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Flying Classroom Pilot Barrington Irving Meets with American Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy

Miami Educator Stops in Tokyo to Discuss STEM+ Global Teaching Project

Barrington Irving, who holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world, met with United States Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, at the American Embassy in Tokyo to talk about his groundbreaking educational project, the Flying Classroom (flyingclassroom.com). He attended the meeting as a guest of Jamaica’s Ambassador to Japan, Ricardo Allicock.

Launched from Washington, D.C. on September 23rd, the Flying Classroom is making stops in 13 countries this fall on the first of three global trips. During each trip, Captain Irving, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, carries out ground, air, and sea expeditions designed to teach students about real-life life applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, History, Geography and Humanities (STEM+).

“Captain Irving is helping to solve one of the major challenges that teachers face, which is figuring out how to captivate the imaginations of our children and bring classroom material to life. I was delighted to have the opportunity to learn about his work,” said Ambassador Kennedy.

“He is an inspiration to students,” said Ambassador Allicock. “His Flying Classroom engages them so they each feel like they’re getting special attention. He gives them access to science and math-related adventures they would never experience on their own.”

Many students in the U.S. are following this first-ever interactive STEM+ learning adventure through a school curriculum; others have access to Captain Irving’s travels and expeditions through videos and a blog on the flyingclassroom.com website. Flying Classroom expeditions include learning how to build sustainable cities in Shanghai; diving to see the condition of coral reefs in Bali; and gathering poisonous snake venom in Palau that will be used in medicines that can save lives.

Irving, who was born in Jamaica in 1983 and raised in inner-city Miami, saw football as his route to college until, at age 15, he was introduced to aviation by a Jamaican airline pilot. In launching the Flying Classroom, Irving’s goal was to help students discover their passion for a particular subject and career just as his pilot mentor had done for him.

To reach each destination on the trip, Irving is flying Inspiration III, a Hawker 400XP jet aircraft provided by title sponsor Executive Air Services in Miami. In addition to expeditions, the Flying Classroom is making stops at several ground support locations of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc., the title sponsor providing complete trip logistics and ground support for the flight.

While in Tokyo, Captain Irving participated in a museum event organized by a Flying Classroom educational partner, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Other educational partners include Skype in the Classroom, NASA, and National Geographic.