The morning of June 27 was sticky even by South Florida standards, but that didn't dissuade hundreds of supporters and sponsors from coming out to cheer the return of a young pilot who has written a new page for the history books. Drummers, singers and dancers performed in advance of the ceremonial arrival, when a small Columbia 400 buzzed the crowd at Opa Locka Airport near Miami. 23-year-old Barrington Irving completed an around-the-world solo flight -- and unofficially became the youngest and first black pilot ever to do so.
Barrington Irving waves to fans after completing an around the world solo flight, making him unofficially the youngest and first black pilot to do so.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Miami's inner city, Barrington tenaciously created a support system of sponsors to make his plane, named "Inspiration", a reality. On March 23 he took off -- destined to see the world and to inspire young people along the way. His then-new passport is now filled with stamps from Italy, Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Japan and more. Each stamp represents a memory immortalized.
His mentor, United Airlines pilot Carl Robinson, inspired Barrington to dream. Now Barrington is inspiring others and showing by example that not even the sky is the limit.
Click here to listen to Barrington talk about how he overcame obstacles to fulfill his dream. In this "own words" Web-exclusive video, he also describes the beauty he saw and the turbulence he experienced during his trip.
Barrington Irving and his father Barrington Irving, Sr., at an arrival celebration after the 23-year-old returned from an around the world solo flight.