MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Record-setting pilot Barrington Irving had a triumphant homecoming in Opa-locka as students chanted, “I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky. I think about it every day.”
The students smiled, all eyes focused on the skies, as the pioneering pilot came into range and landed in famous “flying classroom.”
Irving returned Tuesday from an around the world odyssey that stretched across North America, Asia and the South Pacific. Thousands of students joined in on his experiments, including CBS4’s Super Kid Michael Williams.
“Gosh, we spoke when you were in Shang Hai”, Williams exclaimed as he hugged his hero.
Irving told CBS 4’s Chief Investigative Reporter Michele Gillen, “Never would I have imaged we would be inspiring students from all over the world. Students write us, call us, e-mail us.”
Irving was most humbled to be applauded on his heroes, the Tuskegee airmen who turned out and cheered for Irving and his scientific mission.
“It’s an exciting day when you have such intelligent students studying science, engineering and math and the humanities, this is our future,” shared pilot Vernard Gordon.
A graduate of Florida Memorial University, Irving is a teacher and role model who shepherds the careers of so many students. One young girl who got to ask him a question today was thrilled and moved.
“It is a dream meeting him and even getting to ask him a question. I have felt doubt, but now hearing him I know I can do it,” said Kayla Yorks.
His path is an inspiration to fan and supporters, who turned out to mark the occasion and Irving’s mission mission that will forever be in the history books.
In 2007, Irving became the youngest person, at 23, and the first black pilot to fly solo around the globe. On his 97-day journey, he flew 30,000 miles in a single-engine plane called “Inspiration.” He made the trip to show other youth that if he could achieve his dream, they could too.
In 2012, he was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer
Leonard Abess shared, “For especially where we are right now, at the Opa Locka airport, the airport where Amelia Earhart took off from, this is an amazing moment that we all should be proud of.”
Following a long hug from his mother, he promised that with a little rest, he will be ready to get back to work. Most poignantly back to the skies, where he will continue to give flight to dreams.
For more details you can go to www.flyingclassroom.com.