Norman had just finished writing a book about his remarkable circumnavigation of the globe in an autogryo when he passed away suddenly at home on April 19. Read more
But unfortunately he didn’t get to see the copies he’d ordered for a final proof as they arrived two days after his death.
For his family, however, there is the comfort of knowing his first-hand account of the odyssey at the controls of G-YROX is now available to a wider audience.
Norman’s widow Celia revealed: “Getting that book and the accompanying website finished and ready for despatch has been a real team effort involving myself, Felix our son, Norman’s sister Norah, brother David and friend Kenny. Our daughter Petra is also going to be very much involved in despatching both the pre orders, and any further orders that we hope are generated.
“The book is titled ‘ First Gyro’, which is a reference to the fact that G-YROX, or Roxy as she was known to many of her fans, was indeed, with Norman at the controls, the first autogyro to circumnavigate the earth.”
Norman blazed a trail across the planet, piloting his craft to numerous countries and racking up several world records. The mammoth solo flight started in 2010 and was supposed to last just a few months, but due bureaucratic wrangling, it took him almost five years to arrive back in his hometown of Larne.
The book can be purchased in two ways at the moment and there’s an online bonus of further insight to Norman’s sky-high escapades.
Celia explained: “People can go to Norman’s website Firstgyro.net, where they can order the book and hopefully within a week look at some of the many photos he took on his travels, collated into the relevant chapters.
“We are still working on the accompanying photo gallery, as when he died, Norman hadn’t quite finished this bit. However, some of the people he met on his travels have been submitting some of their own photos of Norman, in the ‘Readers Gallery’ section of the website , which give further insight into his journey.
“The second place to buy First Gyro is from the Booknook, on the Main Street in Larne. If you are unable to get into Larne and don’t fancy ordering online, the Booknook provides a great service whereby you can phone them, and they’ll post you whatever book you’d like, for a very reasonable fee. Their number is 028 28 260395.”
First Gyro also comes with an endorsement in the form of a glowing review from Guy Warner, a renowned aviation author.
Guy commented: “This is a remarkable story, well-written by a proud son of Larne, amply demonstrating his outstanding qualities, which may be described as an indomitable spirit, allied to dogged determination in the face of personal adversity, grit, perseverance and resourcefulness in dealing with the many challenges he encountered on his journey; supplemented by considerable technical and seat-of-the-pants flying skills. Even though it is over 500 pages long, the pace never flags, it is an easy and absorbing read.”
There’s an altruistic element to the publication too.
“First Gyro costs £20, but Norman intended to donate £10,000 from the proceeds to the RNLI, his second great passion, and the family is still committed to doing this,” Celia added.