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UK man sets aviation record

A Northern Ireland-based cancer survivor circumnavigating the globe in a gyrocopter has set a new record for the longest distance flown in the open cockpit aircraft.

world Updated: Apr 26, 2010 22:41 IST

A Northern Ireland-based cancer survivor circumnavigating the globe in a gyrocopter has set a new record for the longest distance flown in the open cockpit aircraft.



Norman Surplus, 47, has now flown 7,118 miles since he set off on March 22 from Larne as he flew into Kolkata, setting the new world record.



He has so far travelled through 12 countries including Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Pakistan, but still has 20,000 miles left to fly before his ambitious adventure is complete.



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.



Speaking from India, Surplus told the

Belfast Telegraph

: "It hasn't really sunk in as yet but it shows now that all these records are do-able. I'm hoping to try for a few more records including flying coast to coast in America. But this is the first real milestone."



"I've had various notable experiences. I landed in the desert in Saudi Arabia and landed almost in the dark in Jeddah. I also had to do an emergency landing because of a thunderstorm and had to stay in a garage, complete with camel -- you couldn't make it up. I've been buoyed all the way by the support from home," he added.



A spokesman for the record project said: "He has also been nominated for another world record, speed over a recognised course -- Larne, Northern Ireland to Alexandria, Egypt.



Norman said: "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."

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