pilot completes round-the-world flight
[June 29] BOSTON, US--A 23-year-old pilot by the name of Barrington
Irving has become the youngest person to fly around the world
The 23-year-old pilot flew a single-engine plane
and finished his three month trip on Wednesday. He circled the Opa-locka
airport and flew along the runway for the crowd before coming in
for his final landing. Irving is an aerospace student who built
his plane from $300,000 worth of donated parts.
Honorary welcome Solo pilot Barrington Irving, 23, receives an honorary
welcome after landing at Opa-locka Airport . It took Irving three
months to fly his Columbia Lancair round the globe visiting four
continents. (AFP Getty Images/Robert Sullivan)
to enlarge photo)
"I am home, I am proud to be Jamaican and I am
happy to have lived out my dream in Miami," the Jamaican born Captain
"They told me I was too young. They told me I
didn't have enough money and that I couldn't do this, that I don't
have the wisdom, the strength or the experience. They told me I
would never come back home," Irving, the world's youngest and first
black man to set two world records by flying solo around the globe,
said in Opa-Locka Airport in Miami.
Captain Irving, who is the youngest and first
black person to fly solo around the world, told the many well wishers
and supporters who welcomed him, that his mission was to inspire
and uplift inner city children, some of whom were present, so that
they too could dream and fulfill their purpose in life.
Spectacular landing Miami Dade Fire Dept firetrucks shoot water
canons as Barrington Irving, 23, taxis his plane upon arrival at
Opalocka Airport. (Sun-Sentinel/Angel Valentin)
here to enlarge photo)
Encountering snowstorms, sandstorms, monsoons
and even hurricanes, Captain Irving began his mission on March 23,
and it took him across 27 countries.
Captain Irving was born in Jamaica and migrated
with his parents to the USA at an early age. He studied aeronautical
science at Florida Memorial College in Miami, while he made plans
to embark on the mission. He expressed appreciation to his many
sponsors through which he was able to raise almost US$1 million,
which included acquiring the aircraft, a Lancair Columbia 400 single
engine, for the historic mission.
Irving is an aerospace student who built his plane from
$300,000 worth of donated parts. He departed the Miami-area on March
23rd to begin his three-month trip around the world. The plane is
called “Inspiration.” Irving claims he is the first black person
and youngest person ever to complete the journey around the world
Returning two months later than expected and
at a cost of US$2 million, the young pilot has followed in the tradition
of Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic
According to recorded data, a 34 year-old German
was the last person to tackle a solo world mission in 1996. Earlier,
an 11 year-old boy flew around the world, but he was accompanied
by his father.
While aviation experts do not chart records by
age or ethnicity, Nathan Rohrbaugh, an assistant in record keeping
at the National Aeronautic Association, said he didn't know of any
younger pilots or black pilots to make a similar trip. Neither did
earthrounders.com, an unofficial organization that tracks solo flights
around the globe and supported Irving's trip.
Irving said his trip on Inspiration was to show
younger people that they can do anything, if they believed and worked
Irving said he now wants to return to his studies
at Florida Memorial University. And he's ready for a difficult,
but more personal challenge: learning how to swim.