The Skydiving Age Limit (Plus 7 Impressive Jumps at an Old Age)

An elderly couple is enjoying a leisurely walk down a street, hand in hand, with backpacks on. The man’s backpack is black, while the woman’s is beige. They are both casually dressed, the man in a blue shirt and the woman in a floral top. The scene is peaceful, with a sidewalk lined by buildings, capturing a moment of companionship and activity in their golden years.
There Is No Maximum Age for Skydiving

Are you planning to skydive but afraid you might be considered too young or too old? Are you wondering if there is an age limit when it comes to skydiving? If this sounds like you, I advise you to read on as this article answers every question that concerns age and skydiving.

According to USPA, to participate in a solo or tandem skydiving, you must be at least 18 years old. Surprisingly, there is no maximum age limit for skydiving as long as you are in good health and with a green light from your doctor.

However, if you are under 18 years old and eager to jump, there are still a few ways for you to jump. Not only can elder people perform skydivers, but some of the most incredible skydives have also been performed by some “old veterans”. I have summarized some of the most incredible jumps of elder people in this article.

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Is There a Minimum Age Requirement to Skydive?

Most skydiving centers in the US are members of the United States Parachute Association (USPA), which requires them to be in compliance with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). This means that they adhere to the Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs). The minimum age requirement set by USPA to its members is 18 years old, at least on the day of the jump for both solo or tandem skydiving.

Non-USPA members can accommodate guests under the age of 18 with parental consent; however, it will be at their discretion. Non-USPA members will also base their decision on the type of parachuting equipment that they have and if it fits the minor properly.

Previously, the USPA also allowed minors to jump, but after a skydiving accident wherein a 16-year-old was seriously injured, the USPA increased the minimum skydiving age across the US to 18 years old. Since then, solo skydivers also have to log 25 jumps before they are cleared to jump without supervision.

If you are curious about the role of the USPA and FAA beyond setting regulations and training guidelines for skydiving, make sure to check out my article about who investigates skydiving accidents.

Is There a Maximum Age Requirement to Skydive?

Skydiving does not have an upper or maximum age limit. As long as someone is in good health, anyone can jump – even if they are in their 90s or over 100 years old. Older people should get in touch with their doctor who knows their physical conditions and understands the risks of skydiving beforehand. When the doctor gives medical clearance, older people are good to jump. 

Sometimes doctors are not familiar with the requirements of skydiving. You can therefore find doctors who skydive as a hobby. Ask your own doctor for a referral. In addition, you can also lookup doctors that perform medical checks for pilots. They are perfectly qualified to give you clearance as well.

Skydiving is also becoming more popular with the elderly community. Over the past years, seniors are leaping faith and trying jumping from an airplane as a once-in-a-time experience. Some even consider it a new hobby – others try to skydive at least once or twice a year to celebrate their birthdays or other special occasions. Others are even setting world records; we have listed a few examples in the latter part of this post.

One of the great things about skydiving is the diverse set of age groups that it caters to. Unlike other sports, where the vast majority is young, skydiving has a dedicated community for older jumpers who even set world records in their respective categories. Here are a few skydiving communities for older jumpers:

  • Parachutists Over Phorty Society (POPS)
  • Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS)
  • Women Skydivers Over Sixty (WSOS)
  • Jumpers Over Seventy (JOS)

What Are the Physical Requirements to Skydive?

There’s no age limit in skydiving as long as you meet the physical requirements. You must possess moderate mobility. At the minimum, you must be able to bend, kneel, do an arch position and lift your legs as these movements are important during the freefall, canopy ride, and landing process. This can sometimes be a challenge for older people.

However, if you do not meet the mobility requirements right away, you should not give up. There are many instances where people (also older people) become much fitter in order to skydive.

There are also some people with disabilities or people in a wheelchair who skydived. This takes more preparation and should be discussed and handled by skydiving centers with experience in these types of cases – but it is possible. Just as former President George Bush said, being old does not justify becoming inactive.

“Just because you’re an old guy, you don’t have to sit around drooling in the corner. Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life.”

Former President George H.W. Bush Sr.

If you want to know more about the requirements of skydiving besides age limits, check out this article.

Remarkable Skydiving Jumps Achieved at an Unconventional Age
Overview of 7 Remarkable Skydives Performed at an Unusual Age

7 Impressive Skydives at an Unusual Age

I personally find it inspiring when old people love the sport so much that they continue jumping at a high age. I find it even more impressive when people perform their first skydive at a high age. Here are 7 impressive jumps at an unusual age.

1. Former President George H.W. Bush, 90 Years Old – Skydived Every 5th Year Since His Retirement

George H.W. Bush was the 41st president of the United States. The first time he jumped from a plane was in 1944 while serving in the US Navy. His fighter plane was gunned down, and he parachuted into the Pacific Ocean. He was rescued by a US submarine; unfortunately, his two crewmates did not make it. Bush also pledged that one day he will jump from an airplane, just for fun.

After his retirement, the former president made his first birthday solo skydive at 75 in June 1999. He jumped and landed near his presidential library and museum in College Station, Texas. Bush decided to skydive every 5th year of birth.

On his 80th birthday, he went back to College Station but had to go on a tandem jump because the weather was windy and cloudy. Bush paired up with a member of the Golden Knights, the US Army’s official team for parachute demonstrations and competitions.

On his 85th, he changed the location to Kennebunkport, Maine. He made a successful tandem jump despite being wheelchair-bound. His last tandem skydive took place on his 90th birthday in 2014 at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport, Maine.

He was greeted after the jump with a hug from his son, former President George W Bush, and a kiss from his wife, Barbara. The former president died in November 2018 at the age of 94. 

2. Milburn Hart, 96 Years Old – the Oldest Person to Solo Skydive

On February 18, 2015, Milburn Hart from Seattle, Washington set the world record as the oldest solo parachute jump (male) according to the Guinness Book of World Records. In preparation for his solo jump, he underwent five hours of training and a written test in Blue Skies Skydiving Adventures.

He also made two tandem jumps in 2014 and was accompanied by six friends from his retirement center and daughter Diane Hamilton, her husband, Dave, and their daughter.

Staff members at the Blue Skies Skydiving Adventures took extra precautions by putting a radio receiver in Hart’s ears to compensate for hearing loss and provide radio instructions from the ground to help him steer to the landing site. They replaced his confining jumpsuit with a sweatshirt so he could reach and control the parachute when it opened. They also use a static line clipped to the plane to open the parachute, so no need for a ripcord.

Unfortunately, as he exited, Milburn bumped into the plane and dislocated his shoulder, which resulted in him having difficulties controlling his parachute during landing. He struggled but managed to maneuver to avoid power lines and made a soft landing.

Milburn was initially treated at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton but later on admitted to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia for overnight observation. He was in a stable condition and good health afterward.

3. Alfred “Al” Blaschke, 103 Years and 181 Days Old – the Oldest Person to Tandem Skydive

In 2017, Alfred “Al” Blaschke from Central Texas celebrated his 100th birthday with a leap of faith. He was initially asked 3 years ago if he wanted to skydive, but he respectfully declined and said that he will wait until his 100th birthday.

True to his word, he made the jump together with his friend, Betty Schleder, a former finalist on the hit television shows “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race.” Al described the experience as “wonderful” and “fantastic.”

On July 2, 2020, exactly three years after, Al took his second jump. The retired craftsman is now 103 years and 181 days as verified in San Marcos, Texas. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, he successfully broke the record set for the oldest person to tandem parachute jump (male category).

Al did not do it just to break a record but also to celebrate the college graduation of his twin grandsons – Jason and Kevin who jumped for the first time on that day as well. Together with his tandem instructor, they took the plunge from a height of 14,000 ft. The event was witnessed by his family, friends, as well as media personnel.

4. Patrick “Pat” Moorehead – 80 Years Old, Made 81 Jumps for His 80th Birthday

Patrick “Pat” Moorehead is not a typical skydiver. He is a well-known name in the skydiving community. He served on the USPA board of directors and is one of the founders of the Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS) parachuting club. He also jumped for TV commercials and performed skydiving stunts for movies like “The Return of Maxwell Smart,” “Mission Impossible,” and “Battlestar Galactica.”

Pat decided to celebrate his 80th birthday and to raise funds for the construction of the National Skydiving Museum in Fredericksburg by making 80 jumps. To perform all the jumps, Pat needed a whole team of volunteer riggers, cameramen, pilots, and a doctor on standby. His “Team 80” also designed T-shirts and other merch to raise even more money for the construction.

Pat was able to complete 80 skydives in 6 ½ hours by jumping from a comparably low height of 2,200 ft which brought the jump time down to an average of 6 minutes each jump. To make the event extra special, Pat made another jump after the 80th – this time to fly the American flag. And to add icing to the cake, they were able to successfully raise more than $18,000 for the museum.

5. Jay Stokes, 50 Years Old – Made 640 Skydives in 24 Hours

Jay Strokes has been a leader in the civilian and military skydiving community. He served on the USPA board of directors from 2007 until 2018 and was elected as both president and chairman of the board. In 2016, he was part of the team that set the world record for the largest night skydive formation. He also trained both civilians and military from across the country.

To celebrate his 50th birthday, Jay made 640 skydives in 24 hours, which beat his previous record of 534 jumps in 24 hours. Jay aimed to raise $60,000 for Special Olympics and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides college scholarships to the children of special-operations soldiers killed in the line of duty.

On September 5, 2014, at age 58, Strokes once again attempted to make his own record by making 700 jumps in 24 hours. Unfortunately, the event was canceled due to poor weather conditions. He also mentioned that it had been his last attempt for the world record as he wanted to spend more time with his family.

In the light of remarkable records and attempts one might wonder what else can military skydivers and special forces do? If you are curious, I invite you to read my article about whether special forces use wingsuits. It will leave you stunned!

6. Jumps Over Seventy – the 25-Way World Record for Largest Formation Skydive

On April 20, 2018, more than 100 members of Jumpers Over Seventy (JOS), Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS), and Women Skydivers Over Sixty (WSOS) gathered to Skydive Perris for their annual JOS, SOS, and WSOS World Record Events. The 81 members were from 8 different countries. 

On day one, 32 skydivers in their 70s from Canada, Germany, Sweden, and the US participated in the 3 days JOS world record event. They divided the group into two; one group practiced the docking formation at the ground, and the second group worked outside flying.

At the end of the first day, they selected the 30-person record team and tried performing the formation on the second day. As they were unsuccessful in building the formation, they cut the number of jumpers down to 25 at the end of the second day.

With the knowledge that it was their last attempt, the JOS group built a 25-way and successfully held it for 15 seconds on the 3rd and last day of the event. They were able to set a JOS World Record for the Largest Formation Skydive and overtopped the previous world record by one jumper (the previous world record was also held by younger skydivers).

Stunts like formations not only look cool but are also difficult to perform, given the limited freefall time. In a stunt, every movement has to be near perfect, otherwise, skydivers might miss the right height for parachute deployment. Learn more about how long the freefall time for skydivers is and the surprising ways to manipulate it, check out my article about it.

7. Skydivers Over Sixty – the 66-Way World Record for Largest Formation Skydive

On April 25, 2018, the Skydivers Over Sixty group began its scheduled 15-jump series to break the SOS world record for the largest formation skydive. The attempt was dedicated to Steve Love, a popular load organizer from Pennsylvania who lost his life to cancer. Love successfully spearheaded several POPS and SOS state records and was a fixture at the world record events.

The first day of the SOS jumps was devoted to practicing and refining technique. The next day, 75 skydivers together with videographers Craig O’Brien and Terry Weatherford began the attempt to break the current 65-way record. As they were not able to form a 75-way formation, they decided to trim the group to 66-way.

On April 28, they successfully set a 66-way SOS World Record for the Largest Formation Skydive. During the final banquet, the group expressed their gratitude to the sponsors and organizers who assisted them during the entire event. 

As these stories beautifully show: Age is just a number in skydiving. If other people have performed their first skydive at a high age, you can do so as well. If you are still young, you can initiate your parents or grandparents to perform their first skydive.

If you are hooked up on adrenaline activities after reading this, make sure to also check out my article featuring 13 alternative activities to skydiving. These activities are guaranteed to get your heart racing and take you to the edge of your comfort zone, offering an experience akin to skydiving’s excitement.

No matter what your age is, enjoy your first freefall!

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Kai Schmidt

Hi, I'm Kai. The first time I jumped out of an airplane and experienced free fall was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For me, skydiving does not only stand for freedom and independence but being present in the moment and being respectful to others and oneself. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

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