Twenty three year-old Captain Barrington Irving, Jr., landed at the Opa Locka Airport in Miami, on (June 27), accomplishing his 97-day solo world mission.
“I am home, I am proud to be Jamaican and I am happy to have lived out my dream in Miami,” the Jamaican born Captain said. Captain Irving, who is the youngest and first black person to fly solo around the world, told the many well wishers and supporters who welcomed him, that his mission was to inspire and uplift inner city children, some of whom were present, so that they too could dream and fulfill their purpose in life.
Yesterday was also declared ‘Barrington Irving Day’ by Miami-Dade Commissioner, Barbara Jordan, who cheered him on before presenting a proclamation from the City of Miami. He was also awarded the Keys to the City of Miami.
Encountering snowstorms, sandstorms, monsoons and even hurricanes, Captain Irving began his mission on March 23, and it took him across 27 countries. Aloun Assamba, Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, was among the many officials on hand to congratulate Captain Irving.
The Minister extended congratulations to him, describing as special, his decision to use this venture as a leadership exercise.
Captain Irving is also founder of the Experience Aviation Learning Centre, a non-profit learning centre, located at the Opa Locka Airport, which he started early last year to help motivate inner city young persons to pursue careers in the aviation industry. As a mentor and role model in schools, colleges and churches, he has dedicated his time volunteering to uplift other young persons, for which the Minister commended him, noting that, “our migration to other countries over the years have enriched them socially, economically and culturally.”
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller also extended congratulations to Captain Irving. She spoke of the determination, optimism and courage exhibited by the young Jamaican aviator, indicating that “his bold mission has made us proud and brought glory to his country.” In her message, Mrs. Simpson Miller said his success at this grand mission has demonstrated to the world, that dreams could be accomplished with hard work and endurance.
Consul General, Ricardo Allicock described Captain Irving as “an ambassador for all human potential and possibility.”
Captain Irving was born in Jamaica and migrated with his parents to the USA at an early age. He studied aeronautical science at Florida Memorial College in Miami, while he made plans to embark on the mission. He expressed appreciation to his many sponsors through which he was able to raise almost US$1 million, which included acquiring the aircraft, a Lancair Columbia 400 single engine, for the historic mission.
According to recorded data, a 34 year-old German was the last person to tackle a solo world mission in 1996. Earlier, an 11 year-old boy flew around the world, but he was accompanied by his father.