MIAMI – Barrington Irving, the 23-year old pilot who secured his place in history as the youngest and first black pilot to fly solo around the world, will be the featured guest speaker during I Believe I Can Fly, a black history program event hosted by Miami Dade College (MDC) on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 at the Homestead Campus.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica and longtime Miami resident, Irving began his historic 97-day journey on June 27, 2007. He flew 30,000 miles in a single-engine aircraft called “Inspiration” — encountering thunderstorms, snow storms, monsoons, and more throughout the trip. He said his reason for making the trip was to show other youth that if he could achieve his dream, they can too. At 15, Irving believed his only route to college was a football scholarship, until he met Capt. Gary Robinson, a Jamaican airline pilot who motivated him to pursue a career in aviation.
In 2003, Irving founded the Miami-based nonprofit organization Experience Aviation, Inc. (EA) to introduce other young people to career opportunities in the field. Three years later, he opened the EA Learning Center to provide middle and high school students with aviation-related programs that include career guidance. In the summer of 2007, the Center launched a 10-week program titled Build & Soar that gave 60 students the opportunity to construct a Zenith XL aircraft.
Barrington Irving, the 23-year old pilot who secured his place in history as the youngest and first black pilot to fly solo around the world.
This past summer, 50 middle and high school students participated in EA’s nine-week “Discover Aviation” program, co-sponsored by Chevron and the City of Miami. Among Irving’s many awards is a 2007 Congressional Resolution, acknowledging his historic achievement and pioneering work in the field of aviation education. He is also the recipient of the highest honor, the Medallion of Excellence, given by the Florida State Senate.
The event will be held at Miami Dade College Homestead Campus, 500 College Terrace, Room F-222
on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.