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[IP] Diabetic Pilot Overjoyed To Fly Again

This is old - but thought you might enjoy it.
 <A HREF="http://www.cami.jccbi.gov/AAM-400A/FASMB/FAS9702/05.html">Diabetic 
Pilot "Overjoyed" to Fly Again
Diabetic Pilot "Overjoyed" to Fly Again 
New Rule Returns Medical Certificate 
By Mike Wayda 
He has the distinction of being described as "The happiest man in Oklahoma" 
in a local newspaper story reporting on his return to flying after a 13-year 
hiatus enforced by the onset of diabetes mellitus. 

Michael Bilcik, from Yukon, Okla., says he is indeed happy to be once again 
medically qualified to solo because of a new policy implemented in December 
1996 that permits diabetics to apply for third-class medical certification. 

He is the first Oklahoma pilot to be certified and one of sixteen nationwide 
who have reclaimed their pilot-in-command status. 

Late last year, after learning the "great news" that Federal Aviation 
Administration approval of the new diabetic pilot rule was imminent, Bilcik 
dusted off his flying skills with a flight instructor. Needing only ten 
hours' flight instruction to check out in a Cessna 172, he now has a 
cross-country flight to Austin, Tex., in his logbook. "The flying part was 
simple," he said. "It was the new airspace requirements that gave me the most 
trouble," he added, referring to the airspace reclassifications enacted in 

Bilcik says he has no trouble monitoring his blood glucose levels (he uses a 
Profile One-Touch meter) and that he has not encountered any difficulty 
complying with the new rules. Because he uses an external insulin pump and 
takes from eight to ten blood glucose sticks daily, his glucose level 
normally is at 80 mg/dl. The rules require that his glucose level be at least 
100 mg/dl to be able to fly, so he says that he must adjust his insulin use 
accordingly. That, he says, has been the only "problem" encountered, thus 
far, of complying with the rules. 

"The pump is not for everyone," he warns, "because it requires strict 
monitoring." Thus, the eight to ten blood glucose samples per day. He uses 
Humalog (insulin lispro rDNA, manufactured by Ely Lilly), a rapid-acting 
human insulin produced using recominant DNA technology. 

Bilcik jogs regularly and enjoys an occasional round of golf. "Bottoming out" 
or being ketotic on his insulin pump has not been a problem, he says, because 
of his physical conditioning, regular monitoring, and motivation to achieve 
complete control of his blood glucose level. 

He plans to upgrade his pilot skills by taking flight lessons in a Cessna 210 
(with retractable landing gear and variable-pitch prop). After becoming 
proficient in this and gaining the necessary flight time to upgrade further, 
well, "the sky's the limit," he says. 

According to Dr. Steve Carpenter, supervisory medical officer with the 
Aeromedical Certification Division, CAMI has received 87 applications for 
diabetic certification, 16 of which have been approved to receive 12-month 
certificates; 57 cases are pending (additional information requested from 
applicants); and 14 were denied for various reasons. All three regular review 
staff physicians are involved in the certification process. (For more 
information, see the new diabetic pilot certification rules, in this issue.) 

Several media outlets have asked for interviews with the newly-certified 
private pilot. Why the interest in diabetics who would like to fly? "It's got 
to be the greatest gift to someone who has lost the right to pilot an 
airplane," Bilcik stated. "There are many, many diabetics, former pilots, who 
would do almost anything to be able to get back into their airplanes and take 
off," adding with a smile, "I really love to fly who wouldn't be overjoyed to 
get their wings back?" 

And, who wouldn't be interested in learning about such success stories? 

Insulin Pumpers website http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/
for mail subscription assistance, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org