|Barrington Irving To Set World Record|
March 23, 2007, Opa Locka Airport, at 10:30 a.m. EDT, "Barrington Irving, a 23-year old senior majoring in aerospace at Florida Memorial University, traded his cap and gown for a brown flight suit, climbed into a single-engine plane he calls "Inspiration," and embarked on a round the world flight that will make him the first person of African descent and the youngest person ever to fly solo around the globe."
The aircraft is a single-engine Columbia 400, he will fly from the United States to Spain, France, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, China, Japan and back home again to Miami, Fla.
Barrington Irving is the youngest person to pilot a plane around the world solo. He is also the first Black person and first Jamaican to accomplish this feat. As of 2007, he was an aerospace student at Florida Memorial University. His airplane, a Columbia 400, is named the "Inspiration", and was manufactured and assembled by the Columbia Aircraft Mfg. Co. in 2005, classified as a standard aircraft in the utility category using over $300,000 in donated parts.
Mr. Irving was born November 11, 1983, in Jamaica, and grew up in the Miami, Florida. He is a graduate of Miami Northwestern High School. Mr. Irving turned down multiple football scholarship offers with his sights set on aviation. He later founded Experience Aviation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering minority youth to pursue careers in aviation. His airplane, the "Inspiration", has been registered to Experience Aviation since 2006.
A 23-year old senior at Florida Memorial University in Miami, majoring in aerospace, the young aviator completed his historic world mission in June this year, traveling more than 26,000 miles for 97 days across 27 countries in a single engine Cessna. At the age of 16, Barrington was encouraged to pursue an aeronautical career by a United Airlines pilot he just happened to meet. Capt. Gary Robinson met Barrington in a bookstore and offered him the opportunity to tour Capt. Robinson’s Boeing 777 stationed in Miami. He immediately fell in love with the thought of becoming a pilot. By coincidence, Barrington later met another pilot, Robert Girdler, who owns a Cessna 172 and offered the opportunity to fly every other week.
Back at school, Barrington declined numerous football scholarships to pursue a career in aviation – a decision he does not regret. “The joy and excitement I felt every week with thousands of football fans cheering my team onto the Florida State Championship could not compare to a simple flight in a Cessna 172,” Barrington tells us. “At the time, I did not know how I was going to pay for my flight training but I decided to follow my heart and continued to work with Capt. Robinson to pursue my dream to fly.”
After earning his private pilot license, Barrington began to visit schools and youth centers to speak about career opportunities in aviation. Barrington researched the aviation industry and discovered there is a significant shortage of younger technically skilled professionals. He started a company called Experience Aviation and pushed his message while continuing to work with disadvantaged youth. In the meantime, Barrington received the Florida Memorial University/U.S. Air Force Flight Awareness Scholarship (worth $100,000).
This paid for his flight training and studies at Florida Memorial University. Barrington completed the first year of Air Force ROTC, while earning his instrument rating, commercial license and multi-engine instrument rating. He is currently in his senior year and is completing his certified flight instructor training. In October 2006, Barrington held a press event (complete with the Miami-Dade mayor and several other local leaders attending) to officially open his new learning center, which will house his main educational initiative called Get A Life & Fly. It is designed to provide eight students from low-income families the opportunity to earn their private pilot license while in high school.
In 2003, Barrington developed another idea to spark the minds of impressionable youth. He believed that if he could fly around the world at the age of 21, he would inspire youth to pursue their dreams in aviation and other related fields. If Barrington accomplishes this feat, he will become the youngest pilot, and the first African-American, to fly solo around the World. His chosen aircraft is the high performance, piston-powered Columbia 400. The single-engine, fixed-gear, low-wing general aviation aircraft is built by Bend, OR-based Columbia Aircraft. The mostly composite built airplane is considered one of the fastest FAA-certified piston aircraft in production today, reaching a speed of 235 knots at 25,000 feet.
Attempting a flight around the world is a challenge, but getting sponsorship turned out to be a major hurdle early on. Barrington soon realized many individuals did not believe he was capable of accomplishing the record-setting flight. In the end, however, his project gained much exposure and he was able to gather the necessary funding to make the trip possible. He received his first big break with the Florida Lotto and later Miami Executive Aviation. The Lotto launched a massive advertising campaign profiling Barrington’s trip statewide in more than 100 newspapers and magazines. The organization also filmed a 30-second commercial, which was aired on television during weekly lotto drawings. In total, Barrington has received about $260,000 of financial support. He’ll need every bit of it to make his dream a reality.
The best part of Barrington’s adventure is that you will be able to track his progress online in real-time thanks to Microsoft and Sky Connect LLC. The latter is a small company that has installed over 2,000 satellite tracking and voice systems for general aviation aircraft. SkyConnect has supplied Barrington with such a tracking system (without cost) to help make the online tracking feature a reality. Microsoft Web designers will use the data captured from the tracking system, translate it and then populate an online map with Barrington’s position, speed, direction, and altitude.
Mike Singer, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X Community Team Experience Architect told Avjobs Weekly his team will create the Web interface to be located on Microsoft’s FSInsider.com and Barrington’s Experience Aviation website. “We’ll also provide information on how users can use Flight Simulator to follow in Barrington’s footsteps and fly each leg on their own, using real-world weather,” he tells us. “This will likely include flight plans for each leg, etc.” Singer also advised the Flight Simulator team plans to work with Barrington after his flight to help develop educational packages incorporating Flight Simulator X. “His commitment to education and inspiring young people to careers in aviation is quite impressive for someone of his age,” Singer added.
Thanks to Sky Connect’s Mission Management Unit (MMU) Barrington will also be able to send and receive text messages with children based at various schools. These messages and Microsoft online map will refresh every 5 minutes or so.
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