First black pilot to circle the globe inspires DFW students

FORT WORTH — A modern day aviation hero took the stage at Dunbar High Monday, to inspire students to pursue STEM education.

The “Dream & Soar” event presented by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, brought Barrington Irving to the school. Back in 2007, he became the youngest person to ever fly around the world solo.

“Growing up I had no interest in aviation,” said Irving. “I was a high school football star until one day I met an airline pilot randomly in a store who changed my life. I was unaware of the opportunities in aviation and because of that chance meeting I honestly was able to change my life in a great way.”

That life-changing moment inspired him to try to be that figure for other kids. One way he does that is through his story. Besides becoming the youngest aviator to circle the globe, Barrington was also the first black man to ever accomplish that feat.

It might sound crazy, but it took over a century in the history of flying before Barrington broke that barrier. To him, that accentuates all the other barriers left to be shattered.

“When I became the first black man to fly around the world, I was honestly shocked,” Irving said. “I was thinking for sure someone had to have done it before. So there are all these different records that are still meant to be broken and to be exceeded and what happens during that process is you end up inspiring a different group of people each and every single time.”

Well, with 21st Century pioneers like Barrington Irving inspiring the way, the next generation is all set to take to the skies and beyond, and finish breaking every last barrier and record.