Shelby Lashley aspires to fly for US Military


Shelby Lashley 11 flies a Cessna 172 over Larkspur, Colorado. “Once you get above 5000-6000 feet, birds aren’t really an issue, as they don’t tend to fly up that high,” Lashley said. “You’re always on the lookout whenever you make a turn, so you always look, just like if you were in a car. It’s more of a 180 look instead of just left and right.”

Anthony Steffens, Ranger Review Reporter


Shelby Lashley 11 is a pilot in training at the Air Force Academy. She has been flying since she was 10 and hopes to pilot as a job. 

“My hope in life is to become a military pilot,” Lashley said. “So my plan right now is to hopefully get in and go to the Air Force Academy or possibly the Naval Academy.”

Flying for Lashley isn’t as difficult as it seems to the untrained eye. The Cessna 172s she flies are easier to pilot than it is to drive a car in her experience.

“You don’t notice the height as much in the plane as I think you would on the ground. It’s very surreal,” Lashley said. “It’s a lot to pay attention to, you very much have to be aware of your surroundings.”

Her father is a pilot and flight instructor himself, which gave her the opportunity to fly at a young age. 

“I took my first lesson when I was 10,” Lashley said. “It was the first time I had personally handled the controls of an airplane. That really sparked a love for flying.”

Another passion of Lashley’s that was inspired by her father is karate. Her dad had a black belt when he was young, so passed on the interest to his daughters.

“He has always wanted for my sister and I to find a place where we can get comfortable and learn some self defense and many of the skills that he has,” Lashley said.

She has an interest in history along with flying and karate, and uses historical figures to guide her own life.

“I love looking at the past and seeing what people have accomplished, and using that to motivate and inspire me,” Lashley said. “To go achieve my own goals and dreams.” 

Lashley’s historical interests focus on the 1940’s and especially female pilots. One of these is Jackie Cochran, founder of the WASP program in World War 2. The WASPs are Women Airforce Service Pilots that performed noncombat duties during the war.

“She’s a really big inspiration in my life,” Lashley said. “We can do it. Just because they say, ‘oh, it’s not gonna be easy,’ we knew that from the start.”