Daredevil Larne man takes on USA gyro flight

Norman Surplus and his gyrocopter, Roxy, pictured alongside the famous Spruce Goose flying boat at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in Oregon, USA.  INLT 16-677-CON

Norman Surplus and his gyrocopter, Roxy, pictured alongside the famous Spruce Goose flying boat at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in Oregon, USA. INLT 16-677-CON

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Intrepid gyrocopter pilot Norman Surplus is preparing to resume his record-breaking expedition following a four-year hiatus.

The Larne man set off in his little yellow flying machine – dubbed Roxy – from Sandy Bay back in March 2010, on a mission to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a gyrocopter.

Norman, who survived bowel cancer back in 2003, has since blazed a trail across half the globe in recent years, piloting Roxy to more than a dozen countries and attaining a total of nine world records in the process. He is using the publicity from his expedition to raise awareness and funds for Bowel Cancer UK.

However, last summer the father-of-two was forced to abandon his epic round-the-world bid after the Russian Civil Aviation Authorities refused him permission to fly over their airspace.

But, rather than return to Larne with his tail tucked between his legs, a determined Norman made the decision to continue his journey. Last October, having spent almost four years in a Japanese hangar, Roxy was loaded into a container and shipped across the Pacific Ocean to the USA.

Since then, the aircraft has been housed at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in Oregon, which is best known as the permanent home of the giant Hughes H-4 Hercules, also called the ‘Spruce Goose’.

Norman told the Times: “Roxy has been on display at the museum for the past six months, and visitors have really enjoyed seeing the aircraft up close. It has also been a great opportunity for people to learn about the history of the autogyro and help raise awareness of my expedition.”

With the arrival of spring, Norman is now eager to get back in the air and begin the next phase of his journey; a coast to coast flight across the USA.

He added: “I have come this far and plan to finish what I started five years ago.”

“I intend to restart my expedition in early June, flying from Portland Oregon on the west coast, to Portland, Maine on the east coast.”

The journey, which is estimated to last three weeks, will take in famous landmarks including the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore and Niagara Falls.

Once he reaches the east coast, Norman’s route will take him north to Canada, before he hops across the north Atlantic via Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.

He will then be in the home stretch, arriving in the Outer Hebrides and making his way down the west coast of Scotland and across the Irish Sea to Garron Point.

The final leg of Norman’s emotional, five-year journey will see him fly south along the Antrim coast to Larne, where he will touch down in Sandy Bay to a rapturous welcome from his legion of supporters.

To keep up-to-date with Norman’s amazing expedition, visit ww.gyroxgoesglobal.com