As you read this, a young pilot named
Barrington Irving is making his final preparations
to depart on a once-in-a lifetime journey
to promote aviation careers. His mission
is to fly around the World to meet with
children to discuss the various career possibilities
in aviation and aerospace. The physical
demands of Barrington's aeronautical feat
are impressive but even more so when you
also consider the importance of his journey.
After all, this young pilot wants to inspire
kids to dream and plan for their future.
Best of all, you'll be able to virtually
fly along with him thanks to some valuable
help from high-tech supporters.
We'll talk more about the virtual side
of Barrington's trip in just a bit. First,
however, let's explore the fire within Barrington
that pushes him to fly around the world
He tells us that it's about showing kids
(and the adults alike) that aviation is
more than just a mode of transportation.
“It's a lifestyle for many of us,” he explains.
Born To Fly
The eldest of three brothers, Barrington
was born on November 11, 1983 in Kingston,
Jamaica. At the age of six, he moved to
Miami, Fla.'s inner city. Despite the prevalence
of drugs and crime, Barrington chose to
follow the positive standard of living set
by several role models in his life. In addition
to recognizing his father's hard work and
dedication to succeed, the young boy was
further motivated by the elder Irving's
sacrifice to help him get an education.
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
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.
While only 21 years old, Barrington's
future goals include becoming a commercial
airline pilot, developing an educational
institution that will inspire youth to pursue
careers in aviation and aerospace, and continuing
to enhance minority achievements in aviation.
“As a volunteer in the Miami area, I find
the greatest career challenges facing today's
youth is that they are uninformed, misinformed,
and lack self-confidence,” Barrington claims.
“Some career counselors only introduce jobs
that aren't technical and challenging. Many
youth are afraid to think outside the box
and venture into career fields like the
aviation/aerospace industry.” By reaching
5 percent of America's youth, Barrington
believes he can create a significant change
for today's kids.
To learn more about Barrington Irving
and track his record-setting flight, please
visit his website at
www.experienceaviation.org and click
on the video screen tp the right to watch
an interview with Barrington.
Next Stop - The World
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.
A Virtual Adventure
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 AvjobsWeekly his team will
create the Web interface to be located on
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.
It's fair to say the 22 year-old pilot has
a lot of work ahead of him but Barrington
Irving understands that every bit of effort
helps. “I've learned the following three
things,” he explains. “Great ideals are
easy to conceive but hard to deliver; Keep
knocking on doors and eventually the door
of opportunity will open; and Persistence
and passion is the fuel necessary to drive
any great dream. Kids either have no idea
of the career opportunities in the aeronautic
field or have a lot of misconceptions, especially
when a piloting career is discussed. There
is no doubt aviation is a unique field but
often times our kids must be encouraged
and lack the self confidence to pursue something
totally different from their friends. Any
career is attainable by any child. The sky
is the limit!”