Belfast Telegraph

Norman gets a new co-pilot for gyrocopter record bid

By John Mulgrew

A Larne pilot whose record-setting bid to fly around the world in a gyrocopter has been put on hold has been joined by a co-pilot.

Norman Surplus (49) — a wind farm director who beat bowel cancer in 2003 — has been denied permission by Russian authorities to use their airspace.

Now he’s found some company in the form of ‘Dougie’.

His new companion is a ‘gastronaut’ puppet from the Stomawise cancer charity which Norman is now involved with. A stoma is an incision in the body to aid drainage.

Dougie joined the adventurer at Shonai Airport in Japan.

Speaking about his own battle with cancer, Norman said: “I underwent surgery and chemo treatment for advanced stage bowel cancer back in 2003.

“Although my treatment didn't require me to be fitted with a stoma, it still made me much more aware of the types of practical difficulties faced by others in very similar situations.

“For young children it must be a particularly challenging time as they come to terms with and perhaps have to even re-learn the practicalities of everyday life.”

Time is running out for Norman in his bid to fly around the globe with air restrictions forcing him to put his epic journey on hold for almost a year.

He has already flown over 18 countries and achieved a multitude of world records in his bid to be the first to circumnavigate the globe in his gyrocopter.

It’s the last remaining type of aircraft that has yet to fly around the world.

He has covered around 13,000 miles in his five-metre long aircraft — about halfway to his target.

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