Source AP ©

Jamaican-born pilot to be youngest to fly around the world solo

Jamaican-born pilot who is only 23-year old is expected to arrive Wednesday in Florida, capping a three-month journey he said would make him the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe alone in a plane.

Barrington Irving plans to land Wednesday morning in Opa-locka, the Miami area city from where he left March 23 in a single-engine Columbia 400 built of donated parts. He was optimistic his 27,000-mile (43,450-kilometer), continent-hopping trip aboard the "Inspiration" would live up to the plane's name and motivate young people - especially inner-city minorities.

"I want to show them they can do more with their lives than resort to violence!" he wrote on his Web site. "Anything is possible. They said I was too young and had no money, but that hasn't stopped me."

Irving claims to be the youngest pilot and first black person to complete the journey alone, though it was unclear how those potential records would be validated.

The National Aeronautic Association, the aviation record-keeping authority in the U.S., does not track pilots' age, sex or ethnicity, said Nathan Rohrbaugh, who helps coordinate records at the organization.

There is no Guinness World Record category for the youngest pilot to circle the globe and that record-keeping authority generally does not note accomplishments by a person's race. Still, Irving can submit his feat for consideration.

The Web site EarthRounders.com, which tracks round-the-world flights, lists 255 journeys, including 82 solo trips since 1929. The trip has been done in far less time than Irving, and even by pilots far younger, though they had company in the cockpit.

Irving was born in Jamaica and grew up in Miami and said he saw little chance for success until he met a Jamaican-American pilot at his parents' Christian bookstore when he was 15.

The pilot took Irving to see a Boeing 777 and he was mesmerized. He turned down college football scholarships to become a pilot.

The Florida Memorial University student has private and commercial pilot licenses and founded Experience Aviation, a Miami-based organization that encourages minority youths to pursue aviation careers.

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