Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Facebook Landmark Reached

Today, Norman has reached and passed the 4,000 friend mark on Facebook. This is quite an achievement in such a short time and goes to show the power of social networking when mixed with a great cause and a story like Norman’s.

Norman’s adventure may well be the first that has used the power of Facebook to actually complement this kind of journey. Flying around the world without masses of corporate sponsorship and with no support teams waiting for him at the various destinations has meant that many times during his journey Norman has been able to rely upon the ‘Friends’ he has met on Facebook, to be at times, his only contacts on the ground in far away places!
Aviation enthusiasts greet Norman at October Airport, Cairo, Egypt

Some of these friends have turned out to be aviation professionals who have been able to offer Norman much needed assistance with all matters pertaining to his flight and then there are the aviation enthusiasts who are ready to offer support in any way they can, because they love aviation and are inspired by Norman and his flight. Of course, there are those friends who didn’t have an interest in aviation as such but were inspired by Norman’s story and have gone out of their way to be a part of it by offering assistance in distant lands.

Norman has been amazed by the way these complete strangers have turned out to ‘do their bit’ to help him on his journey and he has always spoken of how he never feels alone when flying across the barren areas of the globe because he knows there are so many new friends watching his progress.
A great reception at Jamshedpur in India

It is a great reflection on Norman’s popularity that when he departs a location there is always a sudden influx of new ‘friends’ on Facebook and it is obvious that they then tell their friends about this amazing adventure and the modest aviator undertaking it because there is then a knock on effect as friend suggestions start to pour in. This has been really obvious since Norman called half time on the flight, as nearly a thousand new friends have asked to join the adventure even though it is on hold at the present!
Norman's friends in Nongprue, Thailand even organised a Buddhist blessing ceremony 

This does mean that there is a definite chance that Norman will reach the 5000 friend cut-off limit that Facebook has introduced before setting off again next year. That in itself will be quite an achievement but with Norman heading off in the spring to traverse the eastern coast of Asia and then enter North America before crossing the Atlantic via Greenland, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands there will be many possible new friends who won’t have a chance to follow Norman on Facebook, or able to offer assistance.
Members of the Malaysian Chapter of the EAA were of great assistance to Norman in Kuala Lumpur

This is why we are working on a ‘Gyrox Goes Global’ page on Facebook that will allow people to follow Norman with no restriction on numbers. When this page is set up it will be announced on here and all the other websites so that friends past and present can check it out.
Many new friends turned out to greet Norman at Laoag in the Philippines

The present Facebook page will continue updating everybody about Norman’s activities as usual and friends will be able to comment etc. The new ‘Page’ will run alongside the present page with a much easier format for joining in, just click ‘Like’ and you are there!
Norman with friends at Woodland Air Park, The Philippines, before returning to Larne.

So once again, a big thank you to everyone who has become a ‘Friend’ of Norman on Facebook; you are all playing a part in creating history.

The Gyrox Team

         *     *     *
Become a Facebook Friend
For More Information Go To The Website
Consider Donating To Norman's Chosen Charity: Bowel Cancer UK
Consider Joining The Authorised Facebook Fan Page

         *     *     *

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Quiet Week For Norman?

If you had just spent the last six months flying a tiny aeroplane half-way around the World, facing many dangers, extreme conditions and interminable bureaucracy, it would surely be expected that on returning to your hometown in Northern Ireland, at a time when Atlantic gales turn summer into autumn quicker than in most parts of the British Isles, a few months spent sitting in front of a roaring fire enjoying a well deserved rest before resuming the flight next spring, would be on the cards…

That would be a normal reaction, unless of course your name is Norman Surplus!

Immediately following his return home there were not only the obvious media interviews and TV and Radio appearances that Norman was happy to do but there was also the debriefing of the flight so far. Miles of video footage had to be sorted and hundreds of images from around the world had to be downloaded from the many memory cards Norman has used during part one of the journey. Add to this the necessity to stay in contact with agencies and supporters around the world, who will become major players in the second part of the venture, you would think Norman wouldn’t have time for much else…

But…Norman, being Norman has managed to fill his ‘spare’ time with many other activities and here we have some photos of just what he has been getting up to!

First off…how about a bit of horseback riding. Or to be exact…Fell Pony Riding. Here Norman is sat astride Juno, one of two Fell ponies owned by his wife, Celia. It certainly is quite a difference to go from his 115 horse power Rotax engine on ‘Roxy’ to a one horse power mare called Juno, but at least his feet are off the ground again.
Norman and Juno

Maybe you would think Norman would get some rest on a Sunday? Think again…this is when Norman puts on his ‘maritime’ hat and takes part in ‘Sunday Morning Training’ at the Larne lifeboat station. As you may know, Norman is 2nd Coxswain on the Larne lifeboat and as such is very involved with activities there and can be called out, ‘on a shout’ at any time day or night.
Here you can see Norman (against the rail) on the larger Trent Class Lifeboat, the ‘Dr John McSparran’ briefing the crew of the smaller D Class inshore lifeboat, the ‘Hannabella Ferguson’.

Trent Class Lifeboat: The Dr John McSparran
Both lifeboats are based at Larne Harbour and you can find out more about this busy RNLI station here…RNLI Lifeboat Station: Larne

So how does Norman relax at home? Well, with his son Felix’s 12th birthday coming up it was time for Norman to show off his culinary skills by baking this birthday cake in the shape of a skateboard.

It looks delicious but maybe Norman should only have a small slice considering he needs to worry about the all-up weight for ‘Roxy’s’ take-off next spring!

And to round off a busy week? Slippers on, cup of cocoa, DVD and an early night? No chance!

It’s that time of year again where Norman and his friends take off for Biarritz in France for the Heineken Cup Rugby Union match between Ulster and Biarritz. And although the match was played yesterday (17th Oct) and Biarritz beat Ulster 35 – 15, the game is only a small part of this annual outing and we can rest assured that Norman will be smiling anyway. Check out the photo of Norman at the game last year and you can see that the enjoyment comes from being amongst friends and is much more about the event than the winning.

Add to all these activities the fact that Norman is back at work with B9 Energy Group, the company he co-founded with his brothers, and you may be wondering where he gets all his energy from. But it does show that come next spring we can expect Norman to be raring to go in his attempt to be the first to circumnavigate the globe in an Autogyro.

         *     *     *
The Gyrox Team

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Become a Facebook Friend
For More Information Check Out The Website
Consider Donating to Norman's Chosen Charity: Bowel Cancer UK
Consider Joining the Authorised Facebook Fan Page

         *     *     *

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Important Message.

Dear Friends,

it appears that you may have, or may well, receive a message from me inviting you to see my photos on a new social networking site called I can tell you that the invite DID NOT come from me or anyone at Gyrox Goes Global. We believe it was sent via a phishing worm and this means that if you sign up via my so called 'invite' you may have the same problem.

If you have already signed up, then it would be wise to run a virus check on your system to alleviate any worries and check that your system hasn't sent out any unsolicited invites to the people in your address book.

If you do get an invite from 'Norman Surplus' to join then please ignore it, it wasn't sent by me.

It does appear that is a legitimate site and by all means join it via their URL if you so want to but be warned that they need you to sign up with your email address and the password for that email address. This then leaves you open to attack from worms and viruses.

We are very sorry for this inconvenience and hope that we have caught it in time and once again apologise for something that was done completely without our knowledge.

On a lighter topic, there will be a new Blog post this weekend  with some new photos, watch this space.


The Gyrox Goes Global Team

on behalf of

Norman Surplus