Iona DiFilippi makes one of her dreams come true by jumping out of a plane 10,000 feet in the air.
Strapped to a ‘chute and sporting mechanic’s overalls — the skydiving suits were too big for her small frame — Iona DiFilippi said she had no fear as the plane ascended to 10,000 feet and she prepared to leap to the ground.
“The first micro-second after I tumbled out of the plane I thought, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But after that it was wonderful,” she said Sunday from her Salem home.
DiFilippi has wanted to jump out of a plane for the past 60 years. She finally took the plunge Saturday to celebrate her 85th birthday.
Nose cold and wind rushing by, she said the 30 seconds of freefall was over too soon — a little like the years she was busy raising a family and didn’t have time to go leaping out of planes.
“The time just goes by so fast,” she said of the years she wanted to skydive but never got around to it. So a few years ago she decided her 85th birthday would be the day to become a daredevil.
Taking advantage of a sunny break in the rain and hail above Creswell, the skydiving crew jumped in the plane and made it all possible.
Because it was her first jump, DiFilippi was hooked to an instructor. After the pair leapt from the plane and DiFilippi got over her brief moment of fright, she said the world was beautiful as they glided toward it.
“It really is a wonderful sensation, floating down and seeing the horizon so far away,” she said.
Landing firmly and safely on her legs, DiFilippi said getting hurt wasn’t any more a concern than her age. In fact, she welcomes people of all ages and abilities to try it out.
“It isn’t just for healthy people. It’s something that people of all abilities can do.”
DiFilippi’s only complaint was of the brisk spring air at 10,000 feet.
“Next time I’m going to do it in the summer.”