Adventurer plans solo round-the-world gyrocopter record bid

An adventurer has revealed his latest plan to become the first person to fly solo around the world in an open cockpit gyrocopter.

James Ketchell, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, will face extreme weather conditions during the record attempt, including flying through temperatures ranging from minus 20C to 40C.

He will have to cross water in his Magni M16C tandem gyrocopter for up to six hours at a time on his 22,858-mile route, which will take him across Europe to Egypt, across the Middle East, Asia, Russia and across the Bering Strait to Alaska.

After travelling across Canada and the US, he will fly across to Greenland, Iceland and back to the UK.

Round-the-world gyrocopter record bid
James Ketchell in his open-cockpit gyrocopter at Popham Airfield in Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The gyrocopter travels at just 70 knots, with a range of just 700 nautical miles.

Mr Ketchell said: “The biggest challenge will be the unpredictable weather as the gyrocopter is open to the elements, but I feel confident of achieving my goal.”

The 37-year-old, who is the only person to have completed the “ultimate global triathlon” of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, climbing Everest and cycling 18,000 miles around the world, will begin his journey from Popham Airfield in Hampshire on March 31.

Mr Ketchell, who is a UK Scouting ambassador, intends to visit a school in every country he visits to give motivational talks.

He said: “I want to inspire others. I’m a normal lad who was a lonely teenager. Leaving the house was a struggle and I was depressed.

“Now I know anything can be achieved and I want to help other teenagers understand there are few barriers to realising your dreams.”

Mr Ketchell is also aiming to raise funds for two children’s charities – Kindled Spirit, which supports victims of trafficking, and Over The Wall, which supports children and young people facing serious health challenges.

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