Brits Take Contiguous 48 States In Record Time (For Diabetes)
Saturday, Diabetes Flight 48, piloted by Douglas Cairns and James D'Arcy, two British pilots living with diabetes, broke the record time for landing in all 48 contiguous states with their final landing in Kenosha, Wis. At the time this was written, the two men had not yet blogged their final time (they had to beat 131 hours, 5 minutes) but noted that they had until 9:45 p.m. Central Time on Sunday evening if they were to succeed. The trip was flown in a Baron starting from Council Bluffs, Iowa, on June 16, and the men aimed to use the trip to raise awareness and funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, UK (see video, here.) By Saturday the pair had raised more than $4,500 (donations are always welcome). The trip was originally scheduled to begin June 16, in Iowa, running counter-clockwise after an initial jog from Nebraska. But the best laid plans are changed by weather and the crew reported on June 16 that they began their trip from Iowa, made it to Nebraska and then turned for Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, later configuring a figure-eight pattern to hit all the states. Aside from the record time, the flight included at least one segment that covered eight states in less than 12 hours, detours around storms and "some tremendous low-level flying in the Rocky Mountains." Of course, then there were the tornadoes.
One night the two set down in Council Bluffs south of Caroll to ride out weather. Morning news reports the next day informed them that their original alternate of Des Moines had suffered storm damage with tornadoes touching down in the state during the night. The flight was flown with an official NAA observer onboard and official NAA recognition to follow.
Video of the flight captured by AVweb reader Butch Weaver, who caught the flight over Southern Colorado and enjoyed a stint of formation flying, is available online here.