West Ridge student Lindsay Chapman  solos in plane

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Bill Powley congratulates Lindsay Chapman after her first solo flight at the Greeneville airport.

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — Lindsay Chapman is looking to the sky for her future.

On Oct. 16, the 16-year-old junior from the Rock Springs area became the third West Ridge High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFJROTC) cadet to earn solo wings with FLIGHT Foundation.

Chapman received a solo scholarship from her parents, Jeff and Becky, and the State Partnership Grant.

She completed her solo flight with retired Air Force Lt. Col. Bill Powley, a former Sullivan South High School AFJROTC instructor who founded the FLIGHT Foundation.

Chapman soloed in a Cessna 152 at the Greeneville airport with 14.3 hours and became the 247th solo student overall in the FLIGHT Foundation-sponsored High School/College Flight Program, recognized as the best in the nation and by the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame.

“I plan on going into the Air Force as a pilot,” Chapman said, adding that she hopes to attend Middle Tennessee State University or the Air Force Academy. She also may eventually become a civilian pilot after serving in the Air Force.

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“I’ve always been interested in flight, planes and such, because I’ve been on them a bit,” she said of traveling with her family, which, aside from her parents, includes younger sister Lauren Chapman, a West Ridge freshman.

When Chapman was a freshman at Sullivan South High School, which in 2021 merged with Sullivan North and Central High schools to form West Ridge, Savannah Vicars won a scholarship to the Air Force Flight Academy.

That encouraged Chapman to seek her pilot’s license and talk about her plans to South AFJROTC retired Master Sgt. Don Shaver, who oversaw the JROTC program at South and oversees it at West Ridge.

Fast-forward to 2022, when in July Chapman had her first flight. She applied for the Flight Academy and should find out if she made it around Nov. 29. If accepted, she would go to the academy in the summer of 2023.

FLIGHT stands for Flight Lessons Instructional Grants Helping Teens and has facilitated more than 12,000 solo flights.

Powley used to head up the AFJROTC programs in Unicoi County and then South High.