May 16, 2007

23-Year Old Blackman Flies Around the World

Villagers, you may recall that we posted a message in late March 2007 about a 23-year old Black man that was flying around the world in a single engine plane. Barrington Irving will set two world records when he returns to Miami later this month --> he will become the first African American and the youngest person ever to fly solo around the globe.

He recently passed the halfway mark when he landed his single-engine aircraft in Calcutta, India, seven weeks after taking off from Miami on March 23rd where 3000 schoolchildren, well-wishers, local officials, and press gathered for the takeoff. In his Lancair Columbia 400, the veritable Ferrari of small aircraft, Irving is traversing four continents, clocking more than 130 hours of flight time on a "World Flight Adventure" that includes stops in the Azores, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Dubai, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan before returning him to the U.S. via Alaska.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in inner-city Miami, Irving's purpose in making the flight is to inspire inner-city and minority youth, and other youth throughout the nation, to consider pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace. He named his plane "Inspiration," he said, "...because that's what I want my historic venture to be for young people. They can look at me and realize that if I can achieve my dream, they can too."

Irving himself was inspired when, at age 15, he met Jamaican airline pilot Captain Gary Robinson, who asked him what he was doing with his life. The next day, Robinson took him on a tour of the cockpit of the United Airlines Boeing 777 he flew and the young man was hooked - he wanted to become a pilot.

He began by washing planes and working odd jobs to pay for flying lessons, turned down college football scholarships and enrolled in a local community college to study aeronautics. He was awarded a joint Air Force/Florida Memorial University Flight Awareness Scholarship and transferred to the university, where he excelled in academics and flight training courses. By age 19, he had earned his Private Pilot and Flight Instructor licenses and his Commercial and Instrument Ratings.

Irving is scheduled to fly from Japan to Alaska on May 21st, the 80th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's takeoff from New York on his successful effort to become the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The young pilot is following in the tradition of Lindbergh, his heroes the Tuskegee Airmen, and his mentors Erik Lindbergh (grandson of Charles Lindbergh), Steve Fossett, and Dick Rutan, who support his efforts to inspire youth as he joins the ranks of record-setting aviators.

"I wish I had a chance to bring every child tracking the flight on my adventure, but I will be carrying all their hearts with me in the plane," Irving said when he left Miami. "This is what fuels me-having youth believe in what I can do, so they can also begin to believe in themselves."

Villagers, this is an inspiring story. I encourage you to pass along information about this historic event to others!


James said...

Wow, what a lesson, "What are you doing with your life" a tour of the cockpit and noe making history!The power of a role model.I wonder if his football was like the world cup variety or American?

Natalie said...

You never know what little encouragement you give will end up changing history. What an inspiration!

Villager said...

James - I assumed it was American football as the information was sourced from American newspapers. An American paper would have called it 'soccer' if it had been so. Just my thought. Anyhow, thanks for visiting our village!

Natalie - There is enough negativity in the world. I try to share some uplifting information whenever possible. Thanks for visiting us here in the Electronic Village!

peace, Villager

Bygbaby said...

Awesome story! Thanks for sharing.


Villager said...

Bygbaby - It was a pleasure. My father is an avid pilot. I never took much joy out of the hobby ... but, I can respect what this young 23-year old brother is doing. Anyhow, I appreciate your visit to our Electronic Village!

peace, Villager