April 24, 2010 Longest
distance flown in an autogyro - Norman Surplus sets world
KOLKATA (Calcutta), India -- Father-of-two
Norman Surplus, 47, has now flown 7,118 miles since
he set off from Larne as he flew into Kolkata, India - setting
the new world record for the Longest
distance flown in an autogyro. Photo: Norman's departue by Stephen Craig
Surplus has gone through 12 countries including Greece,
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Pakistan, but still has
a daunting 20,000 miles left to fly before his ambitious adventure
No one has ever managed to circumnavigate
the globe in an autogyro, which is the predecessor to the
modern-day helicopter that was made famous by an appearance
in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.
"I am looking forward to having a curry
in Pakistan. When I told them I am from Northern Ireland they
were all worried the food would be too hot for me but when
I was in the restaurant I recognised most of the dishes from
takeaways at home."
Norman said the most challenging thing he has
faced so far is the heat in India. "It was 47 degrees centigrade
earlier. As I was descending down from the 6,500 feet I usually
fly at, it was just getting hotter and hotter and hotter,
like flying into an oven," he said.
A spokesman for the record bid added: “He
has also been nominated for another world record, speed over
a recognised course — Larne, Northern Ireland to Alexandria,
Egypt — according to the Fédération Aéronautique International
(FAI) who are overseeing his flight.
“He has had many challenges along the way so
far, including: overcoming bureaucracy in the Middle East,
sourcing fuel in the desert, intense heat in central India
while flying through freezing cold in high altitudes over
the roasting deserts — and he expects more challenges to come
on the next phase of the journey.”
By reaching Kolkata, Norman has beaten all
previous Guinness world records attempts, including the 2004
Global Eagle expedition — in which the total distance travelled
was 6,511 miles. That bid was abandoned because of a monsoon.
Next stop for Norman will be Bangladesh
before he travels further east towards Thailand, the Philippines
and on to Japan.
The autogyro will take the following route:
· Europe - Northern Ireland, SW Scotland,
England, South through France, Italy, and the Greek islands
before crossing the Mediterranean sea. · Middle east via Egypt, Saudi Arabia,
across the gulf of Oman, · Asia - Pakistan, Indian Sub Continent,
Bangladesh, Mayanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan,
Japanese pacific islands and mainland, · Russia & North America - Bering
Straights, Alaska, Canada, USA, Canada, · Frozen waters & home - Greenland,
Iceland, Faeroes, Hebrides, NW Scotland, Northern Ireland
What makes Norman's journey even more amazing
is the fact that, just five years ago, his outlook was bleak
as he battled cancer.
But after months of treatment he beat the
disease and was intent on breaking a world record, raising
money and awareness for cancer research along the way.
He has set up a website where people can
monitor his progress and even watch on the tracker system
to see some of the fascinating sights that he passes along
the way. It is also possible to donate money to cancer research
and treatment by logging into his website at www.gyroxgoesglobal.com.