Expedition Global Eagle Around the World in an Autogyro
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Autogyros or gyroplanes, as they are commonly known, have been around since the early days of powered flight. The helicopter took its lead from these fantastic aircraft, although it's only in recent years that the gyroplane has started to become more popular. We hope to help build up that popularity, bringing a versatile aircraft to the forefront of aviation.

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Welcome to Expedition Global Eagle

Also view the story of the World Range Record....Read More

Expedition Global Eagle came about from an idea Barry Jones had back in 2002 to become the first person to fly around the world in an autogyro, the final class of powered aircraft yet to achieve the feat. He approached his Commanding Officer at 9 Regiment Army Air Corps and asked permission to set up the expedition. Permission was granted for him to look into the possibilities of such a trip, which he set about doing.

Like most ideas, at the time it seemed like an easy task to accomplish but Barry was soon to find this was far from the truth. The Army’s then Chief of the General Staff (CGS), General Sir Michael Walker, visited the Regiment and was shown Barry's idea for the expedition. After a long chat with Barry he agreed to become the expedition’s patron. By that point, Barry had managed to acquire a gyroplane from South Africa which had "Grounded due to severe neglect" stamped across its log book.

Meanwhile, Barry had been offered help with the project from a friend, Paul Jones, who set about organising possible sponsors of the project, planning the route and making sure Barry was in the right place at the right time (no small feat).

But Barry’s aircraft was still at that point unusable, and an engineer was needed who could rebuild it and get it passed through stringent British aviation inspections. Andy Wilson was just the man. Some months earlier, Andy had prevented a catastrophe when, due to his diligent nature and pure professionalism, he spotted a fault on a Lynx helicopter and investigated further. He found a tail rotor drive shaft ready to break, with potentially fatal consequences had the helicopter taken off. It was for this reason that Barry asked Andy if he would be his engineer, as he would trust him with his life anytime.

Jim Donald, a friend of Andy's and a very good soldier, was brought into the project by Andy to help him rebuild the aircraft. Jim was soon tasked in other areas of the project by Barry, due to his hard working and amazing skill of making things happen.

The body of the aircraft was sent away to Jo Taylor of Brushworks who completed an amazing work of art on the shell. Jo also made the first Global Eagle web site, which gave Barry the chance to start showing off his project to the world.

In September 2002 Barry approached Stu Davies to see if he could help with changing the web site. He rebuilt the site, adding new features, and also started looking at the media and PR side of the project.

The aircraft continued to be worked on in Andy and Jim's spare time, although an initial idea of flying the Coney Doolittle race over in America was cancelled as the aircraft was still in the construction stage. Barry completed an extensive programme of school visits across the country and his thoughts began to turn to his attempt on the world autogyro range record, which he hoped to complete in January 2003.

Christmas passed, and while the rest of the unit was on leave the Global Eagle team continued working. Paul visited Netheravon and started to apply for international clearances in preparation for the round the world trip. The remainder of the team geared up for the forthcoming range record, and with the aircraft nearing completion things seemed to be moving well. Of course a few spanners were thrown into the works along the way, but these only made the team more determined to make things work. Stuart set about finding a manufacturer who could produce the long range fuel tank, and the team soon became the proud owners of what can only be described as a work of art.

With the aircraft now finished, all that remained was to get all the modifications passed then flight test the aircraft and get its permit to fly. However this proved to be too much to achieve in the short space of time we’d given ourselves (we all make mistakes but do we learn from them). As a result the range record was delayed until February.

Help was at hand with the ever-increasing workload, as the team welcomed Pete Taylor and Keith Davies on board.

It was at this time that Barry decided to re-role the team a bit to divide the workload fairly. Pete took on the role of effecting the movement of kit and bodies for the world trip, other than for America which Jim had already cleared. Keith took on the PR role and set about putting in place a new filing system and also creating a room where we could meet and greet guests instead of using the office.

The Popular Flying Association (PFA) passed all of our modifications and we obtained a permit to fly from the Civil Aviation Authority with only days to go until the start of the range record. Barry took off from Culdrose in Cornwall and successfully flew non-stop to Wick in Scotland, a total of 580 miles. For full details of this fantastic achievement, pop across to the shop and purchase the DVD of the World Range Record.

With the range record in the bag and most of the organisation in place for the world trip, the team started taking a more active part in getting out and meeting the public. However, concerns were starting to be raised with regards to the situation in the Middle East, and it was decided and agreed at a high level that it would not be possible to depart until at least June 2003. This meant a major rethink of the plan, as clearances would need to be reapplied for and numerous other things changed.

Barry had another re-role of the team which saw Pete take over from Paul as project co-ordinator, leaving Paul with more time to concentrate on the route. Keith applied to various councils for permission to show the gyro at the shopping centres, Jim and Andy stripped and rebuilt the aircraft again after the range record and Stuart set about redesigning the logo at Barry's request. He also started to put together a promotional pack in the hope of being able to entice a major sponsor, which the team still found itself without.

The team had now visited a few different town centres and had plans to show off Global Eagle on Easter Sunday 2003 at the kind invitation of Elvington Air Museum near York. The team attended the same museum as part of the celebrations of 100 years of powered flight on 8th June.

Barry, Jim and Andy visited Pirbright in April 2003 to show the aircraft and give a talk on the project to Army recruits undergoing basic training. The weekend was a great success and on Monday, Andy moved ahead to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) training depot at Arborfield to meet Barry and Jim to collect a cheque from the REME towards the project.

Now, over two years from its original inception, the Global Eagle Round the World Challenge is almost ready to go. Current plans are for a launch date of Monday 26th April 2004 from the Museum of Army Aviation at Middle Wallop, Hampshire – regular updates will be available on this web site as Barry progresses round the world.