Young Florida Pilot Completes Solo Circumnavigation
Barrington Irving landed his Columbia 400 at Florida's Opa-Locka Airport Wednesday at 10:26 a.m., completing his round-the-world flight as -- unofficially -- the youngest person and first person of African descent to fly solo around the world. Irving, 23, launched from Florida in March, and flew up the East Coast and across the Atlantic. He stopped in Europe, the Middle East, India, Japan and Alaska, before heading back across the U.S. He covered about 25,600 miles in just over three months. Irving grew up in Miami but he was born in Jamaica, and Jamaican nationals greeted him at airports around the world. Upon landing Wednesday morning, he was greeted by a crowd that included local politicians and a steel-drum band. At launch, Irving had expected to make the trip in just 37 days, but weather caused multiple delays. He waited in Japan for two weeks for flyable weather across the North Pacific. He wrote in his blog that the delays gave him some time to explore local cultures. Irving is a graduate student at Florida Memorial University and works on Experience Aviation, a Saturday morning program he started to teach children about flying. He has said that he hopes his flight will inspire other young people to resist the negative influences of the streets and work toward their dreams. It's unclear whether Irving has set any "official" records. The National Aeronautic Association does not track aviation records by age or ethnicity.