Tuesday, June 12, 2012

10 month Russian hold up puts pioneering UK world flight in doubt!

We at the Gyrox Team are really saddened that once again we are having to call out to Norman's dedicated followers to come to our aid in a last ditch attempt to keep the flight on track.
The reasons for this are best described by publishing here the press release Norman has sent out to the world's media. The plea for your help is at the bottom of the release.

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“In this UK Olympic year, Russia seems to have forgotten the fair play spirit of the games!“
A UK pilot’s world record gyrocopter flight is in serious doubt as Russian authorities have delayed permission to enter their airspace for 10 months. Cancer survivor and green entrepreneur Norman Surplus has already traversed 18 countries and achieved numerous new FAI World Records in his bid to be the first to circumnavigate the globe in a gyrocopter. If the Russian Civil Aviation Authorities do not give the green light soon Norman’s chance of crossing the Bering Sea to reach Alaska, the next stage after Russia, will be lost due to the short Arctic summer.
The 49-year-old adventurer from Larne, Northern Ireland has already flown his tiny, five metre long craft half way around the world crossing some of the world’s most hostile environments. He has been forced to wait, very patiently, in Japan since late July last year for the Russian Civil Aviation Authority who have been “processing” his onward flight permission - an administration task that is normally supposed to take only 14 days. He needs to make a transit through the Far Eastern Region of Russia from Vladivostok to reach the Bering Sea and fly onwards into North America.

Norman has reported from his current location, Tsuruoka City in NW Japan:  “The basic geography of the planet means that the well established Bering Sea crossing route is the only realistic way that any small type of aircraft can hope to cross the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. There simply is no alternative route to use. I have flown half way around the world through 18 countries to reach this point but Russia now appears to be very disinterested in assisting in any way to help me continue on this international World Record setting flight. None of the other countries, whilst presenting many varied challenges of their own along the way, have been so seemingly belligerent and stubborn. It’s as if they are simply not bothered to give any assistance at all. It’s not like we are asking to land a Space Shuttle in Siberia, we are just asking that they help, like so many of the more obliging countries already passed, to send a small pioneering aircraft on its way, unhindered, around the globe”.
He continues “Our flight, named GYROX GOES GLOBAL is not a large commercially sponsored expedition with endless resources of personnel and equipment to draw on, nor is it run as some huge military sponsored expeditionary exercise. It is a relatively low budget, privately funded charity flight, attempting to raise funds along the way for Bowel Cancer UK and other cancer awareness charities. Sitting here, constantly waiting for news from Russia, it is very easy to form the impression that the Bureaucrats are thinking that by simply ignoring us, for long enough, we will be forced to give up, pack up and go home and stop bothering them. It is a very frustrating situation”.
Time is now the biggest factor as the Bering Sea acts as a climatic gateway, it can only be crossed in this small type of open cockpit aircraft in the few brief Arctic summer months and we are already into June…The Russian permission needs to come through realistically in the next few weeks so that the flight can have enough time to cross North America and the North Atlantic before the end of the summer.

And in one further bureaucratic twist to this saga, the Japanese will require 3 weeks to process their exit permission to allow Norman to fly out of Japan. This extra 3 weeks will have to be added on top of the Russian delay. There is not a moment to lose if we would like to see Norman complete his epic World Record setting journey especially in this special Jubilee and Olympic summer of 2012.
The humble gyrocopter, which predates by some decades its more glamorous rotary cousin the Helicopter, is the last remaining type of aircraft that has yet to fly around the world. This, is despite the fact, that the first gyrocopter actually flew way back in 1923 - 89 years ago….a very long time to wait for this highly capable little aircraft to enjoy the recognition it rightly deserves , hopefully the Russians can now act positively, quickly and decisively to help bring all this long waiting process to an end. 
We are effectively still stuck in Japan at the moment and urgently in need of a big groundswell of popular support from our many supporters and online followers around the UK and the World to help convince our various local politicians to lobby the UK Foreign Office in London to, in turn and on our behalf, urge the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allow our “Gyrox Goes Global” flight permission application to be quickly acted on and approved.
Basic World Geography dictates, that this northern routing across the Bering Sea to Alaska is the only possible way that any light aircraft (from any country) can hope to cross the vastness of the Pacific Ocean and as such, the Russians along with the Americans in Alaska, should feel a sense of moral duty and obligation to the World to act as a responsible gatekeeper, extending free access and unhindered passage to all such flights wanting to cross this region, providing that they are flying on an internationally recognised, Official FAI World Record Circumnavigation attempt.
This is an urgent action for, as everyone that has been following our ongoing journey over the past three(!) summers knows, the weather windows for crossing both the near Arctic conditions of the Bering Sea and the North Atlantic are very short. Realistically we need to have the permission decision from Russia in the next couple of weeks, if I stand any chance of completing the whole circumnavigation before the end of this summer.
If anyone is able to offer any assistance (political or otherwise) in persuading the Russians to “Play Fair” in this, our special Olympic Year of 2012, then I would be most grateful for their support.
Many Thanks,
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So how can you help?
Please share this blog post wherever you can...Facebook, Twitter, news pages or anywhere that you think it will get a reaction.
Check for this press release appearing in local and international newspapers and their websites and if it is possible reply to the article giving your support for Norman.
Forward this blog post, with your own message of support, to any governmental department you think might take an interest in supporting Norman.
Be vocal on Russian sites about their lack of support for Norman which is against the worldwide support the flight carries.
If you have any 'concrete' suggestions for Norman please use the comment box here or send a message via the Facebook pages. We will pass your ideas on to Norman straight away.
We sincerely hope that the next blog post will have good news and in advance, we thank all the supporters for their continued belief in Norman's venture.
The Gyrox Team
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  1. Russian Embassy is on Facebook.Let's inundate them with requests for permission to enter their airspace.

  2. Given that the Russians and NASA are in close co-operation in relation to the space programme, might not NASA be able to exert some influence to speed up Russian bureaucracy?