Thought To Be Youngest RTW Solo Pilot
He's home! Wednesday morning,
23-year-old pilot Barrington Irving completed his round-the-world
flight, with a short hop from Orlando, FL down to Miami, where he
started his flight three months before.
Irving circled the Opa-locka Airport, and performed a low pass
before a cheering crowd. He then landed his Columbia 400, and
taxied in as a marching band played nearby.
The Associated Press reports Irving's claim that he is the
youngest pilot to cross the globe solo -- as well as the first of
African descent to do so -- might be difficult to validate. Though
neither claim is in dispute, per se, record-keeping authorities
such as the National Aeronautic Association and Guinness do not
track ethinicity or age when verifying records.
According to the website EarthRounders.com, 255 round-the-world
flights have been made since 1929, including 82 solo endeavors.
There have been younger pilots to make the trip, although all were
accompanied by another person.
As ANN reported, Irving
departed Opa-locka March 23 in his aircraft -- dubbed "Inspiration"
-- on what was originally planned as a one-month trip. Weather
constraints tripled the length of time it took Irving to cross the
globe, however... although the extra time spent on the ground did
give the young aviator a chance to learn more about the places he
During an extended stopover in Newfoundland, Irving wrote in his
online journal "Although I'm a week and a half behind my original
pace I am certainly well rested. Patience is a virtue and I am
taking this opportunity to learn about a different culture that has
Above all, Irving says, his trip was about giving hope to people
who come inner-city backgrounds, just as he did.
"I want to show them they can do more with their lives than
resort to violence!" he wrote on his website. "Anything is
possible. They said I was too young and had no money, but that
hasn't stopped me."
Indeed. As proof of Irving's "can-do" nature, Barrington began
calling aircraft manufacturers four years ago, asking them to
borrow, lease, or donate a plane he could use to make aviation
history. When no one manufacturer said yes, he decided to ask
manufacturers of the various components instead, to donate
individual products to him; he then asked Columbia Aircraft
Manufacturing if they'd agree to assemble the plane if he could
produce the parts.
The rest is history. Over the next year, Irving visited aviation
trade shows throughout the country and secured more than $300,000
in donated components -- including the engine, tires, cockpit
systems, and seats.
Columbia built his airplane -- ready for modification with ferry
fuel tanks -- and Chevron kicked in the fuel while Irving trained
for his trip.