Welcome to Diabetes Formation Flight USA 2013

July 29, 2013:

Completed Diabetes Formation Flight USA 2013 today, setting a new simultaneous world speed record between Omaha,NE and Madison, WI with four single-engine aircraft, subject to ratification by the National Aeronautic Association. We then continued on to Oshkosh, WI. A huge thank you to Jackie Vanantwerp and Tim Ryan at Omaha Tower and Omaha Approach, and also Dennis Vincent at Madison Airport for all the help with observing & recording our line-abreast formation over flight of the start & finish. At the start, Douglas, Jason, Taylor, David, Chris just beat heavy coming in from the west of Omaha, and then at Madison we just beat a four-ship formation of F-16 fighter jets to land! Total time was 2 hours, 41 minutes and 52 seconds with the aircraft in "finger-four" formation while in transit between Omaha and Madison.

Low Pass in Formation

Diabetes Formation Flight USA 2013 is a formation flight of general aviation airplanes flown by pilots with diabetes which flew in formation from Council Bluffs Municipal Airport (KCBF) in Council Bluffs, Iowa to the EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on July 29th, 2013.

A goal of DFFUSA 2013 is to allow participation from as many pilots with diabetes as possible. In support of this goal, it has been planned so that a wide variety of aircraft can participate.

Until 1997, piloting by individuals with insulin treated diabetes was completely prohibited throughout the world due to concerns of the dangers of low blood sugar during flight. With the advances in easy to use, portable blood sugar monitoring devices, and an intensive pre and in-flight blood sugar monitoring regimen, in 1997 pilots with well controlled insulin treated diabetes were allowed by the FAA to obtain medical certificates for private piloting.

Several other countries have followed and in some ways surpassed the lead of the US including Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Canada has even allowed some pilots with insulin treated diabetes to fly commercially when using a rigorous blood sugar monitoring procedure, and the United Kingdom has recently updated its regulations to allow this as well.

The DFFUSA 2013 flight has several goals:

  • To raise diabetes awareness and funds for diabetes research.
  • To demonstrate that pilots with diabetes can safely fly challenging flights using the FAA’s protocol for private flying with insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • To illustrate how advances in diabetes monitoring and management make management of diabetes in flight a straightforward, safe, and simple part of flight operations.

Diabetes need not limit the scope of people’s dreams and ambitions.