WASHINGTON, D.C. — Barrington Irving will launch the Flying Classroom, an interactive STEM learning adventure spanning three continents, from Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday, Sept. 23.
Irving, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer who holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world, will pilot Inspiration III, a business jet provided by Executive Air Services in Miami. Irving and his crew will visit North America, Asia, Indonesia, and Australia, exploring real life applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, history, geography and humanities (STEM+) through 16 ground, air, and sea expeditions.
“This isn’t just an aircraft,” said Irving. “It’s an exploration vehicle for learning that will engage and teach millions of kids in ways they’ve never been taught before. I hope this experience will help students discover their passion for STEM+ the way my own pilot mentor helped me discover mine when I was 15.”
Fabio Alexander, CEO of Executive Air Services added, “My goal was to provide a transportation tool, Inspiration III (a Hawker 400XP) for this ground-breaking STEM+ initiative with American educational hero Captain Irving at the helm, to engage students to find their interest and a career path they love as they experience exciting, virtual adventures around the world.”
Inspiration III will travel to all seven continents over three consecutive school years. Throughout each flight, students will have virtual access to Irving’s adventures through videos and a blog on FlyingClassroom.com. Students in schools that utilize the Flying Classroom curriculum, which is aligned to the National Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, will also study STEM+ subjects relevant to each expedition as they track the Flying Classroom team.
The Flying Classroom is supported by title sponsors Executive Air Services, the Miami-based company that supplied the jet and support personnel, and Houston-based Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc., which is providing trip logistics.
Other sponsors include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries; Jeppesen; FlightSafety International; British Petroleum; Michael Broyard; The Gans Family; and Doug and Kaisa Levine. Educational partners include Skype in the Classroom, the National Education Association, NASA, National Geographic, and United Teachers of Dade.
The Flying Classroom Launch at Signature Flight Support Hangar, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, will include a career fair for 650 local students from 9:30-11 am; a program from 11 am –noon featuring aviation expert Miles O’Brien, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Irving, and the departure of the Flying Classroom jet at 1 pm. The event hosts are the Aero Club Foundation of Washington, Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, and Signature Flight Support.