Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Norman Arrives at Laoag and Recalls The South China Sea.

Norman safely arrived at Laoag International Airport (RPLI) in the north of Luzon Island in the Philippines at about 13.00 local time. This followed a flight from Woodland Air Park of about 200 mile (321 Km). He was met by people from local media and local contacts who are looking after him whilst he is there. He has sent an update to his flight with a description of crossing the South China Sea which is related below...

From Norman

I am in Laoag ok. Pleasant flight up here with an increasing tailwind all the way - my top recorded speed over the ground (3 days ago) was 137 miles an hour over the ground for a given airspeed of about 98 miles an hour! My fastest speed ever...Some tailwind that was...

Flying has been technically challenging over the past few days with many cloud formations and heavy rainfall to negotiate around. This task is greatly helped by the excellent manoeuvrability of the Gyro in flight. It is easy for example to stop mid air, vertically descend say 500 feet to duck under a small “growler” cloud (with apology to icebergs, from which this terminology is borrowed...) climbing back up again afterwards to go over the next one or jink left or right through the towering gaps in the fluffy columns that occupied a layer around 3-4,000 feet. I found myself dodging around in these constantly moving cliff faces for sport, whilst crossing the South China Sea several days ago. It was like a snow white playground in the sky about 150 miles out above the ocean. Very reminiscent of the floating mountains that feature in the recent movie AVATAR.
Mid-air photo taken from G-YROX of weather system

The formations lasted for about 40 miles so I had half an hour of weaving through them maintaining an approximate heading of where I needed to go. Once they finally petered out to reveal the next 50 miles as clear skies, it was time to break out the chocolate and have a an aerial picnic reflecting on how bizarre it was to be having this much fun, so remote from anyone else. Occasionally, much later in the flight huge walls of solid rain would flank my path (see photo) - these had to be monitored closely to establish they would not converge together before I made it safely through the middle to the brighter skies beyond. Like some challenge to nip into a lift before the doors shut, you had to time your run through the gap just right to avoid the heavy rain closing encroaching in on both sides. Success would see you blasting triumphantly out into the clear skies on the far side with barely a speck of rain on the windshield, while a watery curtain closed across behind you.


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Norman has expressed doubts as to any flying tomorrow as entry permission for Taiwan is still to be finalised.


  1. A fantastic and awe inspiring description of your flight over the South China Sea...Boys Own stuff...WTG Norman, a true pioneer with nerves of steel :-)
    Congrats as well on breaking your own speed record.....
    Good luck with the permissions......the bane of your journey ;-)

  2. A fascinating account of today's journey Norman. It seems as though you relish going where no man fears to tread!!
    Enjoy your rest day tomorrow - you have certainly earned one.
    Wishing you the best of luck with the next leg of your journey.

  3. What a wonderful picture you have "painted" for the many people who are following your journey.

    Enjoy your stop-over in Laoag, hopefully all your paperwork will soon be complete and you will be able to continue your journey to Taiwan.

  4. What a rush!!...and a fantastic commentary on the flight! Really nice to hear all your news and to know your spirits are high. The blog is becoming ever more interesting as the days pass! We're all with you and trust in your good judgment to carry on safely. Sending all our good wishes for a speedy and safe flight to Taiwan. Barbs xx

  5. If only the Spot tracker worked in 3D Norman we would be watching the sequel to Avatar !Your burning up the miles since Nongprue, keep it going ,your doing terific.