Northern Ireland

First autogyro round-the-world trip completed by Larne pilot

Norman Surplus
Image caption Norman Surplus began his round-the-world trip in 2010

After nine years, 27,000 miles and 32 countries a County Antrim adventurer has become the first person to fly around the world in an autogyro.

Norman Surplus, from Larne, completed his task on Friday evening when he reached the United States.

An autogyro is a small helicopter-like aircraft.

It marks the end of a journey that began almost a decade ago but was frustrated by difficulties over flight plans.

Mr Surplus set out on Easter Monday to plug the gap in his route after getting permission to fly 5,000 miles west to east across Russia through seven different times zones.

He then flew on to the west coast of the US and landed at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in the state of Oregon to officially complete his circumnavigation of the globe.

Flight path restrictions imposed by Russia had previously delayed his attempts.

Image copyright Norman Surplus
Image caption The County Antrim adventurer on a fly past of Devils Tower in Wyoming

Mr Surplus said: "I'm might relieved to be here. It's a great feeling to have finished what I started right back in 2010 and a bit of aviation history I suppose."

After setting off from his home town he flew to England, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Lithuania and then to Estonia before entering the Russian expanse.

He was joined in his flight across Russia by James Ketchell from Basingstoke who is also trying to fly solo around the world in an autogyro,

During his adventures the County Antrim pilot has had to deal with bad weather, technical and mechanical difficulties and crashing into a lake in Thailand.

Image copyright Norman Surplus
Image caption Flying over a glacier in Greenland

In August 2015, when he landed back in Larne following his first attempt at the round-the-world record, he set the record for single-handedly piloting his autogyro across the Atlantic Ocean.

He had previously flown across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

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