Champion skydiver Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld is trying to break another world record! In just a few weeks he will gather with 100 skydivers, all 60+, from around the globe, to attempt the largest ever simultaneous free fall of older adults.
Dan, a six-time world champion skydiver in his own right, previously organized the largest free fall formation in history, with more than 300 people of all ages jumping back in 2001. He is also an author, a motivational speaker and the manager of Skydive Perris, which is hosting the upcoming jump.
How did you start organizing these group jumps?
Skydiving is really, truly about human flight. It’s not about an adrenaline rush, it’s about this unbelievable feeling of flying and you can feel that much more when you’re flying with other people.
Skydiving is really, truly about human flight.
It’s also an amazing community. On any given day at Skydive Perris, there are people aged 18 to 90, because this is just what they do. Other people go golfing, these guys skydive. So doing those big group jumps means the community can share a goal and enjoy flying together.
What inspired you to organize this world record attempt with all people age 60 and over?
When I started jumping at 18 years old, the old skydivers were in their 30s. The sport just hadn’t been around that long, and it was too rough. But now, many people are jumping into their 70s or starting in their 60s.
For me and my friends, we never thought we’d be skydiving in our 60s. So, what inspired me was realizing that we had enough friends who had the skills and the experience needed. The current record is 75 people aged 60 and over, and I think we can beat that.
How will the jump work?
We’re going to be exiting the airplanes from roughly 16,000 feet in the air. 100 individuals jumping out of five airplanes. Then, we have approximately 60 seconds to get everyone together in the pre-determined formation before we need to fly away from each other and open our parachutes. It’s an athletic challenge.
Can you take up skydiving at any age?
Of course! You should feel confident in your health, but you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete. You should be active and sharp. One man I know, Vern Miller, came out and did a jump on his 100th birthday. He landed fine and came back for his 101st birthday to do it again.
Whatever is out there that fascinates you, don’t hide from it.
If you’re interested, I say go out to a drop zone and check it out (click here to find a United States Parachute Association drop zone near you!). Watch people land, check out the equipment. Most people think skydivers are a bunch of young adrenaline junkies who are trying to cheat death, but that’s not the case. There are some of those people, but it’s mostly people who try to keep adrenaline to a minimum, share the skies and enjoy the sport.
What does aging with attitude mean to you?
For a lot of people, they never wanted to skydive. And I don’t encourage them to do it! If it doesn’t look like fun to you, don’t go! But if you look up, like I did when I was a little kid, and think, “Wow that’s the most amazing thing in the world! To be able to fly like that!” Then you should try.
And not just skydiving! Whatever is out there that fascinates you, don’t hide from it.
Pam Hugi is Senior Planet’s Community and Advocacy Manager. Based in Brooklyn, she runs Senior Planet’s Supporter program in addition to being a contributing writer for this site. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.