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Larne pilot seeks Putin help for gyro flight

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Determined cancer survivor Norman Surplus is calling on President Vladimir Putin to embrace the spirit of “international cooperation” by allowing him to fly over Russian air space in a gyrocopter.

The intrepid Larne man, who is endeavouring to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe in his little yellow flying machine, has been mired in negotiations with the Russian authorities for the past two-and-half-years, as they continue to deny him permission to fly over 
their country.

Without the elusive consent from Russian, Norman has been unable to continue his trip and must wait for the slow-moving wheels of bureaucracy to turn.

But with the eyes of the world soon to be on Russia for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Norman feels the time is right to put pressure on President Putin in the hopes he will accede to 
his request.

The father-of-two is once again calling on his loyal followers around the world to lend their support in a bid to break the deadlock.

Norman, who has put his record-breaking expedition on hold until the arrival of spring, told the Larne Times: “I have written a letter to President Putin’s office and am awaiting a reply. This is the second time I have appealed directly to the Russian Premier.

“I feel that if I was to be granted consent to fly over Russian airspace, it would sent out a very positive pre-Olympic message of international cooperation between nations, embracing the constant and enduring spirit of human endeavour, challenge and adventure.

“It would also be a tremendous help if my supporters could lobby the President on my behalf and ask him to allow this world record attempt to continue.”

The online form to send a letter to President Putin can be found at http://eng.letters.kremlin.ru/send

Should Norman be unsuccessful in obtaining permission to fly over Russia, an alternative would be to ship his aircraft – currently hangared at Shonai Airport in Japan – to the west coast of America and continue his expedition from there.

However, he is reluctant to go down that route, as it would render his world record attempt invalid.

Norman added: “Bypassing Russia would make the circumnavigation record unattainable.”

as part of the journey would have been completed by sea transport.

“I am hopeful it will not come to that, but it would at least permit me to attempt a coast-to-coast record by flying across America and would also see the first ever crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by an autogyro aircraft.”

Since departing on his expedition from Larne’s Sandy Bay in March 2010, Norman has blazed a trial across half the globe. He has crossed expanses of desert, raging forest fires, shark-infested waters, and even survived a crash landing in a lake.

Norman is currently back home in Larne, but plans to fly out to Japan in March to perform to perform maintenance on his aircraft.

 

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