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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Russian security service dash hopes of world record global flight completion


An attempt to fly the first autogyro / gyrocopter around the world has been forced to quit its full circumnavigation. This is after travelling thousands of miles flying consecutively through 18 of the 24 countries needed to achieve this Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record Circumnavigation. This is because the Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB) have refused to respond to requests from that countries Civil Aviation Authority (CAA / FATA). The Russian CAA cannot issue the required flight permission to fly through their airspace without FSB input. This is particularly frustrating for pilot and adventurer Norman Surplus as there seems to be no issues related to the aircraft, weather, routing or himself

Norman, currently holder of nine FAI world records, started his record setting bid, named Gyrox Goes Global, from Northern Ireland in March 2010. Upon reaching the 18th country (Japan) in July 2011 it was then halted by a rescinded overflight permission for the Russian Far East due to unexpected flight delays earlier in the route. Since that point, new Russian permission has been repeatedly sought from 2011 to 2014 while the aircraft has been kept in Japan and Norman has patiently waited.

“It is not as if a global World Record attempt such as this poses any sort of meaningful “security” issue for any particular country, rather, it should be held up and viewed for what it is, a friendly, positive symbol of international cooperation, much like any other truly global sporting event such as the Olympics or the football World Cup. Those events would simply not happen unless all the participating countries agreed to work together simply and for no other purpose other than for the advancement and celebration of sporting achievement throughout the world. The world community is enriched by such events and they are a constant reminder of our common humanity on this planet.


Initially all seemed to go well, all local en route airfields across the Russian Far East were contacted and proved 100% supportive, fuel logistics worked out, much support and encouragement was offered from the local aviation community and both the Russian CAA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked their best to secure the all so necessary flight permission. However there was one glitch in all the meticulous planning. According to the guidelines for such flights various agencies needed to be consulted for their opinion on the suitability of the flight. Unfortunately one such “statutory consultee” was missing and simply did not respond despite numerous attempt to ask them to do so. That agency was the Federal Security Bureau (FSB).

Norman speaking about this said “The reason for the continued and consistent lack of any FSB response is baffling and extremely frustrating for our whole team and also for our many supporters that have closely followed the flight so far”.

He continues:
In our case however, it is only by the combined openness of all the 24 countries involved en route that a successful circumnavigation can ever hope to be achieved. So it`s a very sad state of affairs when we are now halted, not through any physical impasse or barrier to aviation but purely through an apparent lack of enthusiasm from one government Agency to even be bothered to respond to a simple request asked from another Agency, when they are supposedly both working for the benefit and advancement of the same country on the world stage”

Media enquiries to Tom Burns worldreachpr@gmail.com

Friday, 8 August 2014

Cyclist successfully finishes the fastest ever ride of the Himalayas

Austrian cyclist Jacob Zurl (26) successfully finished the fastest ever ride of the Himalayas in 38 hours 40 min. 

Here is his brief report in his own words.
"Because of the heavy rain in Manali we started on Monday (August 4th, 2014.) at 11:00 am in Manali - Main Bazar. I reached the Khardung La at 1:40 am.

It was harder than I ever thought. To cycle for so many hours in such high altitude is real extrem and very difficult for mind and body. Every hour my support crew measured my oxygen saturation and three times it was the lowest ever. So my support team decided to do a short stop. They also thought that my body wouldn't handle the thin air over that many hours and that he would have to stop the record attempt. I really want to thank my girlfriend, Greta (who studies medicine), who made the decision that he can go on.

The road was so bad - maybe only 50% was asphalt - and at the end my arms and my ass hurt so much."

He did his ride without stopping for sleeping while dealing with extreme temperatures, the poor / no road surface, freezing streams, slush and thin air of high altitude. Jacob was attempting to do this in less than 48 hours - a journey that is usually completed by experienced cyclists in two weeks!