Women Soaring Pilots Association

Promoting all aspects of soaring for women glider pilots.

Mark your calendars

September 12-16, 2022  WSPA seminar at Chilhowee Gliderport, TN!

July 2-7, 2023  seminar at Uebersberg Gliderport, SW Germany Newest Hangar Soaring Magazine  – February 2022. Cathy Keller and Tom Witkin highlighted the WSPA Soaring Seminars in the SSA publication! Join us for the 2022 Seminar!

Update for WSPA members from the president

March, 2022

Spring is fast approaching, and your WSPA board has recently made some decisions for this 2022 flying season.

The general membership meetings held last year were very popular, and we were asked to offer them regularly.  We had a successful virtual Zoom meeting for all WSPA members and friends on Sunday, March 13th at 3 PM EST.   Thank you to everybody who attended.

 

Our 2022 seminar will be held at Chilhowee Gliderport in Benton, Tennessee from September 12th through 16th  Lynda Lee LaBerge will be the hostess.  Sarah Arnold has enthusiastically invited us to return to her facility.  She has promised to be ready with gliders, tows, and instructors.  Fall in Tennessee offers pleasant temperatures, excellent soaring weather and beautiful flights over the Appalachian mountains and Tennessee Valley.  Details and registration information will soon be available on the WSPA website. Our seminar in Germany has been postponed until 2023 because of unknown conditions with COVID and the conflict in Ukraine.  The new dates are July 3rd through 7th, 2023 at the Uebersberg Gliderport.  Ulrike Franz and Britta Schlenker will hostess.  They have both attended WSPA seminars and are experienced in planning soaring events.  The gliderport is in SW Germany, 30 miles from Stuttgart in the Swabian Alb.  The area offers outstanding soaring conditions with ridges, castles, and glider ports nearly every 10 miles along the ridge.  The large and supportive club offers winch as well as aero tows and comfortable lodging and dining options on-site and nearby.

Cathy Williams

 

Sarah Kelly Arnold – United States Soaring Hall of Fame

Sarah Arnold got inducted into the United States Soaring Hall of Fame (for 2020) at the National Soaring Museum. 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.

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WSPA is a division of the SSA