Enshrined November 9, 2013
Following his retirement from the Air Force, Lt. Col. Bill Powley began teaching Junior ROTC classes at Unicoi County High School, in Erwin, Tennessee. It was his vision that established the Flight Lesson Instructional Grants Helping Teens (F.L.I.G.H.T.) program which has allowed over six thousand students to take to the air on orientation flights; more than 110 solos; over 2,500 flight hours and more than 100 service projects while instilling professionalism, work ethic and discipline in his students. The F.L.I.G.H.T. program is now in place at Sullivan South High School where Col. Powley provides the foundation for flight instruction as well as pivotal scholarships for the students. His dedication to the students and program, and efforts as a teacher and mentor has launched the careers of countless students while making a lifelong impact on their lives. Through action and accountability, Col. Powley instills integrity into the students, embodied by his classroom motto “Deeds not Words.”
In 2010, Col. Powley was awarded the prestigious A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year Award, by the National Aviation Hall of Fame. That same year he was the first recipient of the Aviation Person of the Year award by the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2011 he was selected as the recipient of the Career Contributions to Aviation Award by the State of Tennessee Aeronautics Division.
Col. Powley is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a Vietnam veteran fighter pilot with extensive experience in the F-4, A-7 and F-16 aircraft, totaling 347 combat missions.
Powley is active in the community as a member of the Kiwanis, Rotary, and Ruritan clubs and the USAF Academy Association of Graduates, Air Force Association, Daedalians, River Rats, and American Legion.