The baron against snow topped mountains

Flying With Diabetes (FWD) aims to inspire and advocate positive messages about living and flying with diabetes. We do this by carrying out exciting aviation projects, flypasts at outdoor diabetes fundraising events and giving presentations at diabetes community conferences and events. Since 2009 FWD activities have raised over £100,000 for diabetes research.

2023 Events


New video: Feature by Digibete, A UK-based diabetes organisation:


2022 Events

Several aerial survey flights were carried out by Douglas in the Flying With Diabetes Vans RV8 aircraft for the annual Scottish ice field survey arranged by Iain Cameron, and a flypast for the JDRF Climb 1 for Type 1 at Ben Nevis on 24 September.

Additionally, as a Trustee of T-1 Today UK, Douglas gave talks at the annual "Diabetes Together" conference in October. 


2020 & 2021 Activities

2020 and 2021 were quiet years due to Covid, with presentations given at T1 Today UK’s Friends For Life conferences, and a flypast made at JDRF UK’s Ben Nevis Climb 1 for Type 1 on 18 September 2021.  General flying activities continued with Baron N30TB in early 2020 in the USA and then in the UK in the Vans RV8 from June 2020 onwards.  An exciting development was volunteering to take aerial photographs for an annual ice field survey across the Scottish Highlands in July and August 2020, and this is now an annual activity in the Vans RV8 based out of Oban Airport in the Scottish Highlands.  


2019 Events

  1. May 5 - Charity Flight; Duxford Airfield, UK
  2. June 22 - Three Peaks and Four Corners Record Flight, UK
  3. July 17/18 - Presentation & Sessions at Friend For Life Conference, Orlando
  4. September 15-20 - Formation Flight USA; Colorado & Wyoming
  5. September 21 - Flypast at One Fun Run Midlands


Three Peaks & Four Corners Record Flight Around Britain.

On June 22, Douglas and Karl plan to set a new British National Record to visit the easternmost, northernmost, westernmost and southernmost civilian airfields of mainland Britain - Beccles, Campbeltown, Wick and Land's End.

If weather permits, this flight will coincide with a flypast at each of JDRF UK's fund raising Climb 1 for Type 1 up Snowdon, Scafell Peak and Ben Nevis. The flight will take over eight hours of airborne time and hence the project will participate in Pooley's Dawn to Dusk competition.

Please offer your support to us. Any donation, no matter what size, will be ever so gratefully received, and will help support research projects which can help improve quality of life for people with Type 1 diabetes, and can ultimately help find a cure.
Thank you so much!

2018 Events

  1. May 5 - Flypast; Children With Diabetes Camp, Cotswolds
  2. July 11/12/13 - Talks at Children With Diabetes Friends For Life; Florida
  3. July 29 - Flypast: Yorkshire Three Peaks
  4. July 4 - World Record Attempt over 24 Hours to Visit Max. No. of USA States with Torbjorn Dahl
  5. August 17/18/19- Attend TCOYD ONE Conference, San Diego
  6. September 30 - Flypast; JDRF One Walk Midlands
  7. October 26/27/28- Children With Diabetes Friends For Life Conference UK

24-Hour World Record Smashed by Douglas and Thor!

Douglas Cairns and Torborn Dahl (Thor), both pilots with type 1 diabetes, have smashed the existing world record to visit as many US states as possible in 24 hours, extending the number from 23 to 29 states.

Douglas and Thor departed Sanford (Maine) at 0749 EDT on 27 July in the "Flying With Diabetes" twin-engine Beech Baron and zig-zagged their way down the US east coast as far as South Carolina, then westwards to Arkansas before heading north to Ohio and across Lake Michigan to finish at Albert Lea (Minnesota), just after 0600 CDT on 28 July.

Storms over the mountains of the Virginias and South Carolina resulted in detours and threatened the landing at Grant County (West Virgina), and forced the pilots to expedite their departure from Pennridge Airport (Pennsylvania) as a storm moved in towards the airfield. This was followed by eight hours of night flying from Alabama to Iowa, with a full moon shining over the entire night-time route.

Total airborne time was 15.6 hours, with the remaining time spent taxying and stepping out of the twin-engine aircraft at each airfield for photos. The pilots refuelled at three stops.

Douglas and Thor, both grounded military pilots due to type 1 diabetes, believe that more countries need to update their regulations to allow pilots with insulin-treated diabetes to fly, which is why the 24 hour record flight was made.

Dexcom, which produces continuous glucose monitors, is a sponsor of the journey.

"We want to show everybody what can be done," Dahl said. "We hope the fact that we can accomplish this task - with diabetes being the least of our concerns - will light a spark and a hope with other people, as well as convincing regulatory units that it is time for a change."

"Indeed, we want to show people what we can do when it comes to piloting with diabetes," Cairns said. "Diabetes need not limit the scope of peoples’ dreams and ambitions."

Details and photos of the journey can be found on Facebook page "World Record Attempt: Most States in 24 Hours"

More photos can be accessed here from google drive.