Young Black Pilot Attempts to Make History

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Second graders of Gadsden County's George Munroe Elementary looked in amazement as Barrington Irvin came in for a landing.

"Not only is he African-American, but he is young. You don't have to wait until you are elderly to do some of these things. We are just so glad he is doing something positive," said Sandra Allen, an instructor with George Munroe Elementary.

Irving will turn 23 years old in November. He was born in Jamaica, but grew up in Miami's inner city. He aspired to become an aviator at age 15, but saw money as an obstacle.

"I went to the local airport in Miami and washed planes in exchange for money to pay for flight lessons, or in exchange for flight ride," said Irving.

Persistence paid off as Irving earned a pilot's license. His sights are now set on becoming the first African-American to fly solo around the world.

"As a pilot flying around the world, you have got to get permission from all these different countries because there are hostile countries that will shoot you down if you fly over their airspace," said pilot Michael Jordan.

Irving says support from friends and his faith will carry him through when his makes his 45-day journey across the globe in April.

"It is just something about flying. When you are flying, you are between heaven and earth. It is a pretty nice place to be," added Irving.

Next year Irving will earn a college degree in aeronautical science from Florida Memorial University.


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