Norman takes flight in bid to complete nine-year adventure

Norman Surplus  pictured with Larne RFC President Philip McMurtry and Paul Johnston following a previous flight.
Norman Surplus pictured with Larne RFC President Philip McMurtry and Paul Johnston following a previous flight.

Larne man Norman Surplus has landed safely on the first leg of his latest record-breaking attempt in his gyrocopter.

The intrepid traveller set off from Sandy Bay playing field on Easter Monday in a fresh bid to fly an autogyro aircraft around the world.

Norman’s first attempt took flight in 2010 when he got as far as Japan before Russian authorities refused to allow him entry to the far east of Russia.

Norman said: “I eventually had to ship the aircraft across the Pacific in late 2014 from Japan to Oregon, USA, where I restarted the flight in early June 2015.

“I then flew the aircraft across America and the North Atlantic (the first and to date only) Autogyro to ever attempt the crossing. I landed safely back in Sandy Bay on 11 August 2015.

“During these two long distance flights, Larne to Japan and Oregon to Larne, Roxy and I set 19 official world records for Autogyro flight, including what could be described as the “Blue Ribband” record, the first ever crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by Autogyro from Belfast, Maine, USA to Larne.

“Since 2015, the Russian impasse looked fairly permanent, but lo and behold, just a few weeks ago, now in 2019, it appears that a viable routing has recently opened in Russia to now, at long last, permit an over flight.

“This time, however, it is not just involving a seven-day trip across the far east of Russia from Japan to Alaska, it is a 5,000 mile odyssey across the entire breadth of Russia, west to east spanning seven different time zones.

“It is expected to take 17 flying days to cross and we are allowed 30 days in which to do it, during the month of May.

Norman went on to say that time was short to prepare his aircraft for what he is expecting to be an “arduous flight”, firstly to Estonia in eastern Europe.

Norman has arrived at Sleape aerodrome in England where the aircraft is remaining for two days for an extensive service in preparation for lift off from Norwich Airport on Thursday and the onward journey to Groningen, in The Netherlands, Rechlin, in Germany, Kobylnica, in Poland, Kaunas, in Lithuania and Tartu, Estonia, before entry to Russia.

On this attempt, Norman will have the company of fellow Autogyro aircraft, flown by fellow gyroplane pilot, James Ketchell, from the UK, who will join him crossing Russia and into North America.

“Hopefully Gyrox will finally be able to close the loop on achieving the full circumnavigation of the globe some nine years after initially setting off back in 2010.”

Norman’s adventures can be followed on his GyroxGoesGlobal Facebook page.