An intrepid Northern Ireland man who flew around the world in a gyrocopter is set to embark on another epic adventure.
Norman Surplus blazed a trail across the planet, piloting his craft – nicknamed Roxy – to numerous countries and racking up several world records as part of his incredible odyssey.
The mammoth solo flight started in 2010 and was supposed to last just a few months, but due bureaucratic wrangling, it took Norman almost five years to arrive back in his hometown of Larne. The plucky father-of-two spent years wrangling with the Russian air authorities – even appealing directly to president Vladimir Putin – in a bid to secure permission to fly over their airspace. He was ultimately unsuccessful and was forced to take a different route to complete his journey.
Now, almost four years after he made it back home to his wife Celia and his kids, Felix and Petra, the bowel-cancer survivor is ready for another adventure.
He said: “A few weeks ago, it appears a viable routing has recently opened in Russia to, at long last, permit an overflight.
“This time however it is not just involving a seven day trip across the far east of Russia from Japan to Alaska, it is a 5,000 mile odyssey across the entire breadth of Russia, west to east, spanning seven different time zones.
“It is expected to take 17 flying days to cross and we are allowed 30 days in which to do it, during the month of May.
“Timing is therefore extremely short to prepare both myself and the aircraft for the arduous journey ahead.
“Hopefully we will finally be able to close the loop on achieving the full circumnavigation of the globe, some nine years after initially setting off.”
Norman and Roxy will take off from Sandy Bay playing fields in Larne at 2pm on Monday.