Extreme weather grounds gyrocopter flight

AN Ulster man's attempt to make the first round-the-world gyrocopter flight has been grounded for almost six months because of weather conditions, it has emerged.

Norman Surplus, from Larne, is currently on the island of Luxon in the Philippines. He had been planning his next stage to Japan and Russia before crossing the Pacific Ocean.

Instead, he will remain in the Philippines because of extreme weather forecast in the Bering Sea, within the Pacific, as well as the north Atlantic.

This is the second major frustration for the 47-year-old, who was forced to spend almost three months in Thailand earlier this year while his aircraft was repaired after crashing into a lake.

A spokesman for Mr Surplus said: "The prospects of realising these sectors of the flight during the autumn and winter periods in an open cockpit gyrocopter are considered to be technically very challenging.

"As a result of this, the pilot, Norman Surplus, has decided to suspend his ongoing FAI World Record attempt until the spring of 2011."

The first half of Mr Surplus' flight has seen him fly almost 18,000 km across mountains, desert, forest fires, sandstorms and open sea.

Mr Surplus has also flown into the record books during 2010 achieving the longest distance ever flown across the globe by a gyrocopter.

He is taking part in the adventure to raise money for bowel cancer charities after beating the disease himself.