diabetes world flight

- Aim
"To be the first pilot with Type 1 Diabetes
to fly around the world in a light aircraft and raise money for diabetes research".
- Douglas Cairns

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Activities 2007
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Activities 2003



Homepage - Diabetes World Flight - Douglas Cairns

In 2003, I flew Diabetes World Flight (DWF), the first round-the-world flight by a licenced pilot with Type 1 Diabetes. The journey covered 26,300 nautical miles through 22 countries over five months in a twin-engine aircraft, raising US$26,000 for diabetes research.

Diabetes World Flight demonstrates that a licenced pilot with Type 1 Diabetes can fly safely according to US flying regulations. In time it is hoped that other countries will adopt similar systems to allow pilots with diabetes to fly: Diabetes need not limit the scope of people's dreams and ambitions.

After completing my book "Dare To Dream: Flying Solo With Diabetes" in 2005 about living and flying with diabetes, I now give educational & motivational talks to the diabetes industry in the USA and Europe. For a flavour of some flying in 2007, have a look at the Youtube.com links below.

A fund-raising dinner was held in London at the RAF Club in June in association with Diabetes Flight 48, a project which broke the existing record to land in all 48 contiguous USA states by 33 hours. The flight took just over 4 days to complete, and with the fund-raising dinner, raised over $27,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Another project is planned for 2010 - www.diabetesflight50.org. Please log on to www.diabetesflight48.com to see details including a 6-minute DVD and media interviews.

Youtube Links to flying in Colorado's Rocky Mountains:
Youtube Indian Peaks flight #1
Youtube Indian Peaks flight #2
Youtube Indian Peaks flight #3

Book Now Available

Other Activities 2009

After five years of (truly tremendous!) flying & diabetes awareness-raising activities, in November 2007 I returned to London and the fund management industry. Luckily, I continue to fly regularly in the USA, using the same Diabetes World Flight Baron B58 aircraft, including the diabetesflight48 flight in June.

Speaking engagements continued with talks to Children With Diabetes first "Friends for Life" meeting in the UK in August, to the International Diabetes Federation World Diabetes Congress in Montreal in October, and to JDRF UK's "Discovery Day" at London's British Museum in November.

Extensive travel continues for both work and pleasure - work has included 26 countries since March 2008, while holiday time is taken up with flying visits (literally) to the USA.


Activities for 2010
In July another diabetes awareness-raising and fund-raising dinner is planned on 25th June 2010 in London in association with the next flying project, www.diabetesflight50.com. Once again, funds are being raised for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Additional talks are also planned, including one at the 3rd International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes in Basel, Switzerland in February.


Pilots With Diabetes (www.pilotswithdiabetes.com)
In November 2007 the inaugural meeting was held for "Pilots With Diabetes", a British-based group of former commercial & military pilots, existing and prospective private pilots, all of whom have Type 1 Diabetes. The aim of the group (and website) is to gather information that can help enable people with type 1 diabetes to fly professionally in the UK. The website also aims to act as a point of information contact for pilots with diabetes trying to do the same in different countries. Please log on to find out more information.

Background to Diabetes World Flight
In 1989, Douglas lost his military fast-jet flying career when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 25. At present the US is the only country in the world that can issue a medical licence to individuals with Type 1 Diabetes to exercise full Private Pilot Licence privileges. DWF aims to show that it is possible for such licenced pilots to fly safely according to US FAA regulations. Overall, Douglas wants to show that clinical conditions such as Diabetes should not limit the scope of people's dreams.

Diabetes is a growing clinical condition worldwide that has both short-term and long-term health and lifestyle implications for sufferers. Research projects are key to finding ways to improve diabetes healthcare and ultimately prevention and cure. Donations received by DWF were awarded to the Diabetes UK Research Fund (www.diabetes.org.uk) and the Children With Diabetes Foundation (www.childrenwithdiabetes.com).


"Dare To Dream: Flying Solo With Diabetes"

dare to dream book cover

You can order Douglas' book "Dare To Dream: Flying Solo With Diabetes on

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