July 19, 2007

A Young Black Man Soars

At 23, the Youngest Pilot to Solo the Planet

[Sonny] Grasso, one of the two real-life cops depicted in the movie "The French Connection," held a drink high over his head, and asked everyone including Conan O'Brien, who was seated at a nearby table to join him in a toast to Barrington Irving, a 23-year-old pilot from Miami Gardens, Florida.

Mr. Irving, a senior majoring in aeronautical science at Florida Memorial University, completed a solo flight around the world in a single-engine plane last month to become the youngest and first black pilot to accomplish that feat.

"My plane had no radar and no de-icing equipment," said Mr. Irving, enjoying a plate filled with chicken and roasted peppers shortly after the Rao's crowd welcomed him back to earth with a warm ovation. "It was just me up there, alone, flying on gut instinct pretty much the way Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart did it."

Posted by ronn at July 19, 2007 06:57 AM

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