Michael Hunter's daring aerobatic performance lasts only about 15 minutes. During that time, his airplane tumbles front over tail, glides backward, and flies upside down at 200 miles per hour just 50 feet above the ground. That's when he tests his blood glucose.
"I have a radio set up in the cockpit so I when check, I can go on the loudspeaker to tell the kids below that I'm testing while flying upside down. Then they realize they don't really have much of an excuse to skip testing, no matter where they are or what they're doing."
Michael, 44, of Wonder Lake, Illinois, knows the importance of blood glucose testing and tight control, especially for a pilot with diabetes. As a 17-year-old, he was planning to fly in the military but started to experience classic diabetes symptoms -- frequent urination, extreme thirst, and fatigue. His doctor told him he had type 1 diabetes.
"I told him to give me some medicine because I had a flying lesson to take," Michael says. "Then he said that because I had diabetes, I could never fly again. In that instant, every dream I had was stripped away."