Shropshire Star

Dorothy, 104, hoping for record as world’s oldest skydiver

Dorothy Hoffner completed her feat at Skydive Chicago Airport.

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Oldest Skydiver

A 104-year-old woman is hoping to be confirmed as the oldest person to skydive after making a tandem jump and landing 13,500ft later at a US airport.

“Age is just a number,” Dorothy Hoffner told a cheering crowd moments after touching the ground at Skydive Chicago Airport in the Illinois town of Ottawa, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The record for oldest skydiver was set in May last year by 103-year-old Linnea Ingegard Larsson from Sweden, but Skydive Chicago is working to have Guinness World Records certify Ms Hoffner’s jump as a new record, WLS-TV reported.

Oldest Skydiver
Dorothy Hoffner walks out to the plane with tandem jumper Derek Baxter (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/AP)

She first skydived when she was 100, and on Sunday she left her walking frame behind at the airport and was helped up the plane’s steps to join others waiting inside to skydive.

“Let’s go, let’s go, Geronimo!” Ms Hoffner said after she was finally seated.

When she first skydived she had had to be pushed out of the aircraft, but on Sunday, tethered to a US Parachute Association-certified instructor, Ms Hoffner insisted on leading the jump.

She looked calm and confident when the plane was aloft and its aft door opened to reveal crop fields far below, shortly before she shuffled to the edge and leaped into the air.

Oldest Skydiver
Dorothy Hoffner waves to the crowd at Skydive Chicago in Illinois (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/AP)

The dive lasted seven minutes, and the plane beat Ms Hoffner to the ground after her parachute opened for a slow descent.

Finally, the wind pushed her white hair back as she clung to the harness draped over her narrow shoulders, picked up her legs as the ground neared and plopped on to a grassy area at the airport.

Friends rushed in to share congratulations, while someone brought over Ms Hoffner’s red walking frame. She rose quickly and a reporter asked her how it felt to be back on the ground.

Oldest Skydiver
Dorothy Hoffner comes in for landing (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/AP)

“Wonderful,” she said. “But it was wonderful up there. The whole thing was delightful, wonderful, couldn’t have been better.”

Ms Hoffner’s mind quickly turned to the future and other challenges. The lifelong Chicago native, who will turn 105 in December, said she might take a ride in a hot-air balloon next.

“I’ve never been in one of those,” she added.

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