Charity campaigner and adventurer, Norman Surplus, touched down in Stornoway last week in the final leg of a world record flight in a gyrocopter.
The Northern Irishman flew the small contraption around the world to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK.
Norman’s adventure began with a diagnosis of advanced bowel cancer in 2003 at the age of 40. He was given a 40 percent chance of survival, with only an expected 18 months to live.
Unlike most hospital patients, daytime TV proved an inspiration.
A programme showing the repair of an autogyro aircraft buoyed him to one day pilot his own plane and beat his illness. He became a certified pilot in 2005, having made a full recovery, and embarked on a truly spectacular trip, breaking the world record for the longest flight in a gyrocopter. Not everything was plain sailing: “The most anxious moments on the trip have been weather-related... a building thunderstorm system, a strong headwind, or the unexpected severity of turbulence experienced in the mountains.
“Some notable memories have been ditching in a shallow lake in Thailand, overflying wild fires and swirling smoke in the jungles of Myanmar, an emergency landing and overnight stop at a petrol station in Saudi Arabia, overflying the ice cap in Southern Greenland, and many more!”
Check out this week’s Stornoway Gazette for the rest of this feature and much more!