Sarah Kelly Arnold was raised on a farm in British Columbia, where, as a 13-year-old, she learned to fly in a single seat Quicksilver ultralight. She was instantly hooked, and thus began a lifelong passion for aviation.
In 2004, Sarah became the owner-operator of Chilhowee Gliderport in Benton, TN where she eventually met and married her husband Jason. Together they’ve worked to improve the airport, train a new generation of pilots, and host soaring camps, seminars, and contests. Sarah organized the 1st FAI Pan American Gliding Championships in 2015, and serves as treasurer on the US Team Committee. She will be a 2017 inductee into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame.
Sarah’s first competition was the 2006 Perry Regionals with Charlie Spratt as CD. Five years later she won the Sports Class Nationals and earned a position on the US Soaring team in Club Class. She was the first woman to represent the United States at a WGC event in Argentina 2013. Later that year she flew the Women’s World Gliding Championships in France and took home a bronze medal.
Sarah maintains a take-no-prisoners attitude which propelled her to two FAI podiums at the Women’s World Gliding Championships in France (bronze) and Czech Republic (silver). This season, she and Karl Striedieck were the 20 Meter Multi-plan National Champions. She went on to another podium finish, placing 2nd in the 15 Meter Nationals at Uvalde, 2018.
Leigh’s connection to soaring and competition is through her husband, SZ, for whom she’s crewed for 42 years. She’s a passionate supporter of the US Teams and loves contest reporting. She currently resides in both Steamboat Springs, Co. and Greenville, SC.