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DEG

How old is too old to start?

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I am in Boston MA area. I did a tandem jump and three AFF jumps at Jumptown in Orange MA. Was told by instructor he was concerned about how I might react in emergency situation. He terminated any further instruction. Also noting my age of 63 and according to him the rough life I had led. His words not mine. I am a Vietnam veteran. Very capable of reacting when needed to save mine and others lives. I am an avid weight lifter, do mindfulness and yoga. I am not a perfect person. But by no means am I hopeless. When I put my mind to a task it usually gets completed. I have been in contact with Rob Laidlaw of Skydive U in Deland FLA. Cost and travel and all that goes with it may be prohibitive. I was encouraged by Mr Robs approach to teaching new skydivers. Any advice or mentoring you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Steve

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stayhigh

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."



I seem to remember a triple cypress fire on a 4 way team just a few years back, all young guys... I could be wrong.

I think it's obvious that the dangers of skydiving increase with age, I also think Older students need to be judged individually and on their own merits, just like the younger ones. Lots of younger ones get the bowling speech, do they not?

I do know one thing, I don't have to worry about a 60 year old 200 jump wonder throwing a 270 into me when I'm at 300 ft.

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First jump at 52. First world record attempt at 55. Nationals medal at 57. First world record at 57. First wingsuit jump at 59. US wingsuit record at 64 and again at 65.

Go for it. Your instructors will tell you if you need to take up bowling instead.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.
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That reply results in stalemate...

:D

That infamous 4 way team did have triple cypress fire.

.

Okay, I see no problem with 60 something year old skydiving, and that really, really depends on the Affi in charge of student progression of that certain school.

60+ year old can go skydive all they want at relatively safe dz. DZ, where it has ton's of landing area without obstacles or issues of turbulence. Close access to a tunnel so that the student can be super confident at basic body flying.

Student's commitment has to be high, so that student remains current. I'm not talking 1 jump per month. I'm talking several jumps per week until student has enough jumps to feel like skydiving is equal to riding a bicycle.

I've seen multiple 60+ year old who surfs shortboard every single day. Those 60 year old does not look or act like 60 years old at all. It really depends on that 60 year old's physical maintenance.
Bernie Sanders for President 2016

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Oldest jumper I’ve met had just turned 80. In speaking with him, he had been actively jumping up until the recent couple months; but now he said had to admit that his reflexes weren’t what they used to be. So the past two months, he said he had “hung up his spurs”, but was still coming to the DZ to do a tandem once a month to fill his need – I thought that was cool; hope I’m still jumping at that age.
"Pain is the best instructor, but no one wants to attend his classes"

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OrangeSlice

Was told by instructor he was concerned about how I might react in emergency situation. He terminated any further instruction after 3 AFF jumps. Also noting my age of 63 and according to him the rough life I had led. His words not mine.......

......I was encouraged by Mr Robs approach to teaching new skydivers. Any advice or mentoring you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Steve



I think that says more about the instructor than it does about you. If he was any good he should have observed any deficiencies BEFORE your first AFF jump.

Then he should have withdrawn from instructing and put you on to someone who could do the job properly.

IMO the quality of some "instructors" around the scene is somewhat lower than it should be.
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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Quote

60+ year old can go skydive all they want at relatively safe dz. DZ, where it has ton's of landing area without obstacles or issues of turbulence. Close access to a tunnel so that the student can be super confident at basic body flying.



I chuckle a bit at the statement above. Odds are an older student jumper will pay more attention to training and make better judgment calls if they have lived an active life (experienced the real world). I leave running into trees and landing downwind of stuff to those that can recover from being broken.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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OrangeSlice

I am in Boston MA area. I did a tandem jump and three AFF jumps at Jumptown in Orange MA. Was told by instructor he was concerned about how I might react in emergency situation. He terminated any further instruction. Also noting my age of 63 and according to him the rough life I had led. His words not mine. I am a Vietnam veteran. Very capable of reacting when needed to save mine and others lives. I am an avid weight lifter, do mindfulness and yoga. I am not a perfect person. But by no means am I hopeless. When I put my mind to a task it usually gets completed. I have been in contact with Rob Laidlaw of Skydive U in Deland FLA. Cost and travel and all that goes with it may be prohibitive. I was encouraged by Mr Robs approach to teaching new skydivers. Any advice or mentoring you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Steve



Why not go to SNE up in Maine or Pepperill in MA and get a second opinion? When I did my second AFF jump I was lugging my canopy back to the packing area while a 65 year old was heading up in the otter. It was my last jump of the day but my instructor introduced me to his wife. while we chatted he landed and did so brilliantly (at 35 I was jealous of his better landing). At 65 he quickly outpaced my jumps and landed with a smile every time.

Skydiving is less physical than mental. You don't need to be a weightlifter or marathon runner, you need to have decent reflexes and good body control.

You could always head to the NH wind tunnel as well and work on body position. It takes the intimidation out of the freefall entirely.

I'm no pro by any means (hell, you're already approaching my jump numbers) but seeing MANY older students at the DZ... I can't see where the issue is.

again, i'm no AFF instructor, but there are likely options and where some instructors may be unable/unwilling/uncomfortable at training you... its like finding the right doctor. They are out there.
You are not the contents of your wallet.

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1. I have seen older jumpers learn to skydive successfully.

2. Parachute Landing Fall (PLF) is your friend!!

3. Don't tolerate ageist or poor quality instruction. The difference between the best instruction and the worst is NIGHT and DAY.

4. Go at YOUR pace.

5. I learned at age 50.... it was definitely not pretty, but I made it.
The choices we make have consequences, for us & for others!

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dthames

I leave running into trees and landing downwind of stuff to those that can recover from being broken.



I would generally so go for it, but like several have pointed out there are both risks and benefits.

One of the increased risks of age is that if you do get injured, you will not recover as quickly or possibly as well.
"What if there were no hypothetical questions?"

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Thanks, Terry, for a balancing out the rose-tinted "Go for it" point of view. The truth is, as with all human endeavors, we're all different. In my opinion, the key is in honest self-evaluation and openness to others' opinions.
Student jumpers can get away with a lot of mistakes. That's the way the program is designed and why there are talented instructors. By the time a jumper finishes basic instruction, however, they should be able to operate somewhat independently. Going through training will subject someone to most of the physical and mental tasks and stresses that occur in everyday skydiving. This should be the time when someone should see how they are holding up to these, listen to their instructors, and decide whether they should continue.
Trainers who immediately dismiss an older person simply on the basis of age are just as wrong as an older person thinking that young folks are "know-nothing dipshits". Sometimes it's true, but not spending the time to find out for sure is a mistake.

Kevin K.
_____________________________________
Dude, you are so awesome...
Can I be on your ash jump ?

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Quote

Sometimes it's true, but not spending the time to find out for sure is a mistake.



^^^^^^


I don't like generalized assessments one single bit. (:D my one exception is that someone that "used" to jump and then took a long layoff - will be a pain in the ass to teach. they'll do fine, but it'll likely be difficult)

any age, any education, any scenario, the INDIVIDUAL should take a first jump course if they are interested. A 'good' instructor 'should' be able to assess that individual and make a call if they are so bad they might be a problem. Unless they are ridiculously incompetent and I've tried 1 on 1 'extra' training and even tried a different instructor too (first default, an 'untrainable' student is MY fault as an instructor - I keep trying), they'll always get a Cat A.

everything good or bad I've read here as examples I've seen across the entire spectrum of age - most of the 'poor' performance examples I see attributable to age, I see much worse in males in their early 20's

aging, etc manifests itself so differently, that I can't just put a line in the sand - I need to observe the individual...period

...
Driving is a one dimensional activity - a monkey can do it - being proud of your driving abilities is like being proud of being able to put on pants

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skyjumpenfool

***Consider yourself too old the day after the flowers begin to arrive at the funeral home.


Bill Cole



Wait Bill.... what about the ash dive? As I see it, a skydive is a skydive. B|

This is a valid point.
You are not the contents of your wallet.

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Update of my previous post and apology to Jumptown Orange MA.
Went to Skydive University Deland Florida in June. Had great learning time there. After tunnel time and two AFF jumps both filmed. We saw a mental lapse of 1 second when it came time for me to pull at 5500 feet. i could clearly see it. After discussing this with SDU it was decided this lapse could be caused by medication prescribed for me by the department of Veteran Affairs for the last 20 years. I am now well into weaning off these meds. Possible and hopefully I'll try again next year when these meds are long out of my system. Been on them so long but had some concern but not as much as I did watching videos of my jumps. Hoping to do more tunnel time this winter but not 100% sure yet. Time off these meds will give me a better idea of any deficits I have. Possibly too late in life for this dream. Do not want to be a danger to anyone else, others safety my main concern and listening to others advice as I continue or not..

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OrangeSlice

Update of my previous post and apology to Jumptown Orange MA.
Went to Skydive University Deland Florida in June. Had great learning time there. After tunnel time and two AFF jumps both filmed. We saw a mental lapse of 1 second when it came time for me to pull at 5500 feet. i could clearly see it. After discussing this with SDU it was decided this lapse could be caused by medication prescribed for me by the department of Veteran Affairs for the last 20 years. I am now well into weaning off these meds. Possible and hopefully I'll try again next year when these meds are long out of my system. Been on them so long but had some concern but not as much as I did watching videos of my jumps. Hoping to do more tunnel time this winter but not 100% sure yet. Time off these meds will give me a better idea of any deficits I have. Possibly too late in life for this dream. Do not want to be a danger to anyone else, others safety my main concern and listening to others advice as I continue or not..

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BillyVance

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.



Something similiar happened to me. I had a sixty year old SL student who would not do a practice PLF during the FJC. I told the DZO that I didn't think he should jump, but he let him jump anyway. He got out on the strut, wouldn't let go, so the pilot shook him off. I short lined him after he hit the step with his head. He got one leg struck in his slider. He didn't get it out until he was on final. Afterwards I asked him how he felt the jump went. He said, "Just fine."

To the OP, your success will depend much more on your attitude than your level of fitness. Older people (I am 64) often don't have realistic expectations because they have a history of success and make poor students. Remember that you KNOW NOTHING about skydiving. If you can approach the subject with true humility, I say go for it.
"Here's a good specimen of my own wisdom. Something is so, except when it isn't so."

Charles Fort, commenting on the many contradictions of astronomy

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(edited)

I am 75 and in excellent shape.  I workout regularly, quite competent gamer, Advanced and Rescue Scuba diver, rode motorcycles from 1965 until 2012.  I don't drink, never smoked or did "drugs" - in other words totally boring! I could go on but you get the picture.  The point is my career meant that I didn't get a chance to do some of these things until I was in my 50's and 60's.
I have on my "bucket list" Skydiving.  I have been turned down by the two closest DZ's in my area (Southern Ontario) without ever meeting me or talking to me; the just refuse to take any one over 60 as a beginner.

I have been studying books, videos and on line articles to prepare myself.  What should I do, quitting my quest is not an option.  There may be a school in Toronto that may take me but I have been warned that they will charge me for a "Tandem" jump then say I need to do more of them and drag this out and say they don't think I am qualified - I have been told this is a pattern with them - not saying I think it is true just cautious.

Any suggestions on my next steps?

Bog

In the Great White North - Canada!

Edited by Bogatyr

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1 hour ago, Bogatyr said:

In the Great White North - Canada!

It sounds like you are in southern Ontario. Which despite the Canadian myth is not really in the north! I can't say who in your area would be willing to take an honest approach at assessing and training you. If you were to come to our DZ north of Winnipeg in Gimli MB (still not all that far north, but at least 500 miles north of Toronto) we certainly would. If we assessed you as able to we would enroll you in the First Jump Course and after you jumped we would go from there into either the PFF program or classic progression. You could choose whether or not to do a tandem as a first jump. We trained one man this year who did a IAD first jump and was your age. He did not continue, but that was not his goal. We are a little old school here. 

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On 2/5/2015 at 6:09 PM, OrangeSlice said:

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.

The common problem is that a lot of older folks will show up, take the ground course, do one or two AFF jumps, and then never come back.  It's unfortunate, but you have to understand that that is the reason for the feeling that they're not "friendly" to older divers.  You just have to keep at it and prove you're not one of those "one-and-done" types.  It's a pretty selective community, and filled with alphas who have strong opinions. 

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5 hours ago, Bogatyr said:

Any suggestions on my next steps?

No idea if the Toronto school is a lot farther for you than the "no seniors" dropzones, but it may be worth going to the places that turned you down, show up, maybe do a tandem and tell the instructor you want to learn to skydive and for him / her to evaluate how you do.  

Maybe you can convince them to make an exception. (or maybe not, but worth a try)

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7 hours ago, Bogatyr said:

  There may be a school in Toronto that may take me but I have been warned that they will charge me for a "Tandem" jump then say I need to do more of them and drag this out and say they don't think I am qualified -

I would hope local DZ's wouldn't try to drag things out. Although there are no bad DZ's in Ontario, yeah I can see some being wary.

Some people stick with the sport and some don't, some students need more jumps than others. So who knows what would be needed.

In Canada, it is normal to have to do one other type jump before doing a PFF course. So you would in any case do a Tandem or Static-line or IAD jump first, to get used to jumping and demonstrate that you, like any newbie, could follow basic instructions. (Static line and IAD are similar.)  There is the occasional DZ that has a waiver and does PFF from the first jump (eg SWOOP, Grand Bend I guess). Also some that do a Tandem Progression where one does a few tandems before moving to PFF with only one instructor (eg, PST, Burnaby, Gananoque I think). Others do what I described as the standard PFF, including the one jump before the full PFF system (eg Skydive Toronto, Niagara maybe).  So there is a fair bit of variation in accepted methods.

I remember doing PFF with someone banned from the UK system (above age 55 to start) while at Skydive Toronto, and we got him graduated, although the guy was pretty stiff, which made it take longer to learn to fly stable. As to what decisions an instructor would make with you, who knows what they would think after meeting and working with you.

There is some concern in skydiving that harder openings are more dangerous for old people. While we all recover from things a bit slower as we age, a rogue hard opening can be rougher or more dangerous to a quite old person. Heck even I with 30 years in the sport wonder when "the right time" will be to retire. That said, there are certainly a bunch of 60+ jumpers out there.

 

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(edited)

Did my AFF at 59. Still jumping at 68 -  most recent jump was yesterday. Yes, I'm not the quickest learner or progressor as compared to the younger jumpers but I really enjoy what I'm doing and as long as I'm safe and don't endanger anyone else, that works for me. I fly a nice 190' Spectre in a Javelin, purchased new (my only concession to perfect/image kit) and which I pack myself. The rest of my kit is second hand. Long may it all last.

Edited by Bokdrol

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