Riley Mosier, 22, recently became the fifth East Tennessee State University student to earn “solo wings” with the FLIGHT Foundation, a scholarship program that gives students a chance to learn to fly.

Under the instruction of retired Air Force pilot Col. Bill Powley, Mosier soloed in a Cessna 152 at the Greeneville airport on Dec. 20.

Mosier, who recently graduated from ETSU with a degree in finance, recently spoke with the Press to tell us more about his experience.

What was it like to fly a plane for the first time?

Flying a plane is just as exciting as you would think. It is a feeling that you cannot get anywhere else. It’s just a constant feeling of freedom.

How did Col. Bill Powley’s guidance help you?

Col. Bill Powley is a retired Air Force fighter pilot. He is the president of the FLIGHT Foundation, giving high school and college students an opportunity to afford the training to learn to fly. He graciously gave my youth group at church what he calls an “introductory flight.” Basically, he just takes us up, in groups of three and flies around for about 30 minutes. After the flight, I “caught the bug” and just wanted to fly some more.

What drew you to the FLIGHT program?

This scholarship is for students only, providing them an affordable way to fly and learn to fly. Many people don’t realize the largest hurdle to flight lessons is the price, so this opportunity couldn’t be missed.

What lessons can someone take from flying?

Mainly the development of attention to detail and the ability to make very important and serious decisions in stressful situations.

What are your plans moving forward after recently graduating from ETSU?

Graduating from ETSU has been one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the help of my God, my parents and my girlfriend Emily. Without their support and encouragement, the past four years would have been much more difficult than it already was.

I recently accepted a job with Citizens Bank in Elizabethton, Tennessee, so I intend to spend a significant amount of time there. More than likely, my flying career will end with my private pilot license, allowing me to fly by myself and friends and family at our pleasure. I believe this will allow me to make future career decisions if my path changes.