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DEG

How old is too old to start?

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I'm 63, not overweight (6', 170 lbs), in reasonably good shape from a fairly active lifestyle and no known health problems. I've had a fascination with skydiving for a long time, even have 5 S/L jumps (many years ago that were actually 2 jumps, then a military deployment that interrupted things, then another 3 S/L jumps a few years later that preceded another military interruption) but never got back to it. Have taken a recent early retirement and realize I still have the bug. So, do other people start at my age or is this just ill advised?

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we have a guy at our DZ who is around that age I believe 65. he also had some SL back in the day. he almost has his A license now and seems to really enjoy it. he isn't progressing as quickly as us younger newbies but who cares he is having fun. if your physically healthy I say go for it

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I made my first freefall skydive at 51. I am now 58 and a Tandem Instructor and AFFI. Just listen to your instructors, read the SIM and follow its recommendations and once you get your A license, make smart choices about your equipment and fly conservatively. Boomerdog was one of my students and he is doing great!
Charlie Gittins, 540-327-2208
AFF-I, Sigma TI, IAD-I
MEI, CFI-I, Senior Rigger
Former DZO, Blue Ridge Skydiving Adventures

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I got my "A" at 54 years old. I am not nearly as fast as the young students/new "A's", I walk a little slower, I don't pack as fast, I don't get slobbering drunk around the bonfire, I am very aware of what I am ready to try vs "lets just give it a go" attitude or the "hold my beer and watch this" attitude,etc. etc.. But I am having the time of my life. If you have "the bug" you would always regret not giving it a shot.
I don't believe, nor ever thought about my age when I started. It's whats in your heart and mind that matter.
JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!

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DEG

I'm 63, not overweight (6', 170 lbs), in reasonably good shape from a fairly active lifestyle and no known health problems. I've had a fascination with skydiving for a long time, even have 5 S/L jumps (many years ago that were actually 2 jumps, then a military deployment that interrupted things, then another 3 S/L jumps a few years later that preceded another military interruption) but never got back to it. Have taken a recent early retirement and realize I still have the bug. So, do other people start at my age or is this just ill advised?



I started 3 years ago at age 54. One of the first things anyone told me was, stretch and get that arch (in your back/hips) going.

I thought I was fairly okay in this area. Later I learned I had a shortcoming in this area. It was so difficult for me to arch well and hold it throughout the jump, which had a very negative impact when the instructors wanted to release me. I got a bit upset with myself and quit for a while. Fast forward 10 weeks and a lot of stretching....I started over on Static Line training and did just fine.

Stretch, a lot.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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DEG

I'm 63, not overweight (6', 170 lbs), in reasonably good shape from a fairly active lifestyle and no known health problems. I've had a fascination with skydiving for a long time, even have 5 S/L jumps (many years ago that were actually 2 jumps, then a military deployment that interrupted things, then another 3 S/L jumps a few years later that preceded another military interruption) but never got back to it. Have taken a recent early retirement and realize I still have the bug. So, do other people start at my age or is this just ill advised?



If you live by a tunnel, give that a try for 5-10 minutes first, it will make the AFF that much easier.

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dthames


I started 3 years ago at age 54. One of the first things anyone told me was, stretch and get that arch (in your back/hips) going.

Stretch, a lot.



Yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga. Best thing ever for loosening out tight hips and stiff backs.

And never too late to start!

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bob.dino

***
I started 3 years ago at age 54. One of the first things anyone told me was, stretch and get that arch (in your back/hips) going.

Stretch, a lot.



Yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga. Best thing ever for loosening out tight hips and stiff backs.

..............................................................................

Agreed!
Also lots of walking or running to maintain the bone density in your legs. All that aerobic exercise will also improve your awareness at exit altitude.

And never too late to start!

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How about some info for older 60+years old beginning to learn skydiving, such as older jumper friendly dropzones. I have found instructors lack patience with older jumpers and are quick to be rid of them for normal beginner mistakes. Some lack the gift of instilling confidence in their older jumpers.

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Hey DEG,
Looks like we are in the same boat here.
I did 5 S/L jumps and a Hop & Pop in 1977, never got back to it.
Now I find myself with the bug again at 60 years old and am going after it.
I did a Tandem in Sept and have been to the wind tunnel once.
Started Yoga classes this week to get a little more limber.
I plan to go to the tunnel a couple more times.
Then when the spring weather starts, I plan to start AFF.:)
Ron
ATP B-727 B767-757 CFI-II

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You want to skydive. You're in good shape physically. If you're medically fit, why wouldn't you learn? Have no regrets in life, do it and enjoy! You can stretch if you're not bendy enough. You can make smart choices about gear that lets you have fun but still be forgiving, learn to fly bearing in mind if you dent or break something it might take a while to heal, and that's less fun. You don't have to fly something the size of a handkerchief to have fun. There are guys with more years than you have who jump at my DZ and love it.

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Hey, thanks everyone for the encouragement and advice. Good to know I'm not the only old fart still looking for adventure in my life. Hadn't thought of it, but yoga definitely sounds like the way to limber up and strengthen my core. In the midwest now but relocating to general Daytona Beach area in late spring. Also hadn't considered tunnel time before FJC. Will definitely look into that. Again, thank you to everyone who replied.

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I'm the skeptic and cynic around here. So let me give you the bad things I've seen with older skydiving students. And at 56 I'm old enough to have some of these issues myself, but I already learned how to do this.;)

Two older students who became skydivers come to mind. One was in his 60's when he took it up. Was a biker, thin and lanky and no real health issues. Engineer as I recall, anyway some sort of technical professional career and still working when he started. But he was always one beat behind the dive. He could get out, fall stable, open his parachute and land. But when simple RW was added he was always not quite with the flow of the dive. I often saw a blank look on his face asking (What's next?) And not just the points. Exit order and plan, awareness of other jumpers, etc. He just was no longer thinking and processing as fast as others. Now maybe this was age related or maybe he would have always been like this. After a collision on opening due to awareness issue and some other near misses he finally realized that maybe he wasn't quite up to the task. I helped him come to this decision not because I didn't like him but because I did. He LOVED skydiving as much as and more than many students/newbie jumpers. Skydiving was keeping him young. But it also almost killed him at least twice. He went to Quincy several times and loved hanging out. And he realized his mistakes after they were explained to him but was not progressing at his awareness and skill in the air. Several of us were more than happy to go jump with him to try to help him out. But it sometimes bit us. He desperately wanted to do a balloon jump at Quincy but wanted some to go with him. So I agreed and we planned for me to exit on my back filming with him exiting a second later and opening first. After we climbed over the side he never looked at me, let go just as I let go and got under me and had no clue I was there. Took all I could do to get out from above him before he dumped with no clue where I was or even remembering I was in the air. When he landed he thought everything went as planned. He retired from skydiving with a couple hundred jumps and went back to biking. And thanked me and gave me some of his gear.

Other older student was similar but more arrogant in his attitude. Not bad but no humility. He owned his own tool and die business and also loved jumping. But again seemed to have issues keeping up with what was going on and NEVER became acceptable at canopy control, even though one DZ owner had him talking in students on the radio at 100 jumps. (Don't ask.) We tried to help him out some too but wasn't interested in advice. He ended his career when he had his ripcord folded under his harness and pulled on his FXC braided housing instead of his reserve ripcord until the FXC opened his reserve. He was tumbling and blew up his round reserve. Landed on tarmac with the lower lateral band severed and canopy split to the apex. He lived but was broken up pretty badly.

Some others come to mind also. Again, folks that weren't staying up with the program and never quite got it. One couple in their 50's. She had no concept of altitude awareness. I watched her fall on her back until she finally got stable and pulled. Even when I saw her main leave her back I thought she was dead. Her main opened faster than it ever had. (pre AAD era) After she came back from the off airport landing she didn't know anything went wrong.:o Her husband spun himself into the ground after being warned/trained about low turns several times. He used to wear a USPA polo shirt and give advice to students when he had 30 jumps and no clue.

Yes I'm being a negative nancy but wanted you to hear something besides the cheer leaders. After all if they are on here they survived being a student.;) You SHOULD get into skydiving, I think everybody should.B| But be aware of your limitations as they may appear. I know my mind isn't working as well as it did at 30. (See my sig line.:S) And when everything goes great blow raspberries at me.:P

On the positive note another student started in his 50's. He became a very good skydiver quickly and we still have fun jumping together.

Get going, have fun and be aware as things might come up.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE
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Thanks for your honesty. Never too old to start, as long as you are physically AND mentally able to handle it.

Friend of mine was jump-mastering static-line students and he came across an older man who had been widowed and didn't really seem to be functioning on all cylinders mentally. My friend flat out told the DZO that he didn't think the guy needed to be jumping, but the DZO over-ruled him, so he took the guy up.

I don't exactly remember what happened, but the old man went in on his first real freefall jump. [:/] Afterwards my friend just kind of said fuck it, I'm not doing any more jump-mastering.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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councilman24

I'm the skeptic and cynic around here. So let me give you the bad things I've seen with older skydiving students. And at 56 I'm old enough to have some of these issues myself, but I already learned how to do this.

Two older students who became skydivers come to mind. One was in his 60's when he took it up. Was a biker, thin and lanky and no real health issues. Engineer as I recall, anyway some sort of technical professional career and still working when he started. But he was always one beat behind the dive. He could get out, fall stable, open his parachute and land. But when simple RW was added he was always not quite with the flow of the dive. I often saw a blank look on his face asking (What's next?) And not just the points. Exit order and plan, awareness of other jumpers, etc. He just was no longer thinking and processing as fast as others. Now maybe this was age related or maybe he would have always been like this. After a collision on opening due to awareness issue and some other near misses he finally realized that maybe he wasn't quite up to the task. I helped him come to this decision not because I didn't like him but because I did. He LOVED skydiving as much as and more than many students/newbie jumpers. Skydiving was keeping him young. But it also almost killed him at least twice. He went to Quincy several times and loved hanging out. And he realized his mistakes after they were explained to him but was not progressing at his awareness and skill in the air. Several of us were more than happy to go jump with him to try to help him out. But it sometimes bit us. He desperately wanted to do a balloon jump at Quincy but wanted some to go with him. So I agreed and we planned for me to exit on my back filming with him exiting a second later and opening first. After we climbed over the side he never looked at me, let go just as I let go and got under me and had no clue I was there. Took all I could do to get out from above him before he dumped with no clue where I was or even remembering I was in the air. When he landed he thought everything went as planned. He retired from skydiving with a couple hundred jumps and went back to biking. And thanked me and gave me some of his gear.

Other older student was similar but more arrogant in his attitude. Not bad but no humility. He owned his own tool and die business and also loved jumping. But again seemed to have issues keeping up with what was going on and NEVER became acceptable at canopy control, even though one DZ owner had him talking in students on the radio at 100 jumps. (Don't ask.) We tried to help him out some too but wasn't interested in advice. He ended his career when he had his ripcord folded under his harness and pulled on his FXC braided housing instead of his reserve ripcord until the FXC opened his reserve. He was tumbling and blew up his round reserve. Landed on tarmac with the lower lateral band severed and canopy split to the apex. He lived but was broken up pretty badly.

Some others come to mind also. Again, folks that weren't staying up with the program and never quite got it. One couple in their 50's. She had no concept of altitude awareness. I watched her fall on her back until she finally got stable and pulled. Even when I saw her main leave her back I thought she was dead. Her main opened faster than it ever had. (pre AAD era) After she came back from the off airport landing she didn't know anything went wrong.:o Her husband spun himself into the ground after being warned/trained about low turns several times. He used to wear a USPA polo shirt and give advice to students when he had 30 jumps and no clue.

Yes I'm being a negative nancy but wanted you to hear something besides the cheer leaders. After all if they are on here they survived being a student.;) You SHOULD get into skydiving, I think everybody should.B| But be aware of your limitations as they may appear. I know my mind isn't working as well as it did at 30. (See my sig line.:S) And when everything goes great blow raspberries at me.:P

On the positive note another student started in his 50's. He became a very good skydiver quickly and we still have fun jumping together.

Get going, have fun and be aware as things might come up.



But no negative experiences with older jumpers since the Reagan administration? :P

I think that sometimes, what older jumpers may lack in reflexes and strengh, they make up for in attentiveness and s true understanding of just how dangerous the sport really is.

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After you move, you'll be close to Skydive DeLand. There's definitely a lot of old people there! I can say that because I'm one of them. :ph34r:

Just do your training and see how you feel. Isn't it better to skydive and then decide if your body can't keep up than to live with the regret of never trying?
She is Da Man, and you better not mess with Da Man,
because she will lay some keepdown on you faster than, well, really fast. ~Billvon

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Quote

But no negative experiences with older jumpers since the Reagan administration?:P

I think that sometimes, what older jumpers may lack in reflexes and strengh, they make up for in attentiveness and s true understanding of just how dangerous the sport really is.



+1

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have you ever been to SOS record jump?

Well, it was only a triple cypress fire on one jump.

One guy who fired cypress goes to rent a rig from SquareOne and goes, "Can I just jump without it?"
.
.

"No, you definitely need cypress."
Bernie Sanders for President 2016

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DEG

I'm 63, not overweight (6', 170 lbs), in reasonably good shape from a fairly active lifestyle and no known health problems. I've had a fascination with skydiving for a long time, even have 5 S/L jumps (many years ago that were actually 2 jumps, then a military deployment that interrupted things, then another 3 S/L jumps a few years later that preceded another military interruption) but never got back to it. Have taken a recent early retirement and realize I still have the bug. So, do other people start at my age or is this just ill advised?



How about doing a tandem, telling the instructor you're thinking of doing AFF and if you can do some basic things like steering the canopy and see how you feel about things after that?
Some things to think about afterwards might be: did you have altitude awareness at all in free fall, could you look around and see where you were going, how did your back feel with your legs tucked up behind the instructor, how did you feel when the canopy opened and under canopy? Forget the landing pattern, that's not how you'll be doing it :P

Give it a go, see how you get on and even if it turns out not to be for you, at least you will have tried :)
A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

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I'm the skeptic and cynic around here. So let me give you the bad things I've seen with older skydiving students. . . .


Everything you described, have you not also seen that with younger students? For example, I can think of a 26 year-old who had a hard pull, and struggled with it until the Cypres fired. Or a 40ish jumper who just never quite got the hang of RW (though, admittedly, this jumper was aware of her shortcomings).

It seems that age-related mental decline is a thing, and if a non-jumper suffers from it, that's definitely something to take into account. But I'm not sure the things you describe are specifically caused by age.

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The two that I described in detail were pretty clearly age related. I was the rigger for and good friend of one of these folks and for lack of a better words coach/mentor to the other gentleman. So I knew them other than just in the air. Yes, there are all sorts of issues with younger students. But it's not usually being in slow motion. Younger students seem to be in high speed but making wrong decisions. These older folks seemed to be a little behind in sorting it out and then making wrong or no decisions.

I've seen young and old folks saved by their aads, not remember the dive, screw up the exit, miss the landing, crash a landing. I just wanted to point out the possible down side of older students.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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