Around-the-World Gyro Pilot Resumes Flight
August 5, 2010 —Norman Surplus, an autogyro pilot from Larne, Northern Ireland, restarted his around-the-world-in-a-gyroplane flight on Sunday, August 1, departing Thailand. His flight was interrupted on May 1, 2010, when he was forced to ditch his heavily-laden aircraft in a lake after attempting a takeoff from Nongprue, Thailand, in crosswinds and high temperatures. Today, he flew to Kota Kinabalu International Airport in northern Borneo, where he was aided by members of EAA Malaysian Chapter 1090.
Surplus is attempting to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe in an autogyro. He intends to visit 26 countries and fly about 27,000 miles, including 4,300 miles over water. An experienced adventurer, Surplus is a cancer survivor, and he credits a television program about the autogyro with providing the spark that inspired him to return to health and learn how to fly.
He’s flying a German-built Rotorsport MT-03 autogyro powered by a 115-hp turbo Rotax 914 with a cruise speed of 80 knots. It’s been modified to carry inflatable fuel bags that Surplus says will increase its range from 300 to 800 miles, which should allow longer-distance hops over the North Atlantic. He’s also wearing a special survival suit he had built especially for the journey.
Norman is navigating with a pair of Garmin 496 GPS units but also carries a Spot GPS unit, which integrates with Google Maps so anyone can view his current position online. He has a blog to provide daily updates and links related to the trip. For more details, visit www.GyroxGoesGlobal.com.