Pattaya Daily News

29 April 2010 :: 17:04:21 pm 19329

Round the World Mission in a Gyrocopter

Recently recovered from cancer, Norman Surplus is due to land in Nongprue Airport Pattaya as he makes his way around the world in a ‘gyrocopter’.
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Pattaya 29th April 2010[Pattaya Daily News]Norman Surplus, a 47 year old man from Larne, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is married with two children and co founder of clean energy technology company B9 Energy.

Having recently recovered from bowel cancer he is flying around the world in a James Bond type of gyrocopter in support of Bowel Cancer and having landed this morning at Dong Mueang Airport, Bangkok at 10.31 am, is now on his way to Nongprue Airport, Pattaya where he will be met by the Flying Club and some local media.

Norman is an accomplished autogyro pilot as well as having numerous outdoor interests that span all kinds of environments the world can offer, on land, sea and underground. He is the Second Coxswain on Larne’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution all weather rescue boat which is similar to the coastguard rescue, so as with all RNLI crew is experienced in survival at sea and has had the experience of joint exercises with the RAF Air Sea Rescue, but for Norman, autogyro flying would be the most challenging.

At the age of 40 in 2003, Norman was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer. He underwent surgery within days of diagnosis, but the cancer had spread too far to be completely surgically removed so prognosis was not good with only 40% chance of survival and up to 18 months to live.

He was passed on to the Oncology Department at the Belfast Cancer Centre early in 2004 and started a six month intensive course of Chemotherapy and as he was considered relatively young, the battle began with rigor. His treatment included relatively new kinds of drugs which went on for four cycles of six weeks. For Norman, this was to be a mental battle between the good and bad times lasting four months before he would know whether the chemotherapy was having any effect.

Slowly Norman recovered and after being closely monitored he is now in the clear, but it was during this time of his recovery from surgery that Norman thought of the Autogyro and through watching a TV programme on renovation of an old autogyro plane, a spark of inspiration hit him giving him the determination to return to full health and learn how to fly.

The aircraft had to be refitted to fit in with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requirements. It is a two seat tandem autogyro generally used for short local pleasure flights, carrying out aerial observation where permitted or daily pilot training. Technical support and en-route servicing is being undertaken by Rotorsport UK Ltd. This craft will cruise at 85mph at a height of 600-6,500 feet (200-2,000 metres) offering unparalleled views. Autogyros have been used in films such as You Only Live Twice and Mad Max 2.

His four month adventure began on ST. Patrick’s Day, 22nd March 2010, setting off from Sandy Bay, Larne, Northern Ireland in order to gain the “First Absolute World Record” already completing a roughly a quarter of the 27,000 miles (43,400 km) with 13 more countries left to travel through.

His travel will take him across Europe, Asia, Japan, Russia, North America, Iceland then home making him the first person to fly solo in the longest distance in an autogyro, crossing deserts, mountains and oceans.

Planning the route was the most complex part, having to negotiate customs, visas and flight permissions with full support of these activities from White Rose Aviation.

According to Fédération Aéronautique International (FAI) who are overseeing his flight, having already travelled through N. Ireland, England, France, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Pakistan, India and now Thailand, Norman has been nominated for another world record, ‘Speed over a recognised course’, Larne N. Ireland to Alexandria, Egypt.

Already Norman has faced many challenges along the route: overcoming bureaucracy in the Middle East, sourcing fuel in the desert, intense heat in Central India, flying through freezing cold altitudes over the roasting deserts, but he is expecting more challenges over the next phase of the journey.

Interest in Normans’ adventure is growing by the minute with media coverage and Face book friends now standing at 800 from across the world.

Photo : Internet   Category : Tourism News

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