We sat down with pilot Sarah Tamar in celebration of International Women’s Day for a little Q&A about her exciting career as a seaplane pilot. Sarah has broken into the primarily male dominated world of aviation, with a special focus on seaplanes (a plane on floats that can take off and land on water). She has been flying for six years. Sarah was recently awarded the Women in Aviation International Martha R. King Scholarship as well as the JetStream Aviation Law Scholarship from Women in Corporate Aviation.
Sarah Tamar is a professional seaplane pilot. She currently splits her time between the Northeast in the Summer and South Florida in the Winter, flying amphibious Caravans for Tailwind. She is the New York ambassador for the Recreational Aviation Foundation, a founder of the East Hampton EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) chapter, and a freelance author for AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association). She is currently pursuing her CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) with the goal to give seaplane ratings and instruct on floats.
A little background on Sarah, what inspired you to be a pilot?
I have always been fascinated with flying, but it wasn’t until I fell in love with seaplanes specifically that I discovered I could become a pilot. After I started flying, I realized it was what I wanted to do with my life, and I began actively pursuing a career in aviation. Also, my grandfather was a pilot so it must be in my blood!
Tell us an interesting, little-known fact about you?
I have been in South Florida for the Winter flying season with our seaplane and have gotten really into paddle boarding. The canals around Fort Lauderdale are extensive and beautiful to paddle down and the ocean is even more fun. I have been taking the boards out and diving at the reefs right offshore. I have seen hundreds of tropical fish, manatees, sharks, dolphins, and even found a $50 bill down there once! I absolutely love it, it’s a great way to get out on the water, get some exercise, and see things from a different perspective.
Tell us a little about your favorite flying experience?
Flying to the Bahamas in an amphibious seaplane has to be one of my favorite flying experiences. That area of the world is incredibly beautiful. The Bahamian blue water is that much more accessible with a seaplane and getting to see the islands and the water from that perspective is unique and one of a kind. Also, visiting Pig Beach in the Exumas was a total blast!
Recently, at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020, you took a cross country flight and documented the way the US looked at that moment from above, which was rather empty wasn’t it? Tell us a favorite story from this adventure.
Flying across America at the beginning of the pandemic was one of the most magical experiences I have ever had. The skies from coast to coast were mostly empty so we were able to fly over incredible places like the Grand Canyon, which is usually an extremely congested airspace, totally alone. We camped on small airports across the entire country, sometimes sleeping under the wing of our plane, Old Rusty. Experiencing that remarkable aspect of general aviation was life changing. I plan on doing this kind of flying for the rest of my life. One of my biggest goals is to do it in a seaplane, and camp on lakes and rivers across the continent. Some of my favorite flying was over the canyons and winding waterways of Lake Powell and flying low and slow over the Bonneville Salt Flats. Zion, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Canyonlands, the Painted Desert, and Moab were all epic as well. Truly too many amazing places to name, it was the ultimate cross country road trip in the sky. We wrote about it and documented it at Flamp Across America
Do you find it challenging being a woman in a predominantly male profession?
Fortunately, no, I have loved flying with and learning from everyone in this industry so far. More and more women are learning to fly, becoming controllers, and working on planes and I have found it to be inclusive and celebratory.
Blanco, Repo, or Añejo?
Añejo all day! Complex, beautiful, aged to perfection, just like life should be.
What’s your Hiatus?
Any time I am flying an airplane with some camping gear in the back to some unknown, beautiful destination with a good friend and full tanks of fuel.