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An Irish pilot made an unscheduled stop in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert this week

Irish round-the-world gyro pilot makes emergency landing in Saudi Arabia

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An Irish pilot made an unscheduled stop in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert this week

An Irish pilot made an unscheduled stop in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert this week.

Norman Surplus, 47, is trying to fly round the world in a gyroscope, the kind of aircraft made famous in the James Bond move, "You Only Live Twice."

However, the plucky pilot was forced to come down in Saudi Arabia to avoid a huge storm over the Middle East.
He shocked local traders when he landed at a remote filling station.

The filling station gets its share of luxury cars to fill up but this was the first time a helicopter of sorts had landed there.

Surplus, who is trying to become the first person to fly round the world in the gyroscope, which is also known as an autogyro.

The lightweight flying machine was a forerunner to the helicopter.

I camped there for the night and drank sweet Arabian tea," said Norman.

"They could not speak English and I cannot speak Arabic but we communicated well enough."

Norman has flown nearly 3,500 miles since leaving his hometown of Larne in County Antrim last month and has another 24,000 miles to go.

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