Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Gyrocopter pilot lands in Japan

Norman Surplus, 48, from Larne, has landed his gyrocopter in Japan after days of bureaucratic wrangling

A Co Antrim cancer sufferer who is bidding to fly around the world in a gyrocopter has landed in Japan after days of bureaucratic wrangling.

Norman Surplus, 48, from Larne, took to the air to raise money for research into the disease.

The Foreign Office and Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson helped secure his permission to fly through Japan.

Mr Surplus's blog said: "We are delighted to confirm that after a nine-hour flight, Norman has safely landed at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan.

"This incredible feat of airmanship has taken him from the Philippines across the Philippine Sea to Japan, quite an extraordinary accomplishment seeing it was the first leg of the second part of this circumnavigation and the first flight of any distance that Norman has undertaken since last August.

"This has been a fantastic start to the resumption of the circumnavigation, not only because of the length of the flight, 730 miles, but because he has arrived in a new country, the 17th of the journey, and what a place to arrive."

His estimated 27,000-mile adventure takes in deserts, mountains and oceans, along with some of the world's most remote outposts.

The gyrocopter became famous after an appearance in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Nobody has circumnavigated the globe in one.

The expedition was prevented from travelling through Chinese airspace so diplomacy turned to Japan.

Mr Paterson said: "I am delighted to have been able to give some small assistance to Norman as he attempts to circumnavigate the globe. I acknowledge the assistance of the Foreign Office, the British Embassy team in Tokyo and the Japanese authorities who have all worked together to secure permission for Norman's flight through Japanese airspace."

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