Barrington Irving, 23, about to become the first African American and the youngest person ever to fly solo around the world will make an official stopover at York College, Monday, March 26, 2007, from noon – 2 p.m. to address students from the CUNY Aviation Institute at York College and well wishers. Irving will arrive at Republic Airport from Miami Sunday, flying to Canada and overseas after his visit to York. Flying the world’s fastest single-engine piston aircraft in production today, built with donated parts, Irving will traverse four continents over the next 5-6 weeks, stopping over in 23 locales including the Azores, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Dubai, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan before returning him to the U.S. via Alaska.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in inner-city Miami, Irving began by washing planes and working odd jobs to pay for flying lessons. 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.
His 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.”