Who We Are

"Flight Lesson Instructional Grants Helping Teens" (FLIGHT) Foundation has been established in Tennessee for students of all ages. The non-profit chartered foundation was formed to provide funding to ensure the continuance of an already proven and established aerospace education program in Air Force Junior ROTC at Unicoi County High School. In 2002 the program moved to Sullivan County, and in 2018 relocated to Greene County. Since April 1992, we have made 4484 flights with 12,511 students for orientation flights, most by retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Bill Powley, a former F-4, A-7, F-16 fighter pilot and Vietnam veteran, and all sponsored by grants/donations. In 1999, the foundation, founded in 1998, received a NASA grant, and from 2000-2018 a Tennessee Aeronautics Division grant. Current grantees include FedEx, Ray Foundation, and a new Tennessee State Partnership Grant. This grant money is used along with funds from local, regional, and national donations to sponsor the flight program. Since September 1996, 255 students have earned their solo wings (from 31 different high schools, home-schooled, and eight colleges) and since 2002 thirty-seven students have received their private pilot's license.

In June 1998, the first solo cadet went to the Air Force Academy (USAFA), and since then a total of eight solo students have received appointments to USAFA, three to West Point and one to Annapolis. Eighteen solo students have enrolled in the flight program at Middle Tennessee State University as professional pilots and several at other colleges including Embry-Riddle, Purdue, Auburn, and Liberty. In 2010, Col Powley won the top aerospace science instructor in the nation (A. Scott Crossfield Award), the Tennessee Aviation Person of the Year (first recipient) Award, in 2011 the Tennessee Career Contributions to Aviation Award, and in 2013 was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame for this program. With emphasis needed on math and science skills, character education, discipline, leadership, team building, and motivation, this program provides an excellent opportunity to accomplish all of these goals as well as provide the basis for future careers in aviation and service to our country in the Armed Forces. For further information, including briefings on the program, contact the foundation at: 1 Three Springs Lane, Unicoi, TN 37692. Phone (423) 502-1605, or email billpowley45@gmail.com. See our contact page for driving directions to Greenville Greene County Municipal Airport.

Last Revised: 3-29-23.

fig. 1: Lieutenant Colonel Bill Powley and Students from Innovation Academy
fig. 2: Lieutenant Colonel Bill Powley


Bill Powley

Lieutenant Colonel Bill Powley


Fain Bennett

Fain Bennett