Capt. Barrington Irving, the only black pilot to complete a solo flight around the world, visited Moore County recently to speak at a reception presented by Scholastic Education and the Moore County Airport Authority. About 40 people, most of them local educators, attended the event.
Irving arrived in a Mitsubishi MU-2, a twin-engine turboprop aircraft that is being converted to a STEM “maker space.”
“You guys may be the only educational group to see this plane in its original form,” he said of the high-wing aircraft. A "flying classroom", the aircraft will soon be separated into four quadrants where Irving and his crew will conduct STEM-based learning activities with teachers and students across the country.
“This plane allows us to fly to rugged regions around the world,” Irving said. “We’re preparing to conduct expeditions in Iceland, as well as Central America and South America that will be STEM-focused and STEM-based.”
Irving, 33, is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. He became the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the world in 2007, a record he held until it was broken by a younger pilot in 2012.
He praised Moore County Airport as a “a dynamic resource” for the community.
“They’re doing some amazing things locally in the airport,” he said.
The airport announced it will partner with Moore County Schools to present an aviation-themed camp for students this summer.
“This airport is a 500-acre STEM lab,” said Bob Zschoche, chairman of the Moore County Airport Authority. “That’s how we have to look at things like this. It is a laboratory for the kids to come out and do things. Aviation, flying, getting (planes) off the ground — it’s all about the principals you learn in schools under STEM.”
The camp is the latest in a series of educational initiatives sponsored by the airport, which recently announced it is also collaborating with Sandhills Community College to create a Career Pilot Degree program.