Monsoon season in Southeast Asia has kept Barrington Irving detained in Dubai for over two weeks despite efforts to forge ahead in his historic attempt to become the youngest person and first African American to fly solo around the world.
The 23-year-old Miami-based pilot, who spoke at York College in late March at the outset of his voyage, had to wait out the seasonal winds and heavy rains that blew across the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea rather than make his way to India on Wednesday, May 2 as originally planned.
“I’m squared away to depart from Dubai, but have one big problem and it’s known as weather,” Irving wrote on his blog on Thursday, May 3.
Once in India Irving had prepared to stop in Bombay and Calcutta before heading east to Hong Kong. A storm off the southern coast of Thailand poised to cross his proposed flight path forced a change of plans, however.
“After evaluating the situation with my flight team. I decided to wait in Dubai until the storms diminish, then pick up a rapid pace through India to Hong Kong,” he wrote.
Nevertheless, Irving recognized that some things were out of his control.
“As you’ve seen from my previous experiences, a key part of flying is decision making. In this case, the unforgiving weather in the region is helping to make decisions for me.”
None of the fans following Irving’s trip, from students and teachers to fellow pilots, native Jamaicans and countless others, held this latest delay, or any other, against him. Instead, many have offered praise and support throughout the trip in the form of comments posted to his blog.
And while Irving’s friends, friends of friends and complete strangers have been tracking the young pilot’s trip, one recent posting from Trecia Rolle was particularly poignant:
This is Mrs. Rolle, your 8th grade Biology teacher from Norland Middle School! To say that I am so proud of you is such an understatement!! I have been tracking your progress and I am just blown away by your courage and passion to make a difference in this world…When I first heard the news reporter talking about your journey, I was getting ready for work. I was mesmerized because I said to myself, could that be my Barrington? …Imagine my surprise, pride and pleasure when I discovered that it was. It bought tears to my eyes!
At press time it appeared that Irving’s next opportunity to take off from Dubai would be Wednesday, May 9. “I’ll be back in the cockpit soon, however, taking all of you with me in spirit, so get ready to fasten your seat belts!” he wrote.
To track Irving’s flight, read his blog, view photos or make a donation visit www.experienceaviation.org.