Send your message ‘to Russia with love’

Daredevil pilot Norman Surplus is calling on his legion of loyal followers to do their part to help get his epic round the world flight back in the air.

As reported in the Times two weeks ago, the Larne adventurer – who is attempting to fly around the globe in a gyrocopter – wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin appealing for permission to fly over his country’s airspace.

The father-of-two has been grounded in Japan for almost two years, waiting patiently for the Russian civil aviation authorities to process his application.

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And if he is not given the green light in the coming weeks, Norman may be forced to abandon his expedition.

But the 49-year-old is not content to rest all his hopes on his letter to President Putin, and has asked his followers back home in Larne and across the world to contact the Kremlin by email to support his endeavour.

Norman told the Times: “One letter may not make much difference and is easy to ignore, but if the Russian authorities receive a few hundred letters then someone is bound to sit up and take notice.

“You can send your requests to

“This will take you to a website at the Kremlin and you will find a form to fill in and a box where you write your message. Remember to click the button marked Letter to President.”

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Norman returned to Japan earlier this month to carry out maintenance work on his aircraft, which he lovingly refers to as Roxy.

The gyrocopter has been stored in Shonai Airport in the in north west of the country since his since his journey was halted back in July 2011.

Norman’s aircraft is unable to cross the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean and must instead cross the narrower Bering Sea to reach the North American continent.

The Larne man has a small window during the short Arctic summer in which he must cross the Bering Sea.

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He has applied to fly over Russian airspace on Saturday, June 1.

Since departing on his incredible quest from Sandy Bay in Larne back in March 2010, Norman and his little yellow flying machine have travelled over 8,000 miles, visited 18 countries and broken a number of aviation records.

If Norman receives the all-clear to fly over Russia, he will continue across the Bering Sea to Alaska and into Canada.

He will then travel coast-to-coast across North America, followed by a hop across the Atlantic Ocean to Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scotland and back to Larne.