An Adventurer Departs

It’s not often you get asked to put together a film of an attempted new aviation record as most have already been set years ago.
Serial adventurer and good friend of mine, James Ketchell set off from Popham airfield in Hampshire,UK, on 31st March to fly a gyrocopter (auto-gyro) around the world. No one has ever succeeded piloting one of these tiny aircraft for a full 37,000 km circumnavigation and other attempts have succombed to weather, mechanical problems, logistical issues regarding permissions to fly in a particular country’s airspace or a combination.

A gyro-copter is unlike a helicopter in that the rotor blades are not directly driven by an engine but are spun by a combination of forward motion and the airflow created by the pushing propeller situated behind the pilot. James is piloting a Magni auto-gyro which is powered by a twin-turbo Rotax engine developing ~ 140 bhp. The turbos not only provide boost for take-off but also mitigate the effects of air pressure loss at altitude. They are quite stable craft for the size and are very safe at low speed. Top speed is nothing to write home about though as they are only capable of 110 knots.

Captain Ketcfh as he is dubbed will be speaking in as many schools as he can as he travels West to East through Europe and into Russia and then the Americas and is raising money for two fantastic charities: Kindled Spirit, who support and rehabilitate young victims of human trafficking and slavery; and Over The Wall, who run residential activity camps for children with serious health issues. For more details and how to donate please click here:

James’ farewell speech in front of a packed crowd at Popham.

James’ progress minute by minute can be followed here and his Instagram feed is here

Bon Voyage!

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