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Around-the-world Gyrocopter force lands in lake

Norman Surplus, who is attempting to be the first person to fly an autogyro around the world, recently forced-landed in a shallow lake.


May 17: Norman Surplus, who is attempting to be the first person to fly an autogyro around the world, recently forced-landed in a shallow lake in Thailand, fortunately without injury or serious damage to the aircraft. Although the Gyrox autogyro suffered superficial damage to the fixed undercarriage, the main airframe keel retained its integrity.

“It was a combination of factors,” said Norman. “It was a very hot afternoon and the gyro was very heavy with fuel. There was also a cross wind that was blowing across the runway. I was trying to take off into the wind and really I didn’t get the correct amount of lift as I was flying. At the end of the runway there were power lines that I had to avoid and meant I couldn’t go on and set it down on the other side of them.

“I couldn’t turn right because there was a grove of coconut palms. On the other side there was a shallow lake so the best option was to try and go over the lake. We just did not have the energy in the rota to stay above the water and the aircraft tumbled over and ended upside down. I came out like you would from a canoe.

“I got the gyro out of the water in about half an hour. A lorry came along and lifted it out and we had the engine running in about two hours after the event.”

Norman is determined to carry on although much of his recording equipment was rendered useless due to water damage. The next phase of the flight will cover approximately 17,000 miles (27,500km) through eleven countries over mountains and open sea including the Bearing Strait. Norman will fly through South East Asia, the Russian Far east, North America, the North Atlantic and home.

Filed Under General Aviation News.


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1 Comment

N Gaunt said on the 19-May-2010 at 03:41

How far has he got so far?

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