Womens Soaring Pilots Association

Promoting all aspects of soaring for women glider pilots.

WSPA Seminar 2022
The WSPA Seminar 2022 will be held tentative (COVID situation) in Germany, Uebersberg, Pfullingen, Southwest Germany, July 25-29. Information about the event and how to register will be on the WSPA website soon.  Assistance with airport and hotel transfers is available.
Your president,
Cathy Williams

WSPA Board Elections 2021 will be open from December 1st to December 15th, 2021

If you are a “Full Member” of WSPA (a women/youth member who is current on membership dues or is a lifelong member), you are eligible to vote in the election. You will receive the link to vote in an e-mail on December 1st. You will be voting for three new WSPA Board of Director members. The candidates are introduced in the November 2021, WSPA Hangar Soaring Magazine issue (p. 4). Colleen Koenig will be the official teller for the election. Your vote is important.
Thank you for your support for WSPA.



Sarah Kelly Arnold – United States Soaring Hall of Fame

Sarah Arnold will be inducted into the United States Soaring Hall of Fame (for 2020) at the National Soaring Museum on Wednesday evening, November 3, 2021. Sarah has kindly requested that Roy McMaster, 2019 Hall of Fame inductee, also be recognized on this occasion.

Sarah learned to fly as a teen while growing up in Lumby, Canada, and soon became part owner in a 1948 Piper Vagabond, which she still owns and flies today. Her mother instilled a conscientious work ethic in her at an early age – and a few years after she relocated to Tennessee, that work ethic helped her when she became the youngest gliderport owner/operator in the United States at 24.

Now a longtime owner and operator of Chilhowee Gliderport at Benton, Tennessee, Sarah transcends her full-time duties – flight instructing; towing gliders; using her A&P/IA to overhaul engines and maintain the fleet; organizing and hosting national and regional soaring contests, and giving check rides as an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner – and successfully makes the time to keep honing her competitive cross-country skills.

Sarah became hooked on cross-country soaring when she flew her first long-distance flights in April and May 2005. She went to New Mexico in June, where she flew 296 miles over an out-and-return course, setting multiple states and National Feminine Distance records. In February 2008, she completed her diamond badge (#985) when she soared to 30,829 feet over Boulder, Colorado.

In March 2011, Sarah and Dianna Fleming set 11 records in the Feminine Category – Open Class Multiplace Glider for Tennessee and 3 National Feminine Soaring records while flying a Schweizer 2-33A more than 200 miles above the Sequatchie Valley.

That May, Sarah won the Sports Class Nationals, which enabled her to join the United States Soaring Team. In January 2013, she competed at the World Gliding Championships (WGC) in Argentina. Later that year she became the first American pilot to compete in the FAI Women’s World Gliding Championships (WWGC) in Issoudun, France, and won the Bronze. In 2017, Sarah won the Silver at the WWGC in the Czech Republic. In 2018, she and Karl Striedieck won the 20 Meter Multi-Seat Nationals.

“There’s an intuition that you have to have to find your angles, hit the thermals and gain energy to fly.”

Sarah’s persistent practice, as well as her diligent efforts to learn from setbacks she’d encountered, enabled her to achieve a lofty goal in January 2020. She won the Gold and became the Standard Class World Champion at the 10th FAI Women’s World Gliding Championships (WWGC) at Lake Keepit Soaring Club, New South Wales, Australia. Notably, it was the sixth time in the history of the United States’ participation in world gliding competitions that an American has claimed the Gold.


Sarah, reflecting upon her experience, shares: “It’s a huge privilege to represent the USA at an elite level, and a special experience to fly with such highly-respected pilots who share this same passion. I try to bring home a sense of the ‘how large and yet small’ the world of soaring truly is, to inspire others who make sacrifices for their own dreams, and more than anything, to bring honor to my country.”

Throughout all of her practice and achievements, Sarah credits numerous mentors and supporters who have shared their knowledge, resources, and equipment, and especially her husband, Jason.


WSPA is a division of the SSA