Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spot update / arrival in Corfu

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I am safely at the airport in Corfu - The SPOT has me over the sea just off the island - there was heavy cloud over the island as I approached the airport - this might have affected the signal - and I might have turned off the signal to early as the Ground Handling agent approached.  

On landing I recieved the full works - "Follow me" van - Table tennis bats (a bit tongue in cheek however) they were all very friendly and somewhat amazed at my crossing from Italy... all going well. Cheers N.

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Norman has reached Corfu, Greece

16.50 (GMT) - Norman has reached Ioannis Kapodistrias International Corfu, Greece.

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Greece here Norman comes!

Norman has reached the end of the Italian heel and is about to fly to Ioannis Kapodistrias International Corfu.  Greece here he comes!

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Dolphins and slow sailors – Normans flight out into the Mediterranean

Monday Norman landed in the French island of Corisca near Italy and famous as a training base for the French Foreign Legion.  He was diverted there because Marina di Campo airport on the Italian island of Elba was closed due to maintenance.

Previously he had left Carcasonne on the mainland where the flying club were having a celebration lunch which Norman was invited to join - photo above.

His 150 mile / 240 kilometers was interrupted only twice by the majestic sigh of a school of dolphins and one yacht.  Norman, an avid sailor, was reflecting on the yachts journey an the 3 days ahead of them to reach land while he would reach the same in hours.

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Norman is flying down the heal of Italy

Norman is flying down the heal of Italy right now - 12.30PM (GMT). Tracker him on SPOT GPS  

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Norman has landed safely just south west of Pescara

Norman has landed safely just south west of Pescara, which is on the east coast of Italy. This followed a four hour flight over the Appenine / Appenini mountains. 

Check the out the exact landing point on the SPOT GPS tracker on the website http//

Italy here we come / BBC World Service interview

Norman is heading for Italy today. He will be stopping at a range of small airfields, based on advice from an Italian contact. As he has to cross the Appenine / Appenini mountains his route will be subject to the amount of cloud cover in the mountains.

A report on his further adventure in France, with photos, will be posted shortly on the blog. 

In the mean time you can listen to Normans interview with the BBC World Service (last three minutes) radio programme News Hour (28 March 2010) courtesy of follower.  

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Norman has landed safely in Corsica

Norman has landed safely (17.00 GMT) in Corsica, the French island close to Italy, because the airport at Elba was closed for maintenance.   He will be there for the night. More later….

Norman’s French progress - Formidable machines and chicken sandwiches

Norman had an interesting arrival in France at Le Touquet. The inspiration for his expedition is having an impact on local people. They have sought him out offering help and hospitality.  Of particular note was Irish Woman and French resident who helped in many ways. You can see her son and her posing below with Gyrox autogyro at Chartres airport.

Because of a strong head wind and the lightness of an autogyro Norman had to land at right angles to the runway.  It seems that the air traffic control staff were speechless at the arrival of Norman’s little yellow machine.   As he arrived in a French pilot was so impressed he exclaimed “machine formidable!”

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Norman live on the BBC World Service tonight

Breaking news - Norman will be live tonight on the BBC World Service radio programme News Hour at 21.50 (GMT) check times in your area of the world.

Norman expected at Toulon-Hyres later today

Norman landed safely at Toulon-Hyres, France on the Mediterranean coast at 17.40 (GMT).  He has been flying along the Mediterranean coast since 14.40 (GMT) where it was partially cloudy and a nice 17c. 
More later....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Norman is in Beziers - 18.00 GMT

Norman has diverted to Carcassonne, France because the weather was not the best. He was supposed to land in Beziers tonight.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Norman landed in France safely

Latest - 26th March 2010 - Norman landed in at Le Touquet, France (photo below). He is then flew on to Chartres where he will be for the night.

For photos of his trip across Kent, England on the way to France click here . 

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Norman prepares for France / notes on trip to SE England

Norman is in Kent, England now preparing to fly to France leaving at approx. 10.30 am (GMT). He will be heading across the English channel via the White Cliffs of Dover. The day looks good as viability is about 10 miles (17 kilometers) with broken cloud at about 2,000 feet (600 meters). There is a slight head wind so he is expected to reach Le Touquet Airport at about 1PM (CET). He will be flying in formation down to the English coastline with four other autogyros - a nice sight if anyone can catch it. (Photo belwo of Norman preparing to leave Long Mynd, Shropshire, England)

He had an interesting flight down from our technical base RotorSport UK Ltd in Shropshire, England yesterday afternoon as it was "quite murky" with light rain. Not the best weather for autogyro flying.  He flew over his sisters house south of Luton near London, who had a visible good luck message mark out in her garden. A nice personal touch!

He was jointed by by fellow autogyro pilot John Butler and both escaped the heavy rain by the skin of their teeth. As they landed in Kent a sudden squall blew up and they struggled to get their autogyros under cover. But as quickly as it came the rain departed in 10 minutes.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

France here we come!

Some people have asked why Norman and Gyrox is still in the UK. We have a technical base RotorSport UK Ltd in Shropshire where the autogyro was getting some final technical adjustments because  of the extraordinary demands of the journey.  This was already planned for.

Norman and Gyrox are now heading for Kent for an overnight. On Friday March 26th it will be flying across the White Cliffs of Dover accompanied by another autogyro acting as camera platform.  

Then to France where it is expected in Le Touquet airport on Friday (depending on weather conditions) then three other stops. The stop offs in Sarlat Domme and Béziers-Vias Saturday and finally Toulon-Hyères airport Sunday before heading down across Italy on Monday.

To get an insight to what lies ahead for Norman the photo above was taken of him flying over France last year. 

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Norman drops in before flying off!

Norman Surplus got of to a flying start today in his attempt to go around the globe in an autogyro. He dropped into Larne, N. Ireland, his starting point on his global adventure, where he was enthusiastically greeted by hundreds of local people and school children.
According to the Irish Times He arrived with the cheers of hundreds of well-wishers behind him. After high-fives with many banner-waving youngsters, Mr Surplus said emotional goodbyes to his wife Celia and young children Felix and Petra before climbing on board. (Richard McMeekin) Irish Times 23 March 2010  
Norman is now at RotorSport UK Ltd in Shropshire, England where he is getting final adjustments to the autogyro completed.  He will then fly to the south east of the UK to Kent before departing on the next leg of the journey to France in Friday.
Temporary problem with SPOT tracking 
Remember you can track him across the globe with SPOT at the moment it inaccurately has him in the North West of England.  This will be re-set and will reflect his actual position later today.  
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Autogyro global circumnavigation website live

The website, which is the single source of all information about Norman Surplus's record attempt autogyro flight around the world, is now live.  It has links to: 
  • Video
  • Photos
  • Podcasts / audio 
  • Lots of background information

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Media coverage expected for the 'off' tomorrow

For people in the UK and Ireland watch GMTV from 6am and Sky News from 11am tomorrow (22 March 2010) for the latest on the Gyrox autogyro around the world. Also keep an eye on the papers!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Launch date - March 22nd 2010

Launch date has now been confirmed as 22nd March at 1100 hrs (GMT) from Larne Borough Council Sandy Bay Playing Fields near the seafront and Leisure Centre Larne, N. Ireland.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patricks Day

Happy St. Patricks day to one and all - would have been quite a reasonable day for departure weather wise breeze from the west would have pushed me over the Irish sea quite nicely but anyway preparations continue towards Monday...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Heading home after Duxford

This is a typical view that a Gyro pilot gets as they fly west over the UK into the setting sun. This picture was taken as I flew along the SW coast of Scotland heading back to Larne, N. Ireland after the expedition launch event at Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England.

For more information go to Gyrox Goes Global Facebook.
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GYROX in the workshop

Part of the upgrading work for GYROX will shortly involve changing the "wishbone" suspension (undercarriage) for a stronger version - this will enable the Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) to increase from 450kg to 500kg - a very useful additional 50 kg payload...a new main rotor will also be fitted at this time and will be then test flown to fine balance the blades relative to the aircraft (to reduce stick vibration to a minimum). All this work is being undertaken at the Rotorsport UK HQ "down the hill" from Long Mynd Gliding  club in Shropshire. This work will only take place after the CAA has deemed the MTOW upgrade as being an approved modification.

For more information go to Gyrox Goes Global Facebook.
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New departure date will be confirmed tomorrow

Following the last information given I will confirm the new departure date tomorrow (Monday 15th March 2010). Most likely to be from Larne in a weeks time, Monday 22nd at about 11.00 hrs (subject to weather). I will still have to confirm Sandy Bay venue with Larne Borough Council as unfortunately this was referred to in the Times as "fact" on the front page when I had really said that I "hoped" to use Sandy Bay, Larne N. Ireland subject to permission...

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Minor modifications to Gyrox autogyro

A quick update for everyone - we are waiting for some final modifications to GYROX to be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The Turtle-pac reserve fuel system, whilst only a minor modification to the layout of the Gyro cockpit, has to be signed off by the CAA to make it legal to fly. This work is ongoing at the moment and may lead to a few days delay in the scheme of things not a great upset to the overall schedule.

Apart from that we are keeping an eye on the weather and making final preparations for the off.

For more information go to Gyrox Goes Global Facebook.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What is this all about?

This is about the last great avaition challenge involving an autogyro record attempt flight around the world. Departing the UK in March 2010 and with its open cockpit the autogyro is the only powered aircraft “type” still to circumnavigate the globe.   It will be flying through 26 countries, covering 27,000 miles including 4,300 miles over water. This expedition not only combines danger and adventure but also a compelling story about the pilot cancer survivor, entrepreneur and adventure sportsman. 

For more information go to Gyrox Goes Global Facebook. To contact the autogyro world circumnavigation team email

Monday, March 8, 2010

The autogyro route around the world route

The record attempt circumnavigation of the globe by Norman Surplus is expected to take approximately 115 days / 4 months – depending on weather conditions and flight permitting logistics.  Gyrox autogyro will depart in mid March 2010. The proposed legs will typically be an average of 300 miles per day (averaging six days per week) divided into sectors of approximately 3x100 or 2x150 mile duration (approximating to 4-5 hours flying per day). This amounts to 27,000 mile circumnavigation flown in approximately 105 days inclusive of 15 "catch up" days for cumulative weather delays.

For more information go to the Gyrox Goes Global Facebook. To contact the autogyro world circumnavigation team email

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Circumnavigation challenges and safety

This Gyrox autogyro which is flying around the world has an open cockpit and is quite a different animal to either a fixed wing aircraft or a helicopter. It is a very novel and challenging way to travel. A major issue for the record attempt circumnavigation of the globe by pilot Norman Surplus is safety. As a result he pilot has carried out extensive research and worked closely with the aircraft and technical support team to achieve optimum safety. One of the results was the design and manufactured of a unique survival suite by a leading Finish company which specialises in this area.  The long open water stretches most notably crossing the North Atlantic.

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For more information go to the Gyrox Goes Facebook. To contact the autogyro world circumnavigation team email