The RAF's new Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Chandler cannot recall her first GA flight. Just three months old she was nestled into a makeshift bed behind the rear seats of the family’s Piper Archer to temporarily escape the Ohio winter in Florida.
Growing up, she does recall many of her family’s aviation adventures including trips to the mountains, coastal islands and a particular South Carolina watermelon run ($1 a melon) in their Stinson 108.
A move to Florida in her teens introduced Sarah to a variety of personal adventures including quarter midget racing, competitive volley ball and a yearlong student exchange to Brazil.
Aviation stayed in her life - husband Josh, stationed at Whiteman AFB in Missouri, served as maintenance crew chief in the early days of the B-2 Bomber.
During that time, Sarah not only started a family but also graduated college, entering a career as a RN. It wasn't until Josh left the military that Sarah decided to follow her grandfather, dad and uncle with a move to the left seat - earning her pilot's license in 2004.
With just 100 hours under her belt, she and her dad embarked on a cross country journey from Florida to Montana. Says Sarah: “It was on this trip that I was introduced to the RAF, I landed at Meadow Creek and fell in love with the back country! The ability to fly into remote locations and enjoy scenery, that most of the population will never see, really spoke to me.”
The entire Chandler family has stayed active in the RAF, their children Michael and Sydney taking every opportunity to fly with their grandpa and hang out with the RAF crew. Both are familiar faces working the Sun 'n Fun booth and participating in the RAF's annual donor appreciation weekends at Ryan airfield.
The family now resides in Boise where husband Josh works as an A&P for Firehawk Helicopters. Sarah's volunteer work coordinating volunteer disaster relief trips to Haiti, managing various RAF events and over ten years’ experience in management positions uniquely prepare her for the next stage of life - coordinating the volunteer activities within the RAF.