ABOVE AND BEYOND: British adventurer to make aviation history circumnavigating the world in open cockpit gyrocopter
  • As a part of its ongoing commitment to supporting and creating vibrant communities internationally, Cain International is proud to support prolific adventurer James Ketchell as he attempts to fly into the record books with the first solo open cockpit gyrocopter flight around the globe
  • This UK Scouting Ambassador is already the world’s first and only person to row across the Atlantic Ocean (2010), climb Everest (2011) AND cycle 28,969 km (18,000 miles in 2013) around the world, the so-called “ultimate global triathlon”. He now aims to add this epic +22,858.729 nautical mile flight to the record books
  • Ketchell, 37, spent his teenage years depressed and lacking in confidence, leaving school without any qualifications and a motorcycle accident threatened his mobility
  • He will stop at schools around the world to give motivational talks and raise funds for children’s charities, Kindred Spirit and Over the Wall, both of whom aim to support children and improve their quality of life


James is aiming to inspire one million young people on his epic journey. He will give motivational talks in schools, to scout groups and other youth organisations en route and via social media broadcasts. Cain International is a private investment firm deploying capital across debt and equity strategies in real estate development, special situations, and lifestyle & leisure businesses.

Since 2014, the company has committed or invested over $3.5 billion across a wide-ranging portfolio, including $2.3 billion of debt financing and over $900 million of equity across over 5 million square feet of commercial space and 8,200 residential units in the US, the UK and Europe. Leveraging its diverse industry know-how, Cain International seeks to develop a deep understanding of businesses and collaborates with partners and developers to deliver 21st century experiences, services and amenities to meet and exceed the expectations of today’s consumers, tenants and residents.

James said: “I want to help children understand, however difficult it might get, that there is always hope and a route to achieving your goals. As a teenager, I struggled with depression and had zero confidence in myself.

“I was too insecure to go to the school prom. On my 18th birthday I stayed home alone. I left school without any qualifications, had no direction and was fired from five jobs.

“For five years, I had no motivation and I felt pathetic.

“One day I noticed a boy in the gym was getting attention for how many weights he could lift. I started going to working out and over time, I transformed the way I looked and started to gain confidence. I was committed to going to the gym every day.“

James then developed a dream to row the Atlantic. “I had a goal and I wanted to achieve it.”

In 2007, James was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident that left him with broken legs as well as a broken and dislocated ankle. He was told his physically active lifestyle could be over. He refused to give up.

In 2014, James became the first person to row across the Atlantic Ocean, successfully climb to the top of Mount Everest and cycle 18,000 miles around the world.


James said: “I want to inspire others. as a teenager, I struggled with a lot of things and had no confidence or motivation what so ever., I now believe everyone has the capability to be whoever they want to be. and do anything they want to do.”


Inspiring children is a large part of James’ journey around the world. “My plan is to visit a school in every country I fly across, sharing stories of fun and adventure.


“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to support two amazing charities as part of this project. Their focus on helping young people to thrive and overcome huge challenges is very close to my heart.”

James starts his world record attempt on March 31st from Popham Airfield in Hampshire. He aims to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe in his MAGNI M16C open cockpit tandem gyrocopter, with less than 300 hours as Pilot in Command.

He will face extreme weather conditions, flying through temperatures ranging from +40C to -20C and will have to cross treacherous open water for up to six hours at a time on his journey through Europe to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, India, Thailand, Japan. From Russia he will cross the Bering Straits to Alaska. After travelling across Canada and the USA he will traverse the Atlantic Ocean landing in Greenland then Iceland and the Danish Faroe Islands before the 226 nautical miles back to UK soil, Kirkwall in Scotland and back to his starting point, Popham Airfield, 6 NM south west of his home town of Basingstoke.

Sponsored by Cain International. DHL and Barratt Developments Ketchell will need to cover the full 22,858.729 miles to make the world record according to regulations set out by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, who govern all aviation records.

The gyrocopter travels at just 70 knots, with a range of just 700 nautical miles. Ketchell added: “The biggest challenge will be the unpredictable weather as the gyrocopter is open to the elements.

“But I feel confident of achieving my goal.”

Ketchell will visit schools, colleges and youth groups along the way during his stop overs in 30 countries to refuel. He will also deliver online talks and engage with young people via social media, his YouTube channel and website www.jamesketchell.net. A fully interactive series of lesson activities for teachers and pupils to work through will be made available on his website bringing learning in a fun and interactive way and enabling everyone to track his adventure in real time.

“I’m slightly nervous about the long Atlantic water crossing from Greenland to Iceland,” he says. “It’s six hours flying above water so I’ll have to manage my state of mind and stay positive. That’s what I try to teach young people to do and I’ll be stretching myself to do it.

One of the many advantages with flying a gyrocopter is that it’s small enough to be able feel every movement whilst flying, just like feeling the boat and the way it moved when I rowed across the Atlantic.”

Ketchell can be tracked in his latest lifetime adventure around the world via his website www.jamesketchell.net


Charity: Kindled Spirit

Kindled Spirit is a charity with the sole aim of raising awareness and supporting the victims of trafficking, especially children. Based in the UK, they partner with Kshamata, a professionally run non-government organisation (NGO) based in Mumbai.

Kshamata have pioneered a model to support and rehabilitate the young survivors of sex trafficking. This model has proved so successful it is being copied by other, much larger agencies.


Charity: Over The Wall

Over The Wall is a national charity that supports children and young people facing serious health challenges through transformational residential camps in communities across the UK. It was founded in 1999 by UK businessman Joe Woods, inspired by the inspirational camps being run in the US by Joe’s friend – the late Oscar winning actor and philanthropist Paul Newman.

Their vision is that all children and young people living with the challenges of serious illness and disability can access camp programmes free of charge.


About James Ketchell

James Ketchell left school at 16 with no qualifications, struggling to find direction until he found his passion for adventure in his early 20s. Following a motorcycle accident in 2008, Ketchell was told he would likely suffer a permanent walking impairment. Despite this prognosis, today he is the first and still the only person to have rowed solo row across the Atlantic Ocean, successfully climbed Mount Everest, and cycled 18,000 miles around the world, in what the media has dubbed “The Ultimate Triathlon”.

What is a Gyrocopter?

A gyrocopter is a small rotary wing aircraft that uses an unpowered rotor in free autorotation to develop lift, instead of wings like conventional airplanes. An engine powers a back propeller that pushes the gyrocopter forward, forcing wind over the rotors and causing them to spin by aerodynamic forces through a phenomenon called autorotation. This generates air flows upwards through the rotor disc rather than down, creating lift.

Previous world-record attempt

Norman Surplus from Northern Ireland attempted to circumnavigate the world in 2015 but failed. He flew 7,500 miles but Russia refused him permission to transit from Vladivostok to the Bering Sea and on into Alaska. Norman is now supporting James Ketchell in his attempt to make aviation history.

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