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Hampshire adventurer set to complete gyrocopter global challenge

Adventurer James Ketchell is set to land back in the UK on Sunday after completing a "mind-blowing" challenge to become the first person to fly solo around the world in an open-cockpit gyrocopter.

The 37-year-old from Basingstoke, Hampshire, set off from Popham airfield on March 31 in the small aircraft which is similar to the one seen in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

James Ketchell with his gyrocopter before taking off from Hampshire Credit: PA

The MAGNI M16C gyrocopter travels at 70 knots, with a range of just 700 nautical miles.

His 24,000 nautical mile 175-day journey took him across Europe, Russia, Canada, the US and the Atlantic Ocean heading to Greenland and Iceland, before his final staging post on the Danish Faroe Islands.

The round-the-world challenge has taken six months Credit: PA

"It's all a massive blur to be honest, the fact that I have literally flown around the world, it hasn't sunk in, it's probably going to take quite a while to, it feels really good, it's been magical.

"The highlights undoubtedly have been the people I have met, I will be paying forward-favours for the rest of my life and it doesn't matter what country I was in, what language they speak, people have been so helpful, people have been amazing."

– James Ketchell
Taking off from Popham in March Credit: PA

He said the greatest challenge had been the levels of concentration required while flying for many hours.

The circumnavigation follows his previous "ultimate global triathlon" which saw him row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2010, climb Everest in 2011 and cycle 28,969 km around the world in 2013.

During the trip, Mr Ketchell, a UK Scouting ambassador, set himself the goal to speak at a school in every country he visited to help motivate youngsters.

His challenge is raising funds for the Kindled Spirit and Over The Wall children's charities and donations can be made at: http://bit.ly/JamesKetchelldonate