BIDDEFORD — He came. He saw. He landed.

Norman Surplus, the 52-year-old pilot from Northern Ireland who is trying to circumnavigate the globe in an autogyro aircraft, touched down safely at Biddeford Municipal Airport on Monday afternoon.

Appearing at first as a tiny dot high above the tree line, Surplus guided his yellow craft in a spiral toward the tarmac.

Looking like an amateur astronaut in a bright red survival suit and strapped to the gills with gear, Surplus arrived to little fanfare – about a half-dozen people came to see him land.

“Compared to some of the conditions I had in the Midwest, it’s good today,” said Surplus, who wafted out over the beach before circling back to the airport. “It’s good to see the Atlantic.”

This is the last leg of a multi-year journey for Surplus, who set off five years ago to circle the globe in the ultralight, unconventional aircraft.

While recovering from bowel cancer surgery, Surplus became fascinated with flight, and with the autogyro. He decided to attempt the world’s first circumnavigation in an autogyro to raise money for a bowel cancer foundation in the United Kingdom.

His journey has taken him through 18 countries so far, and was supposed to take only four months. But the record attempt was delayed for three years in Japan. Surplus waited for Russian authorities to grant him permission to fly through the country’s airspace to reach Alaska, then Canada, and then the lower 48 states.

But he had to change those plans, shipping the aircraft to the U.S., starting off again June 1 in Oregon.

Surplus lands in new areas without a plan or a ground crew to assist him, instead relying on local people to help him find his way to hotels, restaurants and anything else he needs.

“It’s like an aerial road trip,” he said.

Surplus said his autogyro generates looks wherever he goes.

Although it is considered the precursor to the helicopter, the autogyro, developed in the 1930s, has more in common with a fixed-wing aircraft than a modern helicopter.

While a modern helicopter uses an engine to power the overhead rotors, an autogyro’s rotors spin freely in the breeze.

To fly, any aircraft must generate lift to leave the ground and thrust to move forward through space. The autogyro is equipped with a horizontally spinning propeller, which moves the aircraft forward.

Once moving ahead on the ground, the rotor blades overhead catch the air and begin to spin, unassisted by an engine. As the forward speed increases, so does the speed of the rotors, until the lift generated is enough for the aircraft to leave the ground.

Surplus plans to leave Tuesday, weather permitting, for Nantucket, where he will be a guest speaker at an aviation camp, before heading north again toward Canada.

From there, he will hop and skip his way to Newfoundland, Iceland and Scotland, and then home to Northern Ireland.