The other day I was sent out the Marion County Airport (in Jasper) to photograph gliders. Every year, the Sequatchie Valley Ridge Badge and Record Camp takes place there, a gliding camp that encourages pilots take advantage of the Sequatchie Valley's long ridges to set soaring records for themselves (or, if they're good, for the state).
I drove out and had a blast, talking to pilots and watching them line up for take off. People had driven with their gliders from as far away as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. There were 23 pilots there the day I visited. Two of them were women.
One of the more surprising parts of the day was learning that the whole even was organized by a young woman named Sarah Arnold. I say surprising because, as someone who has a gliding license and has spent ample time at fly-ins and rural airports, flying clubs are populated mostly by retired men. Arnold owns and runs Chilhowee Gliderport in Benton, Tennessee and has held the reigns there for about ten years, since she was 24! She recently became the first woman to earn a spot on the US Soaring Team, which competes in world record-setting gliding events.
There was only one plane that afternoon that landed out. The nearest glider in the photo above didn't quite get enough lift to soar back to Marion County field, so it put down gracefully in a corn field. The Kimball police responded to the scene and watched over the glider while the pilot drove back to the airport to get his truck and towing equipment: