|Commentary: Proud day for Jamaicans, Caribbean natives and black people everywhere!|
|Published on Friday, June 29, 2007||Email To Friend Print Version|
|By Anthony L Hall
Jamaican Barrington Irving, a 23-year old aerospace student, flew into the history books on Wednesday. Because, when he landed his private plane in Miami, Irving became not only the youngest pilot but also the first black person to fly solo around the world.
According to Flight Tracker, Irving took off on his global quest on March 23, when he flew from Florida to Cleveland. He continued on to New York and St. John’s, Canada and then, on April 7, flew across the Atlantic and landed in Europe at Santa Maria in the Azores. From there he made several stops in Europe – including Athens, Greece – before landing in Cairo, Egypt on April 19.
From there Irving made a couple stops in the Middle East – including Dubai, UAE – before heading off to Asia, where he landed in Mumbai, India on May 9. He then made several stops throughout that region – including Taipei, Taiwan – before crossing the Pacific and returning to America by landing in Shemya, Alaska on June 9.
From there he began his home stretch – making a few stops in places like Denver, Colorado and Houston, Texas (the home of NASA, where he seems destined). And he finally ended his 3-month, 27, 000-mile “world flight adventure” on Wednesday at the Opa-locka Executive Airport in Miami, Florida.
However, in addition to demonstrating his remarkable mental and physical skills, this historic feat will also vindicate Irving’s undaunted ambition. After all, instead of having the latest in aviation technology to allay understandable concerns about the airworthiness of his plane, this daring aviator/engineer relied on a single-engine plane he built himself from donated spare parts.
(Imagine the fright he must have suffered flying this rinky-dink plane through the heavy turbulence and inclement weather he says he encountered along several legs of his flight.)
“I think this shows it doesn’t matter where you come from, what you have or what you don’t have.” [Barrington Irving – addressing throngs of students who greeted him in Houston last Saturday]
Therefore, here’s to Barrington Irving joining the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Adrian Kisovec and other pioneers in the pantheon of aviation.