7 Responses

  1. Laddie
    Laddie July 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm | | Reply

    This is a hard subject for me to address. I am a big fan of everyone following their dreams. But do I want the pilot of my flight to have Type 1 Diabetes? No.

    I am every endo’s star patient. I pump, I have a Dex CGM, and my A1c is good. The only time I have needed a paramedic since 1976 was when a relatively minor medical condition impacted my ability to perform at BG levels that I was normally competent at. It was totally unexpected and therefore unpreventable. It was a definite reminder to me that no matter how often I test, how good my A1c is, and how much I follow the rules that there are always risks to having Type 1 that cannot be eliminated.

    I am sure that this will be a very unpopular position.

  2. Mike Ratrie
    Mike Ratrie July 26, 2013 at 5:11 am | | Reply

    I totally support what these pilots with diabetes are doing. An an aside, could we call them 2XPWDs, or PPWDs – persons with diabetes and pilots with diabetes?

    Keep in mind that on a commercial jetliner, there is at least one other person on board who can fly the plane. Other than takeoff and landings, the planes are typically flown by autopilot. If the protocol was established that the diabetic pilot couldn’t fly if the CGM/fingerstick is below a threshold of say 90 mg/dl, or the CGM shows trending to below 90, then the risk to the public is essentially eliminated.

    I like that they are asking the FAA “to examine this based on real-world evidence, not on preconceptions”. I am making this my thought of the day!

  3. Roger Curtis
    Roger Curtis July 26, 2013 at 7:40 am | | Reply

    I was involved in getting the FAA ban lifted in ’97 for private pilots with Type 1.
    For those who are interested the barrier is pretty high in that your entire medical history is evaluated and you have to pass a full flight medical every 90 days (expensive!), instead of the every 2 years for a non-diabetic private pilot.

    Air Transport Pilots, ATP’s, only need to get them every 180 days.

    Another easier/less expensive route if you want to fly is to get a sailplane (glider)
    pilots license which is loads of fun and only requires self certification of your medical status. Check out to find out more.

    Roger Curtis
    Type 1 49 years

  4. RW Price
    RW Price July 26, 2013 at 5:14 pm | | Reply

    The thought of T1DS becoming Commercial Airline Pilots sounds great but at the present time it is not totally realistic. Being a T1D myself I consider using the pump and CGM the best treatment available yet at best they are still not adequate for the job. Just one example is the Insulin delivery system. Infusion-sets are not reliable like they have to be, often upsetting one’s control. From what I know about the FAA and Airlines I think there are too many obstacles to their approval. I was an Airline Pilot and lost my license in 1961 due to T1D and I do have a pretty fair understanding of the pro’s and con’s of both being a pilot with and without diabetes.

  5. Tracey
    Tracey August 1, 2013 at 12:45 am | | Reply

    This is really inspiring, having a brother who lost his dream to serve in the U.S. Navy when he was diagnosed with Type 1 at 14 years old. He aspired to work on planes, having been told that he could never fly them due to his illness. Thank goodness for small victories.

  6. Lavonne M. Witt
    Lavonne M. Witt August 2, 2013 at 12:12 am | | Reply

    Currently, only 5 countries worldwide allow pilots with diabetes using insulin to fly on a private licence, with the USA offering the most flexibility. In addition to raising funds for diabetes research, Diabetes Flight 48 (and in 2003) aims to highlight that diabetes need not limit the scope of people’s dreams and ambitions.

  7. Get Real Health Makes Headlines
    Get Real Health Makes Headlines August 12, 2013 at 10:13 am |

    [...] from Diabetes Mine, Wings Magazine, eHealth Radio, CNN iReport, All Voices, the Frederick News-Post, Diabetes [...]

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