International communications, philosophy and gardening
Sunday, 31 May 2015
7,500 mile open cockpit record breaking flight for aviation adventurer heading across N. America & Atlantic
Like the first days of flying with limited instruments and the wind in your hair
International aviation adventurer and world record holder Norman Surplus plans to fly his gyrocopter registered G-YROX (aka “Roxy”) 7,500 mile flight across the North America and the Atlantic. In his open cockpit, slow flying and with limited range/ instruments this aircraft it is like flying back in the pioneering early days of flight with the wind literally on your face and in your hair.Norman has already traversed 18 countries, crossed forest fires, severe thunderstorms, arid deserts, even a dip in a Thai lake and then hit the Russian wall. The security authorities prevented him flying there despite three years of asking but now this intrepid pilot will be able to fly on into much friendlier airspace. He will stop off in 14 states in the US and will attempt to set a number of FAI world records on the way. Norman is promoting awareness of bowel cancer, while traveling, as a result of his own direct experience of battling with the condition..
As a result of his flight half way around the world, Norman is a nine times Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record holder. Together with his record setting gyrocopter he will depart Oregon on the US west coast to start a world record 7,500 mile flight across the US, Canada and Nth. Atlantic on the 1st of June 2015.
With the aircraft's open cockpit design the pilot is exposed to the elements, slow flying, with limited range and no autopilot, it is like “flying by the seat of the pants”. It is reminiscent of the pioneering world of the 1920’s and 30’s, back in the very early days of powered flight. Norman has already flown into and crossed the UK, France, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan. On his way he crossed forest fires in Myanmar, severe thunderstorms over the Saudi Arabian desert, several unscheduled off airfield landings and even a dip in a Thai lake.
He started out in N. Ireland in 2010 heading eastbound around the globe, but then got stuck in Japan for three years while Russian authorities would not allow his UK registered aircraft into their airspace. Green entrepreneur, cancer survivor, 20 year volunteer Coxswain for the RNLI (the UK sea rescue service) and father of two Norman (52) from N. Ireland. Because of his own experience of bowel cancer in 2003/04 Norman has promoted awareness of the issue on his travels. This has included giving lectures and using every media opportunity to raise the issue. In fact during his recovery from bowel cancer Norman first came across the unique little aircraft, the gyrocopter, and the rest as they say is history…. To date G-YROX is and remains the furthest flown Autogyro aircraft in History
Speaking about the flight Norman said “It is not always the real, physical, hurdles of the flight that have posed the greatest threat to the adventure - although there have been plenty of those - often the major hurdles remain largely bureaucratic. Having said this in the US it is an aviators dream. What ever the challenges, in times of doubt I can always recall how my situation was back in 2003/04 when I was dealing with a very different set of procedures, the outcome of which was equally uncertain, namely bowel cancer surgery and chemotherapy. The absolute uncertainty I felt in those months during treatment by far outweighs any uncertainty I may feel about any bureaucratic delays that occur today. I shall remain consistently happy just to be here at all.”
Norman will depart McMinnville Municipal Airport (KMMV), Oregon, USA in the morning of June 1st. 2015. The actual record attempt will start from close by the Pacific coast at Tillamook Airport (KTMK), Oregon, USA. He will travel over Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Massachusetts and Maine. Departure day is subject to suitable weather conditions and all necessary flight permits from the US FAA and UK CAA
Here are links the various bits of coverage about the launch of Norman's adventure in the US.