Drink deeply from the pool of life, and set records while you do it. This seems to be the sentiment of 47-year-old Norman Surplus of Larn, North Ireland.
Diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer at the age of 40 in 2003, he endured grueling experimental treatment and a 40 percent prognosis of living longer than 18 months, to survive the ordeal.
Now he seeks to achieve another extraordinary feat. Surplus is about halfway finished with a trip around the world as solo pilot an autogyro.
In late April, Surplus set the world record for longest solo distance in an autogyro, from North Ireland to Kolkata, India, a span of 7,118 miles. In all, the trip as planned will smash that number, covering 27,000 miles with stops in 24 countries. [more]
After completing flight across Europe, the Middle East and much of Asia, the path now calls for Surplus to fly into the Russian tundra, Alaska, Canada and the mainland United States before skirting the north Atlantic island countries on his way back to the Irish isle.
The trip, initially slated to last 115 days, began in March. It has taken a setback or two along the way, including a botched takeoff that resulting in a lake ditching in May that damaged the aircraft and left him grounded until last week. Governmental red tape also has led to delays. Still, the journey continues.
In addition to setting a world record, Surplus is using the opportunity to promote cancer treatment research and to spark donations to a British research organization.
Find updates on the site at this link, while includes near-daily updates and text messages from the pilot, and track his progress via live GPS here.