Flying classroom coming to Beaverton

National Geographic Emerging Explorer talks to students at Cesar Chavez School in Portland, May 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
National Geographic Emerging Explorer talks to students at Cesar Chavez School in Portland, May 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — By his own account, Barrington Irving came from humble beginnings.

He started with nothing but studied hard and said it was science that fueled his success. Irving is now an aviator, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and an educator who spreads the word about science and engineering to students across the country.

Irving spoke to students at the Cesar Chavez School in Portland Tuesday morning. He’s scheduled to appear at George Middle School at 3 p.m.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer talks to students at Cesar Chavez School in Portland, May 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
National Geographic Emerging Explorer talks to students at Cesar Chavez School in Portland, May 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

He was “very poor and I never knew becoming a pilot was an opportunity for me,” he said.

He built his own plane at 21, flew around the world at 23 and he’s starting his own school in the sky.

Now he travels across the country to speak with students through a program sponsored by National Geographic Society and Cengage Learning.

The whole mission is to introduce kids to math and science,” Irving told KOIN 6 News.  And he wants to teach kids from literally up in the air.

“September of this year we’re transforming a private jet into a flying classroom,” he said. “We’re going to travel to different parts of the world conducting math and science experiments.”

One of those spots is set to be in Beaverton. Irving said he will do some work in conjunction with Nike.

“Kids should explore the world. They should explore the world and become scientists and engineers,” he said. “We need more women, we need more minorities and such in these types of career fields as well.”

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