Diabetic? You can still fly — if you’re willing to jump through some hoops

I recently had a 43-year-old diabetic pilot in my office for a Third Class Medical. My examination of the airman was unremarkable. His urinalysis was negative for sugar. He was slightly obese. Reports were provided stating he had no hypoglycemic reactions and no ophthalmological, neurological or nephrology problems. His A1C blood test, a measure of average blood glucose control for the past two to three months, was 8.0 — within FAA limits. A report from his family physician stated he was in great shape and his diabetes was adequately controlled. With the information provided, I passed the airman.

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Perceptions

It’s pretty common for the family and close friends of a pilot to consider that pilot “the only one I’d feel comfortable flying with.” It’s no different with my family and non-flying friends. (Those friends of mine who do fly know better!)

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