A BOTTLE of champagne was thrust into Warrant Officer Barry Jones' hand as he touched down in Wick, Scotland, last week.

Having flown for more than seven hours from Culdrose, Cornwall, and broken the World Range record in his small autogyro, he probably deserved it.

The bottle now stands empty under his desk as the pilot prepares for a much more challenging and dangerous journey - a trip that will see him covering more than 24,000 miles and touching down in 25 countries.

In June, the helicopter pilot, who normally flies Lynx helicopters for 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, from Dishforth Airfield, in North Yorkshire, will set off on an epic voyage.

His mission is to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe in an autogyro, a journey that will take him over the jungles of Vietnam, the skyscrapers of Hong Kong and the glaciers of Greenland.

Commemorating 100 years since the Wright Brothers first powered flight, Barry will spend time flying over America, touching down in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. While in New York he will visit Ground Zero to lay a wreath.

"My biggest fear is being alone with myself. My decisions will be final and there will be no one else there to make me think again," said the father-of-three.

"More daunting is that I will have so much time to think my life through and consider everything I have and haven't done. I know it will be a life-changing experience."

The team of men behind the Global Eagle expedition are busy raising awareness across the world, planning Barry's route and securing the necessary £100,000 sponsorship.

Having joined the Army in 1984 with the Royal Corps of Transport, he trained as a helicopter pilot and gained his autogyro licence last March.

"The first time I went up in the air I remember thinking to myself 'I want to fly around the world in one of these' and here I am planning to do just that," he said.

Team member Warrant Officer Pete Taylor said: "We find that people can be flippant, thinking they could do it, but Barry will be the very first person in the world to do this and he is British - that's something to be proud of."

Barry and two of his sons suffer from dyslexia. He said his determination to achieve had rubbed off on his children. "I want to inspire people to go out and live life to the full. My children's education may not be the best, but their sense of adventure is second to none," he said.

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The Autogyro has been around for almost 100 years. During that time they have enjoyed various names including gyrocopters and gyroplanes.

An autogyro is a flying machine which looks like a cross between an airplane and a helicopter.

It has a fuselage like an airplane, and a propeller like an airplane to provide the propulsion, but its lift is provided by a rotor similar to that in a helicopter.

The difference is that the rotor in an autogyro is not powered.

It is made to spin by aerodynamic forces.

The first autogyro flew more than 80 years ago in October 1920, and was built by Spaniard don Juan de la Cierva. The best known, however, has to be "Little Nellie" the autogyro used by James Bond in the film You Only Live Twice.