His Training and Instincts Kicked In When It Mattered The Most


After studying aerospace science, and being awarded a $100,000 Florida Memorial University - U.S. Air Force Flight Awareness Scholarship, it seemed that Jamaican-born pilot Barrington Irving was well equipped to reach new heights.

To his surprise, money for school was only the first hurdle.

When Irving set out to become the youngest and first Black pilot to circle the globe, he faced mountains of rejection and doubt.

Over 50 would-be sponsors claimed he was too young and, even with 600 flight hours under his belt, lacked experience for such a journey. Nevertheless, he persevered.

He studied hard and practiced flight routes on his at-home simulator, worked airport jobs, and never gave up hope.

By 2007, he secured the funding, donated aircraft parts, and supportive following necessary to circle the globe.

On March 23, 2007, Irving flew his single-engine plane - named “Inspiration” and equipped with neither radar nor de-icing equipment - around the world in 96 days and into the history books!

He humbly admitted that it wasn’t easy battling loneliness and terrifying weather phenomenons he’d never experienced - but his supporters kept him encouraged.

Today, Irving continues to clear a path for the next generation of Black youth to discover careers of their own in science, engineering, and exploration through his nonprofit organization Experience Aviation.

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