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Pilots with diabetes set national formation speed record

04 September 2012

This Saturday (1 September) six pilots with diabetes successfully set the national formation speed record, flying from Derby to Southampton in one hour, 22 minutes and 38 seconds.

The six aircraft formed a 'D' and passed over six villages and towns whose first letters spelt the word “DIABETES” - Derby, Ibstock, Ashton Flameville (near Hinckley), Buckingham, Emmington, Twyford, Earley (by Reading), Southampton (Airport).

The flight coincided with the UK Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) landmark decision to allow qualified pilots with diabetes treated with insulin and other medications to carry out full operation duties, including flying commercial aircraft. The pilots all have insulin treated diabetes and have all either lost professional flying careers on diagnosis of diabetes or previously had restrictions applied to flying activities or career ambitions. All six pilots are also part of the Pilots With Diabetes group.

Douglas Cairn led the flight, and told us:

'It was a truly excellent day. Low cloud and poor visibility delayed one of the six in reaching Nottingham but by the time we launched at midday the weather had cleared nicely and we all enjoyed the journey immensely. It was a great celebration of the landmark decision by the Civil Aviation Authority.'

Douglas will be hosting a Flying With Diabetes Day on Saturday 20 October 2012 at Duxford Airfield’s Imperial War Museum. The day will be an inspirational and educational event featuring talks from record-setting pilots with diabetes, a marathon runner and a cyclist with type 1 diabetes and more. To find out more and register for this event, visit the Flying With Diabetes Day event listing on the JDRF website.

Pictured left to right: James D’Arcy, Damian Fessey, Douglas Cairns, Karl Beetson, Matt Ponsford and George Duncan 

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