty and year round soaring including good thermals Spring through Fall, excellent ridge lift Fall through Spring and occasional Winter wave flying.

WSPA and Chilhowee are thrilled to invite you to the 39th annual Seminar.  

REGISTRATION: This can be done in various ways:

  1. Fill out the electronic registration form, pay via Pay Pal, and you will receive a confirmation from Alexis Latner, WSPA Treasurer, for the registration and the payment.
  2. Combination method: Fill out the electronic registration form on-line, and pay separately by writing a check to WSPA, (note on the memo line WSPA Seminar), and mail it to: Alexis Latner, WSPA Treasurer, 2400 N. Braeswood #333, Houston, TX 77030-4348 US
  3. All Paper: Print out the paper registration form. Fill it out and mail the completed form, along with a payment check written out to WSPA (note on the memo line “WSPA Seminar”), and mail to: Alexis Latner, WSPA Treasurer, 2400 N. Braeswood #333, Houston, TX 77030-4348 USA


  1. Early birds: There are always some participants who come a few days early. Some participants come early to help set up the seminar, since there is much to do and we appreciate volunteers! Some come early to get their field checkrides out of the way before Monday morning, especially those who are bringing their own gliders. For this, please be sure to contact Sarah (info@chilhowee.com) ahead of time to reserve a checkride instructor and glider. Board members come early for the Annual Board Meeting on the Sunday evening before the event begins. Some participants come early just to socialize with flying friends, or get some tourist time in the area.
  2. Seminar Week: The seminar activities start first thing on Monday morning, July 3rd, and run through dinner on Friday, July 7th. Monday Morning starts with a local orientation, and Friday ends with the Annual Women Soaring Pilots Banquet. This banquet is an annual WSPA club event, and awards for the Seminar activities and accomplishments are presented here. The annual WSPA General Membership meeting is also held during this week, in 4 sessions of approximately 15 minutes each evening, Monday – Thursday.
  3. Late birds: Some participants choose to stay a day or two longer so they can fly some more and enjoy the area with fewer other gliders around. 
  4. Early birds and Late birds are responsible for their own meals before and after the official dates of the seminar (that is, before July 3, and after July 7).


  1. Some folks drive to the seminar, a few pulling glider trailers. Let Sarah know ahead of time if you are bringing a glider (info@chilhowee.com), and then when you arrive, contact her about where to park your car and trailer, and where to rig and tie down your glider.
  2. Some folks arrive with RV’s. They also need to talk to Sarah ahead of time about this, and do need a reservation to use on-site RV camping spaces. There is water to refill your campers, and there are a limited amount of spaces with limited electricity.
  3. Some folks arrive by airlines and rent a car to drive to Chilhowee. Knoxville and Chattanooga are the closest cities with scheduled airline service. Note: Those backroads are easier if you have some GPS route help, and when entering and exiting each little town remember there are very strict speed limits - and 5 mph over the posted limit might get you a $120 ticket.
  4. With all our Seminar folks with vehicles, there is usually no problem carpooling to and from the hotel in Etowah each day.


It is usually hot and humid in Eastern Tennessee by the beginning of July. Temperatures often run to 95-100°, and the humidity is very often 70% or higher. Therefore tent camping may be quite uncomfortable. Bring lots of sunscreen lotion, hats, gloves, light-colored long sleeves, etc. Light cotton clothes are often the most comfortable. Have a water bottle with you at all times and don’t forget to hydrate!


  1. There is only one motel within reasonable distance of the gliderport: The Red Roof Inn, 600 North Tennessee Ave, Etowah, TN 37331; Phone: 423-781-7459.
    Sarah has arranged a block of 20 rooms for the Chilhowee Seminar participants at a discounted rate. If you are staying here, please consider sharing your room. In this case it will help if you mark the box on the registration form for this, and we will match up folks as roommates are needed. This helps you save money and helps us make sure we don’t run out of rooms. It’s also another way to make new friends. Thanks!
  2. For RV parking on the field, contact Sarah ahead of time (info@chilhowee.com). Space is limited, so you need to do a reservation for this.
  3. Tent camping at the airport is not recommended, due to the typical July weather in Tennessee and limited bathroom facilities at the gliderport. (There is only one bathroom to share in the bunkhouse, and other people with be staying all week and using it.)

FOOD (Mon, July 3 – Fri, July 7):
Sarah has planned group meals that are delicious, healthy, cost-effective, and efficient, so we can focus our time on flying. Everyone is requested to help with meals by setting up, and/or cleaning up for at least one meal during the seminar. Seminar participants will not need to go food shopping. Breakfasts will be simple but hearty, including cereals, breads and fruit. Lunches will be available during a 1-1/2 hr. window of time mid-day. You will be able to come into the clubhouse and eat, or make your lunch to take out to the flight line or even in the glider. There will be plenty of water and lite drinks available to keep us all hydrated. Bring your favorite water bottle to refill! We eat our evening meals all together at the field so we can network, give out daily awards, listen to guest speakers, and hold short WSPA Meetings.

Our daily schedule is still in the process of being finalized. Below is a sample of a prior seminar if you’d like to see what it might look like. You will receive the actual written schedule in your seminar materials folder when you arrive at the Check-in Counter.
Sample Schedule:
08:15 Breakfast
09:00 Pilot’s Meeting
09:15 Presentation – Thermalling by _____________
10:30 First Glider Launch
12:30 Lunch Available in Clubhouse until 2 PM
18:00 Glider Towing Ends
18:30 Dinner at Clubhouse

Here is a list of possible items you would want to bring. All are optional except those with asterisks. *

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat or Visor
  • Sectionals for the Chilhowee area
  • Refillable Water Bottle
  • Long sleeved, light-weight shirts & pants, gloves (those with SPF protection from the sun are good.)
  • Mosquito Repellant
  • Your Logbook(s)*
  • Pilot’s License along with Driver’s License or other photo ID*
  • Insurance Documents for gliders (if bringing a glider)*
  • Personal Aviator’s insurance papers (if you have it)*
  • SSA Number for FAI Badge Work
  • Light rain coat
  • Umbrella for rain or sun
  • Hand-held Aviation Radio (if you have one)
  • Favorite snacks

WSPA will hold 2 annual meetings during the seminar, as required by our WSPA By-Laws.
1. The Board of Directors Annual Meeting is on Sunday evening, 2 July, and is restricted to Board members only
2. The WSPA General Membership Annual Meeting will be held during the week in 4 sessions of about 15 mins. each, on evenings Monday through Thursday, 3-6 July. 
We encourage all members to participate in the General Membership Meetings. We know you will learn a lot about the many great things that WSPA does for women pilots, and find new ways to participate.

The Chilhowee Gliderport is a wonderful soaring venue, and also a woman-soaring-pilot-owned business. Sarah Arnold is the Owner/Operator here, and is an experienced glider pilot, Instructor, and contest pilot. Chilhowee Giiderport is a commercial operation located in Benton, in Eastern Tennessee, a bit north of Chattanooga. It is on the Atlanta
sectional. Benton is just west of the Tennessee state borders with North Carolina and Georgia, and on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. Chilhowee in summer regularly has great thermal soaring, and various tourist activities include hiking, boat rides, and white water rafting very nearby. Information about Chilhowee Gliderport’s location, facilities, and
equipment is at: http://www.chilhowee.com/ Because of the large number of pilots coming in for the Seminar, additional gliders, towplanes, and instructors will also be available for this event during this week.


  1. Instructors’ rates - $50 per hour
  2. Glider Rentals - $44 to $60 per hour, depending on the glider
  3. Tows - these will have a 10% Seminar discount off regular Chilhowee tow rates: $20 launch charge plus $1.50 per 100 feet, with a $35 minimum fee

For more information:
Charlotte Taylor, WSPA, Seminar Coordinator: charlotte@womensoaring.org
Mary Rust, WSPA President: president@womensoaring.org
Sarah Arnold, Seminar Hostess: info@chilhowee.com, (423) 506-9015

Are you ready to join us?  Click here for online registration  Once you have submitted the form, a paypal link will be available in the confirmation page as well as a link in your confirmation email.

If you prefer to register with a real pen and snail mail, click here to download the .pdf version of the registration form.