Renowned aviator Barrington Irving gave an inspiring message about aviation as a career to hundreds of middle and high school students from central Florida today at the NBAA Convention. In 2007, at just 23, Irving flew solo around the world in a Columbia 400, dubbed Inspiration because he had to ask individual suppliers for donated parts so he could afford the airplane. After flying more than 30,000 miles without radar or anti-icing systems, he became the first African American and the youngest person to fly solo around the world.
“It will be the only classroom in the world capable of reaching 41,000 feet in 18 minutes,” said record-setting pilot and educator Barrington Irving yesterday at the launch of his latest endeavor, known as “Classroom in the Sky.” The project, an initiative of Irving’s non-profit Experience Aviation, will attempt to expose millions of students to aviation by allowing them to interact with him during a planned around-the-world flight, which will take him to all seven continents.
NBAA is again hosting a general session focusing on careers in business aviation targeted at middle- and high-school students. The event, to be held November 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Orange County Convention Center, is designed to inspire young people to consider aviation careers. Keynote speaker is Barrington Irving, ambassador for the Mitsubishi/Barrington Irving Dream & Soar: Youth in Aviation program, which emphasizes study in science and math.
Barrington Irving, founder of Experience Aviation, will use a donated Embraer Phenom 100 light jet as a flying classroom to encourage students to pursue education in science, technology, engineering and math (Stem). Entrepreneur and philanthropist Fabio Alexander is providing the jet, with “continuing support” covered by Embraer, for Experience Aviation’s “Journey for Knowledge” program.
Some 50 students from a Las Vegas magnet school crowded the Mitsubishi MU-2 exhibit to hear Barrington Irving describe his around-the-world flight in a Columbia 400, in his own words.
When 23-year-old Barrington Irving needed flight handling and fuel sourcing for his 26,800-mile flight around the world, Universal Weather & Aviation chairman Greg Evans offered to donate his company’s services. Irving, who founded nonprofit Experience Aviation to promote aviation careers, flew a modified Columbia 400 with 160 gallons of usable fuel, departing from Miami on March 23 and returning on June 27.