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 2006

Motivational Talks
In 2006 Douglas gave a series of 15 conference talks to organizations in the USA including the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org), Taking Control of Your Diabetes (www.tcoyd.com) and Children With Diabetes (www.childrenwithdiabetes.com).

Flying Activities 2006 - Transcontinental Speed Record
On June 11th & 12th Douglas completed a westbound Transcontinental & World Speed Record between Jacksonville, Florida and San Diego, California. Total time taken was 10 hours 45 minutes and 35 seconds resulting in an average speed of 193.85 miles per hour. Further details on the specific flight can be found in the archives.

In total, in 2006 Douglas logged 408 hours, catching up on a decent chunk of lost time after losing his medical to continue his Royal Air Force jet flying career after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Much of this flying was carried out in the Colorado mountains, with several cross-country flights to California and also to New Jersey, Carolina, Montana plus retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail from Oregon to St. Louis.

Transcontinental Speed Record - June 2006 (Details)
On June 11th & 12th Douglas completed a westbound Transcontinental & World Speed Record between Jacksonville, Florida and San Diego, California.

It was originally intended to start early on the 12th June but Tropical Storm Alberto was moving northwards faster than expected. At 3 p.m. on Sunday 11th June, with thunderstorms spinning off Alberto, it was decided to beat a hasty departure even though the bulk of the flight would be carried out at night. The clock was started by "Jacksonville Approach" (Air Traffic Control) over Jacksonville International Airport at 2019.31 Zulu heading westwards. The first three hours saw more Tropical Storm Alberto-related thunderstorms to the south followed by some magnificent towering cumulus clouds to the west. After 5 hours a refueling stop was made at Abilene, Texas - many thanks to Bill, Terry and Ritchie for arranging a quick turnaround time here. Take off from Abilene was into the last few minutes of sunset. With darkness prevailing some rare tailwinds were taken advantage of (normally headwinds are encountered heading westwards) by skimming along at 1,000 feet above the ground, right over Texan oil wells and some associated gas flares. Soon it was up to 8,500 feet to cross higher ground where groundspeed reduced from 195 knots to less than 160 knots for over two hours.

Not long after the climb a full moon rose behind, illuminating stunning mountain views in New Mexico, Arizona and California alongside the Mexican border. For a while the angle and brightness of the moonlight was such that it was possible to switch off most of the cockpit instrument lights and enjoy the views without artificial lighting inside - a surreal and memorable few minutes.

Montgomery Airport, San Diego was crossed at 0705.06 Zulu, 10 hours 45 minutes and 35 seconds after flying over Jacksonville. Once overhead Montgomery, however, the flight was not over! An instrument approach had to be made through a marine layer of cloud, and as soon as the Baron entered the cloud, a diffuse orange glow lit up the cockpit interior -again, quite a surreal atmosphere. Soon after popping out of cloud, the right hand fuel tank needle registered zero! Although there should have been over one hour of fuel left, no chances were taken and a higher & steeper than normal approach was initiated in case the right engine ran out of fuel. On landing, that sticky little needle popped right back up to where it should have been - an electrical glitch had provoked a few thoughtful moments!

Total time taken from Jacksonville to San Diego was 10 hours, 45 minutes and 35 seconds resulting in an average speed of 168.45 knots or 193.85 miles per hour. This flight adds to an existing eastbound transcontinental speed record set by Douglas in 2004, plus five other world speed records set in the "Diabetes World Flight" twin-engine Beech Baron aircraft.


"Dare To Dream: Flying Solo With Diabetes"

dare to dream book cover