Friday, April 30, 2010

Norman plans to fly in Thailand / Recent newspaper coverage of Norman in India

Norman plans to fly in Thailand today at Nongprue. Firstly he will do some interviews with the local media.  This will be followed by air-to-air filming and photography with members of the local microlight club and the media.

Here are some recent newspaper cuttings of the coverage of Norman in India

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Assistance for Norman in Malaysia?

Any aviation or other contacts in Malaysia? If you do email please. Norman would appreciate assistance!

Norman has landed at Nongprue, Thailand

Norman has landed at a local microlight flying club Nongprue, Thailand.

According to Ian Gilks of the Nong Prue Flying Club and our contact on the ground Norman has had a beer and is freshening up at the Siam Country Club. Then back to the airfield for a BBQ and a couple more beers. Press interviews and air to air filming are planned for tomorrow morning.

Norman is flying to Nongprue central Thailand today

Norman is flying to Nongprue Airport, Pattaya central Thailand today where he will be hosted by the Flying Club and will meet some local media.

There are two additions to the website which you may find useful.

'The time where Norman is now' - On the front page of the website there is a link to an interactive map which gives you the time in different places in the world if you just click on the location. From this you will be able to learn what time it is where Norman is.  He is six hours ahead at present!

'Normans route map' - In the 'Pictures' section of the website there is a link to an enlargeable map of the route Norman is taking across the world. This does not provide location names but does give a sense of where he is in the world and may encourage people to take out their atlases.

This is based on suggestions from followers so enjoy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Norman has arrived in Bangkok, Thailand

Norman has arrived in Don Mueang Airport Bangkok, Thailand 10.31.21 AM (IST)

Flying to Bangkok / radio interview

Norman is flying to Bangkok, Thailand today. For those who did not get a chance to hear him speaking about highlights of the trip on a radio click on the link and you can listen and view a slideshow of photographs also watch?v=EiUPNZFdejM 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Norman has landed in Myanmar / Listen to him on the radio

Norman has landed in Yangon, Myanmar 12.13.20 (IST). You can listen to Norman on the BBC radio programme 'Talkback' via the internet. It is transmitted today (27 April 2010) and it was recorded yesterday by phone from Chittagong, Bangladesh. The programme is on the air from 12.00 (IST) and here is the link 

Norman is flying to Myanmar / Norman's actual safety monitoring system

Norman is flying to Yangon in the Union of Myanmar / Burma today - hurray!

Numerous followers have expressed concern about Norman's safety when they see the SPOT tracker disappear. In fact the SPOT GPS system is not directly linked to Norman's safety monitoring. While he would activate the SOS facility on the SPOT machine if needs be, he is not solely relying on this system. The SPOT was chiefly set up so that people on the various electronic fora can follow Norman's progress.

The real safety system as McMurdo FAST Finder Plus (with GPS) personal location beacon (PLB) beloved of long distance sailors and the like (photo of actual machine above). This is attached to his lifejacket which he always wears while flying - even over the desert!. In the event of real emergency this is the system that would be first and foremost used. This then sends a signal from anywhere in the world via satellite to the in Royal Air Force (RAF) Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Kinloss, Scotland. In addition a group of volunteers from Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol are also monitoring Norman.

By the way Norman put new batteries in to the SPOT so that everybody can keep an eye on him!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Norman plans to fly to the Union of Myanmar / Burma today

Norman was planning to fly to Yangon in the Union of Myanmar / Burma from Chittagong, Bangladesh today weather permitting. Because of delays yesterday his flying permission lapsed so he will not able to fly today. 

The distance to Yangon is about 430 miles / 690 kilometers and he expects it to take six hours all going well. The final part of this journey will involve crossing mountains, the Arakan Yom range, which is always a challenge in an open cockpit aircraft. It is hot and humid in Chittagong and there is at least a 50% chance of heavy rain so that is not entirely good news! It is fine weather there now.

From the Union of Myanmar / Burma he will fly on to Thailand and he plans to stop off at the following places:
  • Bangkok 
  • Samui Airport VTSM 
  • Hat Yai International VTSS

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rained soaked autogyro in Chittagong - what to do next?

Norman had planned to fly to Mandalay or Yangon in the Union of Myanmar previously known as Burma today. This may be on hold because of thunderstorms in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Norman gives his input on this and more here. 

Below is a nice picture of the scene outside my Hotel this morning  in Chittagong, Bangladesh. A very active thunderstorm system has arrived and it’s raining hard - poor old Gyrox is at the airport sitting out in the open (I had tried to plead my case to get her put under cover last night but to no avail - the more I work with large airport administration the less I think they are actually concerned about the real needs of  aircraft and aviators. 

The fact that after all their delaying paperwork and endless phone calls to each other to check the fine nuances of an administrative detail (you know how it goes- is that the right code number on this yellow chitty or should it be the one on the pink sheet, sit down I better just check with my supervisor who has just nipped out - he’ll be back in a minute...would you like some Tea?) someone has to actually climb into an aircraft and actually fly the thing is furthest from their mind it seems.

the Aircraft has its lightweight cover but I doubt this rain will be kept out - it’s not a County Antrim Drizzle! Of more concern is the rotor head which will be getting a good wash but this is not ideal if the careful greasing work is being undone...

Will have to take a view later as to the possible routing (if any flying is possible today at all)  

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Norman has arrived at Chittagon, Bangladesh

Norman has arrived at Shah Amanat International Airport, Chittagon, Bangladesh - 10.24.50 am (IST)

Norman may have set the flight distance world record in India

Norman is flying to Shah Amanat International Chittagong Airport, Bangladesh today. This is a distance of 118 miles / 189 kilometers flying east. Norman flew into Kolkata, India, yesterday afternoon and in doing may have set a solo world distance record for an autogyro flight.  

"Norman Surplus being greated by the staff at Jamshedpur Airport, India before flying on to Kolkata (Cap. Karanveer Chauhan)
On arrival in Kolkata, he had flown 7,118 miles (11,455 kilometers) from his official departure point Larne N.Ireland. This is a longer distance than the previous record established in 2004 by the Global Eagle team who's "Total distance travelled since start: 10,480 km" / 6,511 miles. 

Norman disappears into a sea of onlookers!

He has also been nominated for another world record i.e. "Speed over a recognised course" - Larne, NI to Alexandria, Egypt - according to the Fédération Aéronautique International (FAI) who are overseeing his flight.  See FAI link for more 
Norman departs Jamshedpur for a date with history!
Photos by Cap. Karanveer Chauhan and Shalini Sharma.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Norman arrived safely Kolkata, India.

Norman is off to Kolkata, India / some notes on his day to day activity

Norman is off to Kolkata, India also known as Calcutta his last stop before leaving India and entering Bangladesh and the Union of Myanmar previously known as Burma. This flight is about half what he flew yesterday and will be just over 140 miles / 225 kilometers. We understand that Indian national media will be there to see him off at Jamshedpur and some international media will be at Kolkata to greet him. Let us see what happens?

One follower asked some questions about some of Norman's day-to-day activity and here is the Q & A.

  • Where does he eat and sleep? - Norman eats and sleeps either in regular hotels or as a guest of a host if lucky. Hotels have varied greatly in price and quality as you can imagine.
  • Where does he do his laundry? - Laundry which is limited is done at the accommodation.
  • What type of fuel does the autogyro use? - It uses normal unleaded (95) or Avgas. There is a full range of information about Gyrox autogyro on the website 
  • How are pictures and blog entries etc. done? - Pictures are sent to the back up base by Norman or who ever else took Them. Blog etc. info is usually delivered by phone, text and some times email depending on access to latter or the time Norman has.  It is then written up at our base and posted on the blog, website, Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Norman has landed at Jamshedpur

Norman has landed at Jamshedpur, India at 12.20 (IST) approx

Norman is flying to Jamshedpur Airport, Indian today.

Norman is flying to Jamshedpur Airport, India today. This is a distance from Raipur of just over 300 miles / 480 kilometers flying east. Norman will be flying over a mixture of high lush green forest and drier arid low lands. He will once again need to fly high to avoid the intense heat. This means he cannot fully enjoy the close views of the ground usually experienced by lower flying which autogyros excel at.  

As with his other flights through India he may see some localised forest fires. As he flew over them at over 6,000 feet / 2,000 meters in some cases he could clearly see the flames as they leaped high into the sky. At other times the strips of flame reminded him of lava flows. This brought to mined the erupting volcano in Iceland and the trouble travelers are having in Europe - but Norman flies on! Photo below for illustration purposes and not from Norman unfortunately - inflight photography has proved particularly difficult.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

From the Middle East to Middle India

Well it’s been quite a transition in the last week, from the surprisingly rainy Deserts of Saudi Arabia displaying some cloud cover and hence therefore “relatively” cool, to be now faced with the oppressively hot 47 degree Celsius heat of Nagpur and Raipur. At least it is a dry heat with little humidity, unlike later in the summer as the monsoon creeps across the continent.

The weather for flying has been good  - apart from the daily sauna on the ground whilst getting ready! I don’t recall pre flight checks during my early flight training in Cumbria (N.W. England) make any mention of seeking out the nearest spare baggage trolley to keep the fuel in the shade until the very last minute before departure. Photo below of an Indian maintenance crew not sure where to start on this funny little aircraft.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Norman has landed at Raipur, India

Norman has landed at Raipur, India at 8.37 (IST) remember that is 13.37 local time

Norman flies to Raipur / notes from the heart of India

Norman flies further east from Nagpur to Raipur in India. This is a relatively short flight of 174 miles / 280 kilometers which should take him about 2 hours.

Norman has now reached steaming heat as he flies through the heart of tropical India.  The temperature on arrival at Nagpur was a blistering 47.  While he had the relief of sea breezes the previous day there was no such relief yesterday. Norman below, with the Indian crew, looking a little blurred after his long flight to Nagpur.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Norman has landed at Nagpur

Norman has landed at Nagpur, Indian at 13.50 (IST)

Norman immortalized in a newspaper cartoon because of flying ban

Norman has been immortalized in a newspaper (Belfast Telegraph) cartoon today.  As the rest of Europe and beyond is a no fly zone Norman flies on. The cartoon suggests if he was back at home in Northern Ireland he could offer his services to holiday makers wanting to head for the Mediterranean sun. This of course would be at a slower pace, one at a time with some stops in France or Italy - sounds good!

Norman is flying in Indian today

Norman plans to fly in Indian today to:
  • Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport VAID 
  • Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Int. Nagpur  VANP
While on his way to Ahmadabad he crossed a range of interesting sights.  The most notable were vast salt flats of the Saurashtra coastline between the Gulf of Cambay and the Gulf of Kutch which some what strangely reminded him of the Yorkshire Dales. This is near where he went to college. He said he even started humming the theme of the famous 80's British TV drama series 'All creatures great and small' . This was based on the books by James Herriot about the work of a vet in the north of England. 

He also saw what he considers a real oasis, not the rock band, in the arid lands between Pakistan and India. Keeping on the theme of desert he witnessed a dust storm which he was able to fly above. This was all probably over the Thar Desert in Pakistan's Sindh province.

Media interest has been rising in Indian with Norman doing various interviews and two photographers chasing him.  The latter is particularly difficult because of security at airports.

Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//
Please consider donating to Bowel Cancer UK - link right.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Norman has landed in India

Norman has landed at Ahmedabad, India at 11.14 (IST) in the lush green state of Gujarat. We have been told that Ahmedabad and Gujrat in general are famous for traditional Indian sweets. 

India here Norman comes!

Norman plans to fly to the Republic of India today the world's largest democracy - staggering 1.2 billion people. This leg of his journey could present the greatest challenge as the last attempt to fly an autogyro around the world faltered here. Expedition Global Eagle (logo below) took place in 2004 and was abandoned in the far east of India because of the monsoon generated difficult weather.

Norman's journey through India will be a total of over 1,450 miles / 2,300 kilometers - a challenge in anyones book. He will be traveling in an easterly direction from the cities of Ahmadabaad in the west to Kolkata in the east.  Below are the places Norman plans stops: 
  • Ahmadabaad VAAH - 18 Apri
  • Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport VAID - 19 April
  • Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Int. Nagpur  VANP - 19 April
  • Raipur Airport VARP - 20 April
  • Jamshedpur Airport VEJS - 21 April
  • Kolkata Airport VECC - 21 April
Obviously this is subject to weather conditions, flight permissions and a myriad of other things. Because of the very hot weather Norman is now departing very early in the morning local time. 

Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//
Please consider donating to Bowel Cancer UK - link right.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Norman has landed at Karachi, Pakistan

Norman has landed at Jinnah International Airport Karachi, Pakistan at 10.45 (IST)

Tales of jagged mountains, Iranian airspace and security conscious Pakistan

Norman flies to Karachi, Pakistan today where it is 33 °C and sunny.  It will take him about three and half hours covering over 300 miles / 480 kilometers. He reached Pakistan via Abu Dhabi and Oman. When Norman departed Abu Dhabi he considered that the Hajar Mountains in Oman might, like the rolling hills of Ulster, offer a quick stop off or a scenic fly by.  Such notions soon evaporated when saw the reality. What he witnessed was something completely different to his home - jagged peaks with very steep plunges. Photo below shows Norman and Gyrox getting the VIP treatment as they are rolled out from the Abu Dhabi hanger by no less than seven staff.

Entering Muscat and for those closely following the SPOT tracker you will notice he had to divert around restricted airspace. When landing and departing Norman drew on his famous haggling skills to try and alleviate the impact of the very high landing and fuel charges he has been met with in parts of the Middle East. He was successful!


Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//

Friday, April 16, 2010

Norman landed in Pakistan.

14.09 (IST) - Norman landed at Gwadar International Airport, Pakistan

Norman flying to Pakistan / charity and fundraising

Norman is planning to fly to Pakistan today across the Gulf of Oman to the city Gwadar. This over 270 miles / 430 kilometers east to a new continent of Asia and a whole new leg to Norman's journey.

You may remember that Norman is raising awareness and funds for cancer during his trip. We have now establish a 'Just Giving' page for Norman's preferred charity Bowel Cancer UK.  This allows you to donate electronically directly to the charity.

You can go direct to our 'just giving' page  to donate. You can also access this page via our website, Facebook pages or the link on the right and down on this page. We will be promoting this for the next few weeks.

Thank you for your support and interest up to now from Norman and the Gyrox Goes Global Team

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Norman has landed in Oman

Norman has landed at Al Seeb International Airport in Oman after clearing the Hajar Mountains

Norman is flying to Oman today

Norman is flying to Oman today, his last stop before he departs the Middle East. He intends to depart at approximately 8.00 (IST) but not directly from Abu Dhabi International Airport.  He plans to make a short flight of about 10 minutes to a local airfield for re-fueling and final checks before flying off to Oman.

His flight to Oman will be in a south easterly direction for about 216 miles / which will take about two hours 30 minutes.  He will need to cross the Hajar Mountains (Arabic: جبال الحجر) which run from the United Arab Emirates to the Omani coast.  They rise to 9,834 feet / 2,980 meters and present an interesting challenge as they are suceptable to low cloud. This may force Norman to land as an autogyro is not supposed to fly without sigh of ground.  He will try to negotiate them by using mountain passes / valleys following roads where he can land if needed.  Only an autogyro can do such landings because of its small size and low speed and is similar to what he had to do in the Saudi desert. Photo below shows the Hajjar Mountains rise behind Nakhal Fort.

Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Overnight in the Saudi desert and flight to Doha

Well the middle east has certainly met with expectation so far, Camels, sandstorms, cups of very sweet chai tea, loads of Bedouin tents in the desert. So many in fact that in some regions if you had to have landed you would easily have picked a populated place - the standard set up appeared to be a few big tents, some 4X4s a couple of dozen camels in a herd and the very essential big road tanker lorry presumably full of water (which really is more expensive to buy here than fuel).

Today started with a nice cup of Chai from my very nice Arab hosts - they could speak no English as I no Arabic so we worked with sign language admirably. 

Read more? 

Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//

Norman is not flying today - Oman tomorrow

Norman is not flying today as the autogyro is having a planned maintenance check before flying to Oman tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Norman has landed in Abu Dhabi

Norman has landed at Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates at 14.54 (IST)

Norman is flying to Abu Dhabi today

Staying in the United Arab Emirates Norman is flying from Qatar to Abu Dhabi today. This is a flight of over 300 mile / 480 kilometer south 
which will take him about three hours. It is 31°C and cloudy in Doha and similar in Abu Dhabi. Below is a photo of a sand storm Norman witnessed during his forced stop, due to impending storms, in the Saudi desert.
Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//

Monday, April 12, 2010

Norman landed in Qatar

Norman landed at Doha International Airport, Qatar at 15.25 (IST)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Norman has landed west of Riyadh because of an approaching storm front

Norman has landed about 70 miles / 110 km west of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia because of an approaching storm front which other aircraft have had to divert around. Norman felt it would be safer in such a small open aircraft to land. He has landed near a filling station near Al Khalaig Alghabiyah where he will camp for the night. Norman has also been able to store the autogyro under cover for the night.

He back tracked earlier this morning as he assessed that he would need extra fuel for this flight, particularly negotiating the leading head winds of the approaching storm front. He therefore flew back on his route to pick up extra fuel from a garage he had spotted earlier.

He plans to fly on to Riyadh in the morning depending on weather and related flying conditions. This will be reviewed and updated in the morning.

Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//

Norman is flying to Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Airport, Saudi Arabia

Norman is flying to Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Airport OEDM in the central part of Saudi Arabia this morning.  He departed just before 7.00 am (IST) flying in an easterly direction. The weather is a warm 25 °C with scattered clouds at about 1,000 feet / 3,000 meters and a south easterly breeze. Visability is at 6 miles / 10 km and there is a slight chance of rain.

This will be a flight of just over 300 miles / 480 km. As Norman often uses roads for way finding he will probably follow road 40 then road 50 which brings him direct to Al Dawdmi. The airport lies 18 miles / 30 km west of the town of Al Dawadmi and it is one of the most modern airports in Saudi Arabia.

Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Norman has landed safely in Taif, Saudi Arabia.

Norman has landed safely in Taif, Saudi Arabia. According to the Saudi Network Raif is Taif, with its deep rooted history that dated back to thousands of years is famous for its gardens and good quality agricultural production on top of which are grapes, pomegranates and honey (photo of its famous rose plantations below). The elevation of the city by about two thousand meters above sea level, makes it one of the important resorts in the Kingdom.   So Norman has landed in a 'land of milk and honey'.

It is also famous for historical features including the Souk (market) Okaz which played a distinguished role in the history of Arab poetry before Islam. The Souk was a forum for poetry debate in one of the richest era in the history of Arab literature and culture. Other important archaeological features in the city include many pre-Islamic fortifications, and Islamic mosques such as the Mosque of the Prophet's Companion (peace be upon him) Abdullah Ibin Abass.

Become a Facebook friend or got to our website for more general information http//