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Chicago woman, 104, jumps from plane, aiming for record as the world’s oldest skydiver


A Chicago woman is proving we are never too old to shoot for the stars. Or in her case, jump from a plane.

The 104-year-old made a dream come true while hoping to be certified as the oldest person ever to skydive.

“Age is just a number,” Dorothy Hoffner told a cheering crowd moments after touching the ground Sunday at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, about 85 miles southwest of the Windy City, the Chicago Tribune reported.

She left her walker on the ground as she made the tandem jump in northern Illinois. 

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Dorothy Hoffner, 104, falls through the air with tandem jumper Derek Baxter. She wants to ride in a hot-air balloon next. (Daniel Wilsey via AP)

It was her second time falling from the sky, following her first jump when she was 100 and had to be pushed out of the aircraft. On Sunday, Hoffner insisted on leading the jump from 13,500 feet while tethered to a U.S. Parachute Association-certified instructor.

The dive lasted seven minutes, including her parachute’s slow descent to the ground, The Associated Press reported. Coming in to land with the wind pushing Hoffner’s white hair back, she clung to the harness over her narrow shoulders, picked up her legs and plopped softly onto the grassy landing area.

Friends rushed Hoffner to wish her congratulations, while someone brought over her walker. 

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Oldest skydiver in Illinois

Dorothy Hoffner, 104, descends toward land with tandem jumper Derek Baxter as she aims to become the oldest person to skydive, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois. (Daniel Wilsey via AP)

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“The whole thing was delightful, wonderful, couldn’t have been better,” Hoffner, who turns 105 in December, said. She would like to take a hot air balloon ride next. 

Organizers are working to have Guinness World Records certify Hoffner’s jump, FOX 32 Chicago reported.

The current Guinness World Record for oldest skydiver was set in May 2022 by 103-year-old Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson from Sweden.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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