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Case Studies

The youngest man to fly solo round the world
Published 17th July 2007

From BBC News

Barrington Irving Junior, who is 23, landed a small plane in the US state of Florida in late June, three months after starting his journey from the same place.

Barrington explained to Outlook presenter Fred Dove that his motivation had been to combat what he saw as negativity in his community.

"I came up with the idea to fly around the world just to prove a point to other kids in the community that they too can do something amazing in aviation and follow their dreams," he said.

What makes the story even more remarkable is that, in effect, Barrington had to build his own plane.

"No-one wanted to rent me a plane, lease me a plane, let me borrow a plane," he said.

"That's when I came up with the idea of going after the individual components - the engine, the cockpit system and so forth for the Colombia 400 aircraft which I chose and then have it assembled by the aircraft manufacturer.

"First I was able to get the small things and then when I was able to get the engine, it was a snowballing effect.. Everyone wanted to jump on board."

Once the plane had been assembled and despite only having 600 hours flying experience, Barrington set off eastwards, confronting a dangerous flight across the Atlantic rather than an easier flight westwards across the United States.

"It's a good thing I didn't realise what I was getting myself into," he said.

The flights across open water - over eight hours across the Atlantic, nine across the north Pacific - were, according to Barrington, the most hair-raising.

Among the highlights was the food that he tasted in the Mediterranean.

Barrington who originally comes from Jamaica and who moved to Florida when he was six years old, had never previously travelled outside the United States and the Caribbean.

He was inspired by a commercial airline pilot from Jamaica, Captain Gary Robinson, who first showed him round a cockpit when he was 16 and then acted as Barrington's mentor.

On the world trip, Barrington says that he was in touch with Robinson practically every day.

In completing his flight, Barrington also became the first black man and the first Jamaican to fly solo round the world