I was thrilled to finally meet Douglas in person. If there is one person in the flying community I look up to and have a great deal of respect for, it is Douglas. At the ripe age of 25, Douglas was an instructor pilot flying jets in the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF). He was then shortly diagnosed with T1D and was told by his doctor: "You are now a diabetic and you were a pilot." Extremely harsh words for one who has dreamed of flying since boyhood. Douglas has since proved his doctor wrong by accomplishing several things in flying including a solo flight around the world in his Beechcraft Baron as well as several speed and formation records. It was a true privilege to get to meet Douglas and speak with him on our flying endeavors.
I was elated to even be able to hear Douglas speak. He started to talk about an upcoming event in the United States, Diabetes Formation Flight 2015. Douglas looks at me and says: "Jay, you're welcome to come with us." My eyes lit up, I was just invited by one of the leading pilots with T1D to fly with him. First of all, I would like to extend my thanks to Douglas and everyone at Diabetes Formation Flight for welcoming me to the group! I'm beyond excited to be able to fly with you all and I hope that I prove to be an asset to the group.
So, what is Diabetes Formation Flight (DFF)? DFF is a formation flight that is flown by pilots with T1D to raise awareness as to what people with T1D can do. DFF also raises awareness to help change regulations so people with T1D can someday fly commercially. This years flight will start at Council Bluffs Municipal Airport in Iowa and will end there three days later. The trip will be around 1,300NM and will stop in four states (IA,SD,NE,CO). Depending on what all aircraft are flown we will try and swap passengers around. Unfortunately, I don't own an airplane and I'm not an instrumented rated pilot so I will be flying as a passenger. However, I will have some changes to get some right seat time in Douglas's 1970 Beechcraft Baron. When we are in Boulder, CO we plan on doing some mountain flying which is a total backlist item of mine.
I'm working on a way to document this incredible adventure so I can share it with everyone. I plan on a lot of GoPro footage and pictures. Also, social media feeds so everyone can follow our progress live. Again, my sincerest thank you to Douglas and everyone else involved in the project for allowing me to be a part of it this year. I can't even began to articulate how excited I truly am, September can't come soon enough! Stay tuned as updates will follow.