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Northern Ireland man's gyrocopter bid stalls

So far it has been a slow journey for the Northern Ireland man hoping to circumnavigate the globe in a gyrocopter — the aircraft made famous in the James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’.

Norman Surplus set off on his epic adventure last Tuesday but according to his online tracker the Larne man (47) was last night still in the UK.

It is understood the gyrocopter was grounded in Shropshire for two days for some last-minute technical upgrades. But the father-of-two, who survived bowel cancer five years ago, embarks on the second leg of his 27,000-mile journey tomorrow.

A spokesman for Mr Surplus told the Belfast Telegraph: “We have a technical base in Shropshire where the Gyrox autogyro was getting some final technical adjustments because of the extraordinary demands of the journey. This was already planned for.

“Norman and Gyrox are now heading for Kent for an overnight. On Friday, March 26 it will be flying across the white cliffs of Dover accompanied by another autogyro acting as camera platform. Then to France and it is expected in Le Touquet airport on Friday (depending on weather conditions) then three other stops, in Sarlat Domme and Béziers-Vias Saturday and finally Toulon-Hyères airport Sunday before heading down across Italy on Monday.”

Mr Surplus is hoping to fly his way into the history books by completing the last great aviation challenge. His trip is expected to take around 115 days and will see him fly across Europe, past the Egyptian Pyramids, over Saudi Arabia, India, Asia and Russia, along the Canadian Rockies into the USA, round Greenland and through Iceland before finally flying home via the Faroe Islands.

Mr Surplus lifted off from Sandy Bay in Larne last week.

“This record needs to be set, so I set about planning the expedition. It’s probably about two years in the planning. The organising process is probably as arduous as the actual flight,” he said.

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