PALATKA — To celebrate his 60th birthday and his forced retirement as an airline pilot, Larry Elmore jumped out of an airplane 60 times in one day. He was forced to retire from Trans World Airlines at age 60 because of Federal Aviation Administration rules on commercial pilots.
So Tuesday, Elmore, of nearby Melrose in northeastern Florida, got together at Kay Larkin Airport with a support staff of parachute packers from Skydive Palatka and jumped 60 times to prove a point about his age.
Jeff Colley, drop zone manager at Skydive Palatka, said Elmore made his first jump about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday and finished up about 3 p.m.
Three planes and three pilots were used to ferry Elmore up for his jumps.
Elmore, who started skydiving in 1986, donned a parachute, hopped in a plane, and parachuted down. Upon landing, he would shed his used chute, put on another held waiting for him, hop in the plane and go up for another jump.
For the first 59 jumps, he exited the aircraft at 2,300 feet and opened his parachute immediately. On the final jump, Elmore skydived from 13,500 feet, Colley said.
Alison Duquette, an FAA spokeswoman, said at age 60 pilots begin a progressive decline that could affect levels of safety for commercial passengers.
Elmore has started a new job as a corporate pilot, Colley said.