Skydiving Requirements: Can You Be Too Old To Skydive?

Skydiving Requirements: Can You Be Too Old To Skydive?

Published: August 15, 2016

There's a simple answer to this question: No. No, you can't be too old to make a skydive.

Easy, right?

Not only do people over the age of 50--60--70--80--90--even one hundred make tandem skydives on the regular, but plenty of sport skydivers make dozens of solo skydives a month at those dignified ages. (They even have special skydiving clubs to celebrate!)

You probably need a little more convincing, however.

It's easy to pluck examples from the news. You may remember when George Bush Sr. made a skydive to celebrate his 90th birthday. He also made one to celebrate his 80th and 85th, as a matter of fact. In fact, that 90th-birthday skydive was his eighth jump - starting with the one he made after his fighter plane was shot down over the Pacific during World War II in 1944.

'The Bucket List' Kinda Had A Point.

People tend to remember Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson skydiving to check off an item on their "bucket lists" for the 2007 film of the same name. (If you haven't seen it, the movie is about two terminally ill men who run away from a cancer ward to share a road trip, checking off a wish list of to-dos before they "kick the bucket"--hence the name. Watching the movie is a sweet little way to spend an hour and a half of your time.)

Though neither Morgan nor Jack actually skydived for the film, the film made an excellent point--that making a skydive is an important thing to do for yourself. That said, we have a slightly different perspective than the movie takes: Why wait until you're at death's door to embrace the sky? The skydiving community is so wonderful and the experience of freefall so exhilarating, it's worth making a skydive just because it's Tuesday, not because you've been handed a diagnosis.

Anyway: can you picture the looks on your grandkids' faces when you show them the pictures? Pure gold.

Non-Celebrities Are More Than Invited.

It's not just movie characters of a certain age and ex-presidents that make the leap. There are lots of examples of people over the age of 90 who jump out of planes: check out this one--and this one. Often, they do it to celebrate a landmark birthday (as George Bush Sr. did, as did this centenarian South African lady from Cape Town). Those birthday jumps are usually the ones that make the headlines. You might be surprised to find out, however, that the overwhelming majority of 70-plus first-time skydivers do it just to relish the experience of freefall for themselves, not for any other reason.

You Can Do This

While there are some skydiving requirements you must meet, the real factor isn't age; it's basic fitness. A good indicator is flexibility: If you can sit in a chair and extend your legs out to replicate a landing, you're probably good to go. Do check with a doctor before you schedule your jump, of course, just to be on the safe side--and then let yourself get excited about it!

Skydiver Bill Wood probably said it best. "You don't quit skydiving because you get old," he exhorted. "You get old because you quit skydiving."

Oh, and by the way: While dancing to the plane is encouraged, it's not strictly necessary.

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