Belfast Telegraph

Gyrocopter pilot completes round-the-world trip

A UK cancer survivor who navigated the globe in a gyrocopter has said his journey should give hope to other patients.

Norman Surplus, 52, paid tribute to the humanity of those who helped him on his solo flight through so many different countries.

He ended his epic trip on a playing field in Larne, Co Antrim, where family and friends waited to greet him as he landed in a flimsy-looking open cockpit craft which became famous after an appearance in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.

But nobody has crossed the globe in one until now and Mr Surplus is bidding to be recognised in the UK for a round the world trip, despite being barred from part of his route by Russia.

Mr Surplus declared: "There is hope after surgery and chemotherapy and it is a very personal journey I have been on but I have managed to involve the whole world."

He set off from Belfast in 2010 as part of efforts to raise awareness and money for cancer charities.

But his plans were upset by Russia's refusal to allow him to travel from Vladivostok to Alaska.

Instead the craft was shipped to the US, from where he completed his travels unaided.

He said: "It has been an epic journey, you could not have predicted how it would turn out."

He added his faith in the 92-year-old technology had been repaid.

"The amount of trust you have to put in it, 200 miles out at sea with another 200 to go, it carried me home.

"The generosity of people and humanity around the world, every country...I turned up in this little aircraft and every country said that guy needs help and they gave me help.

"You could not have done it without the assistance of the local people...every country was the same, people are just the same around the world."

Mr Surplus flew from Northern Ireland through 18 countries in Europe, the Middle East and east across Asia to Japan where the gyrocopter was put in storage for three years amid wrangling with Russian intelligence authorities.

In September 2014 the bright yellow G-YROX was shipped to Oregon in the US.

In June this year Mr Surplus once again took to the skies flying across the US into Canada, out to sea to Greenland and around the island's southern shores before hopping to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides and home, accompanied by a convoy of fellow gyrocopters.

He said: "I don't know if I would do a second lap."


From Belfast Telegraph