Diabetic Pilot Inspires Youth

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There are not many low-level-approved aerobatic pilots who didn't start flying until they were in their mid-30s but Michael Hunter had a good reason for starting late. As an insulin-dependent diabetic, he wasn't allowed in the cockpit -- any cockpit -- until the FAA relaxed its medical regulations in 1997. Hunter, now 41, is on the show circuit in his Laser 230 but he needs some high-tech help to ensure his blood sugar is correct during the rigors of a performance. An on-board system continuously checks his glucose levels and administers insulin every three minutes. Hunter is using his profile to encourage young diabetics to pursue their dreams through Flight for Diabetes, the group he started to inspire young people. "I'm here to inspire kids," he told the Akron Beacon Journal. "But I meet so many kids that inspire me." He was in Akron to perform at Aero Expo 2005 but not all of his most important flying is done in front of air show crowds. "I took my children for their first airplane ride recently," he said.