GyroxGoesGlobal Timeline: Installment Two.


The Flight Across Europe



March 22nd 2010 

March 22nd to March 25th 2010 

March 25th 2010 

March 26th 2010 

March 27th 2010 

March 28th 2010 

March 29th 2010 

March 30th 2010 

 March 31st 2010

April 1st 2010 

 April 2nd 2010

April 2nd - April 5th 2010 

Norman and G-YROX depart from the Sandy Bay Playing Fields in Larne, Northern Ireland on the first leg of the circumnavigation. Waving farewell to the many well wishers below, Norman points the bright yellow autogyro eastwards and heads off across the Irish Sea to mainland Britain.

The first destination reached, the first of many more to come, was the small airfield benath the Long Mynd hills in Shropshire, England. Base for the Midland Gliding Club, it is also home to Rotorsport UK, the suppliers of the MT-03 autogyro that Norman is using.

Some followers of the flight via the online 'Spot' tracker were worried that following Norman's arrival in Shropshire the tracker showed no movement for a day or two. This was due to a planned stop at Rotorsport for last minute tweaks to the engine and airframe in readiness for the rigours of the rest of the round the world flight. Whilst he was waiting for the work to be finished on G-YROX Norman recalls that he stayed in a country Inn nestled at the bottom of the mountain, possibly called The Crown.

On the Morning of March the 25th, Norman and a fully 'tweaked' G-YROX departed from Rotorsport's runway and headed south east. He was joined mid-air, just south of Birmingham by fellow Gyro pilot, John Butler, who accompnied him for the rest of his flight to Kent,  arriving at Stoke Airfield near Sheerness, later that day.

Norman did fly over his sister's house, North of London, where a big 'Good Luck' sign had been laid out in the garden!

Stoke Airfield is home to a thriving Microlight scene as well as the 'GyroSchool', run by a friend of Norman's from his Kirkbride training days, Kai Maurer. Kai had been one of the fellow 'gyronauts' who had accompanied Norman on his French flight the year before and was happy to put Norman up for the night, where Gyro talk was probably the order of the day!


 March the 26th can probably called the day the adventure truly started as Norman prepared to leave the familiarity of the British Isles and head across the English Channel to France and mainland Europe.

This departure was made even more poignant as 4 other Gyro's joined Norman to fly in formation as far as the White Cliffs of Dover where the fellow Gyro pilots waved goodbye and Norman headed out over the English Channel.

Norman had pleasant weather during his crossing of the Channel and landed at  Le Touquet Airport on the north coast of France at around 1pm. Le Touquet is what is called a 'Gateway' airport and was the first of many Gateways that he would encounter. On arrival into and departure from a new country a pilot must land at a customs/immigration enabled airport even if other airfields looked more convenient.

So after being welcomed by local follower, Mr Roger Sandrin, and clearing customs it was time to continue onwards to his first overnight stop on foreign soil.



Norman headed south from Le Touquet, covering the 140 miles to the beautiful town of Chartres, arriving at the General Aviation aerodrome of Chartres-Champhol around 7pm. This arrival was the first of many that was co-ordinated with the help of one of Norman's small army of Facebook followers. In this case, Mme Jane Forsyth Colou, an ex-pat Irish lady living in France had been following Norman on Facebook and had offered her services to Norman and the Gyrox team.  

Her story of Norman's arrival and overnight stay makes for interesting reading and can be found on  a special 'Contributor' page by clicking here...

Jane's Story





With Norman's late arrival at Chartres (the airport usually closed at 6pm) the work done by Mme Colou in organising Norman's welcome came into its own. She had persuaded airport staff to stay late to co-ordinate Norman's arrival and even managed to arrange hangarage for G-YROX which was  a welcome extra for Norman as the rain moved in.

She had also arranged transport for Norman and his 'Fuel Bag' so he could fill up at the local Supermarket gas station! She even arranged accomodation in a nearby hotel and persuaded the staff that Norman would be in need of a hot meal when he arrived, even though the kitchens had closed!

Thus ended the first day of flying outside the British Isles. A day where Norman was grateful to the power of the various social networking sites which allowed him to meet 'friends' along the way. People he would otherwise have never had the chance to meet and enjoy their company.

March the 27th started with intermittent showers between sunny periods. But as planned, Jane, along with her son Alexandre, picked Norman up from the hotel and drove him to the airfield where G-YROX had spent the night away from the elements in a spacious hangar. 

Still in the hangar Norman busied himself preparing the Gyro for the next leg of the journey and had help from Jane to refuel the aircraft. At this juncture a jounalist arrived and Norman did an interview, with Jane acting as translator. As soon as this journalist had finished, another one arrived and Norman had to go through the interview all over again.

Preparations for departure continued apace with the occasional interruption as local aviators would drop by to wish Norman good luck on his quest.  But after a few false starts (read about it in Jane's story) Norman was able to depart from a rather wet Chartres runway at about 12:30pm with the goal of reaching Beziers in the south of France before dark.

This was a proposed overland flight of well over 400 miles and Norman intended to use this opportunity to try out the TurtlePac Fuel Bag, strapped into the rear seat, before it became a neccessity on the long open-water crossings.

Norman chose to fly at a lower level than would be normal and this meant he had to set a south westerly course so as to by pass the range of hills in central France known as the 'Massif Central'.

This did allow him to make a quick stop at Sarlat Domme airfield, near Rochefort in the Aquitaine region of central France. Norman had visited this small airfield, situated on top of a domed hill, on his previous tour of France the year before, and now, in familiar surroundings was able to physically check that the TurtlePac Fuel system was working properly and also take time out to eat the packed lunch Jane had supplied before he departed from Chartres.

After departing Sarlat Domme, happy that the fuel system was working perfectly, Norman headed towards Beziers but before long realised that a weather front that was closing in would make a landing at Beziers out of the question. At this juncture Norman decided to divert to the small international airport at Carcassonne, 42 miles from the Mediterranean coast.

Landing at Carcassonne around 5pm, Norman was helped by members of the local flying club to put G-YROX away for the night and also to find accomodation, staying for the night in the Campanille-Carcassonne Hotel very close to the airport.


March the 28th started with Norman being guest of honour at the local Flying Club's Celebration Luncheon, where a giant Paella was the dish of the day and the setting was the Flying Clubs Hangar, which seemed appropriate enough.

After his lunch Norman departed Carcassonne and headed towards the coast which he joined west of Beziers. He then had a delightful flight following the shore of the Cap D' Agde, heading east towards his final landing in mainland France.

Because it was March, the beaches were devoid of human activity (probably for the best as Cap' D' Agde is a mecca for Nudists!) Norman did have company along the way when he flew over massive flocks of Flamingos, a normal sight areound the salt marshes in this part of southern France.

Although he intended to land at Toulon for an overnight stop, it turned out that they had a 5 ton minimum limit for arriving aircraft! This meant that his final airfield in mainland France was Cuers-Pierrefeu, a small airfield a few miles north east of Toulon, on the Cote D'azur.

Norman was able to find a small motel nearby where later that evening he gave the first 'live' interview from the flight to the BBC World Service. This was achieved by mobile phone relay, although the only reliable signal was found with Norman's head stuck in a corner of his room, bent at a most ungainly angle! 


March the 29th was set to be the first true test of man and machine as Norman was due to take G-YROX on a 200 mile crossing of the Meditteranean Sea, as his next destination was the French island of Corsica. His original destination was Marina di Campo airport on the Italian island of Elba, but this was closed due to maintenance.

Following his departure from Cuers his course across the Meditteranean was plagued with low cloud (800ft base level) which meant that he spent most of his first long open water flight checking instruments and GPS readings. On the few occasions he could admire the view he was amazed to see a pod of Dolphins  swimming majestically below him and on another occasion he saw a yacht on a similar course to his and being a keen yachtsman, deliberated on the fact that he would reach land in about 3 hours whereas the people on the yacht would do the same journey in 3 days!

Approaching Corsica he realised, with the cloud base so low, that he would have to divert around the northern coast of the island as the mountains were too high to allow a straightline flight across the island.

But, as Norman would profess on more than one occasion, coastal flying is a much better and safer option for the Autogyro pilot and with not much bother Norman alighted on the taxiway nearest to the terminal at the east coast airport of Bastia-Poretta, much to the consternation of the air traffic controllers!

Luckily, a member of the airport staff was able to find a small space in one of the hangars where G-YROX, because of her diminutive size, was safely squeezed into place for the night. The staff member was also able to find an out of season hotel for the weary flyer and even managed to book breakfast for him.

March the 30th started with Norman alleviating concerns shown by many of his followers who had been following the 'Spot Tracker' the day before when it suddenly became stationary over the sea, a few miles out from the Corsican coast! A lot of people thought that Norman had had to ditch in the sea and were very worried but it was actually due to a malfunction with the equipment which didn't update the track into Bastia.

But with flight plan filed and customs cleared, Norman took off from Poretta and headed out over the Tyrrhenian Sea towards Italy, an open water crossing of just short of a 100 miles. But on reaching the Italian mainland the flight got interesting! Norman's destination was Pescara on the east coast which meant flying across the mountain chain that runs the length of the 'boot' of Italy, The Appenines. As can be imagined, flying a small aircraft like G-YROX through the mountain valleys has its own problems and Norman has described these in depth for those who are interested in the technical and piloting processes. Click here for a special page of Norman's descriptions...

Norman's own Technical Descriptions.

Following a 4 hour flight across the backbone of Italy, which had Norman using all his Gyro skills that he had learned in the mountains of the Lake District, Norman arrived at 'Campo Di Volo la Porta Delle Aquille' an airfield on the Italian East coast near Pescara, with a name probably longer than its runway!

Norman was able to find a room for the night, in a local holiday villa resort where he was the only resident! 


 March the 31st and Norman departed the airfield with the long name, which translates to 'The Eagles Gate', and headed south down the Italian east coast. His 'gateway' airfield turned out to be a small grass strip at Torre Sant'Andrea, on the tip of the 'heel' of Italy.

Unlike so many airfields that Norman would land at, the reception at Torre Sant'Andrea was a much quieter affair. In fact, the only witness to Norman's arrival was a stray dog who was very curious about this strange yellow bird. A bit too curious it turned out as Norman had to cut the engine during taxiing in because the pup was getting too close to the propellor!

Luckily, not long after his arrival, a local flyer turned up and was able to sign the correct forms that would allow Norman to leave Italy and continue on his next leg to Greece! There was one bureaucratic hitch in the proceddings though. The flight plan had to be filed with the Milan office and the form required a diversion airfield to be listed. As the flight was non-stop over the sea until he reached Corfu there was no alternate airfield en route! But the rules say that there must be a diversion airfield listed! In the end Norman added to the form an airfield miles out of the way, nowhere on his route and in the opposite direction to where he was going...This was acceptable and both Norman and the bureaucrats were happy!

So, with documents signed and stray dog tied up, Norman flew out of the heel of Italy and headed out over the Ionian Sea for the 100 mile flight to the Island of Corfu, one of the gorgeous Greek Islands.

His arrival at Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport, otherwise know as Kikera Airport, Corfu, was a strange affair. He was met on the runway by a 'Follow Me' van and was then ushered into a hardstanding by a marshall, complete with ping pong bats! Maybe the bureaucrats back in Milan had mistakenly classed G-YROX as a small airliner? But no, it was all tongue in cheek and a sign of the Greek humour.

Norman also encountered his first taste of Greek hospitality as one of the airport staff, who was finishing her shift, gave Norman a lift into the town where he was able to get a room by the harbour. He was also able to send a quick message to the blog qualming any fears followers might have had as the Spot tracker had put G-YROX safely tucked up for the night...a few miles out to sea! It was believed that atmospherics had caused the malfunction with the tracker.  


April the 1st was no April Fool's Day for Norman as he departed from Kikera airport and flew low level through the Greek Islands. Balmy weather and a nice tail-wind made the flight to Kythira, a Greek island at the southern tip of Mainland Greece, a very pleasant experience.

He arrived at the unseasonally quiet international airport of Kythira after a 300+ mile flight and was greeted by a number of airport staff who gave him a great welcome.

At the airport Norman was able to hire a car which allowed him to take a leisurely tour of this small island (17miles x 18 miles at the widest points). He was intrigued to encounter a herd of wild mountain goats on his travels and finally found a small fishing village where he was able to get a room for the night and rest in a typical Greek atmosphere.


 April the 2nd and the start of the Easter weekend. There was a worry that Kythira airport may be closed for the day but after a leisurely drive back to the airport Norman was once again greeted by a crowd of followers from the airport.

A quick meal was planned and Norman was amazed to see that the Cafe's menu had something special planned! The hope that it might have meant free food for Gyro pilots was soon scupperted when it turned out that the word 'Gyro' on the menu actually meant 'Kebab' in Greek.

Of course, it had to be tried, and after finishing off his 'Gyro' norman then said his goodbyes to the new friends he had made on this lovely island and took off in another type of 'Gyro', heading towards his final destination in Europe, Crete, until he once again touches down on British soil, possibly many months in the future.

A straight line flight of 182 miles from Kythera to Sitia airport in Crete would've seemed the obvious choice for Norman, but following a number of comments on Facebookj and the blog, wondering why Norman had zig-zagged along the Cretan coastline adding many more miles to his flight, Norman decided to describe the reasons why he prefered this route to the percieved easier one. Read his personal description by clicking here...

Norman's Own Technical Descriptions.

But following his enjoyable zig-zag flight along the Cretan coast, Norman arrived at Sitia Public Airport in the far north-eastern corner of the island at 15:55pm. Even though it was the easter weekend, this part of the Crete coastline was still relatively untouched by the tourist trade and with the help of a local airport handler, Norman was able quite easily to find a hotel in the town, close to the seafront.

Because it was Easter and also due to entrance restrictions for Egypt, Norman was to spend the next few days relaxing in Sitia.   


April the 3rd and 4th were non-flying days, and Norman made the most of the rest period by catching up with blog posts and emails and calls back home.

The airport handler who helped Norman on his arrival in Sitia also accompanied him to the various Easter celebrations taking place in the surrounding area over that weekend.

But eventually the morning of Monday the 5th of April arrived and it was time for Norman to enter a brand new phase of the Circumnavigation. 

Not only was he about to fly almost 400 miles across the Mediterranean Sea, with no divert options, but he was also about to leave the familiar comforts of flying in Europe as his next arrival would be in a new continent!

Africa, in the form of Egypt, awaits our plucky Gyronaut as he dons his flying suit on the apron at Sitia. Read what happens next as Norman discovers the Middle East in installment three...Egypt to Oman.


*   *   *

Norman lines up G-YROX ready for take-off at Sandy Bay Playing fields, Larne.  

 G-YROX lined up with other MT-03's at Rotorsport's UK HQ at Long Mynd, Shropshire.

The Long Mynd in Shropshire, England.  

Kai Maurer on approach to the rather curvy runway at Stoke airfield. The River Medway is on the left. 

Norman's friend and fellow Gyronaut, Kai Maurer 

 Norman and fellow Gyronauts pose for a group photo before departing Stoke airfield and flying to the English Channel in a 5 ship fromation.

Norman and G-YROX with part of the 5 Gyro formation flying over the Kent countryside. 

 Norman Taxy's G-YROX into the flightline at Le Touquet airport, France

Norman is greeted at Le Touquet by Mr Roger Sandrin. 

Norman sports a big smile as he confirms that in one day he has flown from Kent to Chartres, the adventure is truly underway! 

Norman beavers away, preparing G-YROX for flight in the dry of the hangar at Chartres.

(All Chartres -Champhol courtesy of Jane Forsyth Colou) 

G-YROX at the fuel stand in Chartres 

Norman throttles up and taxy's out from the wet apron at Chartres 

Norman 'models' the Ursuit during his short stop at Sarlat Domme. 

The collapsable TurtlePac Fuel Bag in situ in the rear seat of G-YROX 

Norman is guest of honour at the Carcassonne Flying Club Luncheon. 

 G-YROX on Carcassonne's apron prior to departure. This gives a good idea of how much gear Norman has to pack into the cramped cockpit each time he flies!

 Pink Flamingo's in the salt marshes around Cap D'Agde

Norman being welcomed at Cuers, France, by the Mayor of the town (pictured right) 

Norman pre-flights G-YROX before departing Cuers. 

Bastia Airport in Corsica, showing the taxiway where Norman created raised eyebrows from the Control Tower staff! 


 Norman with Jean, Bastia airport maintenance man, who looked after Norman and G-YROX in Corsica

Norman phones home to check in after his safe arrival at the grass airfield of 'Campo Di Volo La Porta Delle Aquile'...otherwise known as Pescara, in Italy. 

G-YROX, safely on the ground at Pescara following the flight across the snow capped Apennines which can be seen in the background 

 If anyone has photos from any of the airfields that Norman used in Italy and would like to see them posted here please let us know at Thank you.

Norman arrives at Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport in Corfu, Greece. 

(Courtesy of Roland Brunner) 

Did the restaurant in Kythera know Norman was coming for lunch? 

It turns out 'Gyro' is a type of Greek Kebab. But Norman decided to try one anyway. 

Norman prepares G-YROX for departure from Kythera as the friendly airport staff look on. 

Norman finishes donning all his gear outside the small but friendly terminal building at Kythira.  

Final adjustments made and Norman and G-YROX depart from Kythira for the Island of Crete.

(All Kythira photos courtesy of Anna Louradou) 

The Approach into Sitia Airport, Crete, with the town where Norman stayed over the Easter weekend to the right. 

If anyone has photos from Norman's stay in Crete and would like to see them posted here please let us know at Thank you.