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) in a 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).
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 ex-military pilots grounded 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! 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. Diabetes need not limit the scope of peoples’ dreams and ambitions.”