Skydiving history set in Ottawa; 104-year-old Dorothy Hoffner breaks record for oldest to jump

‘That was wonderful,’ Hoffner said after her landing

Tandem instructor Derek Baxter celebrates the new official record for the oldest person to skydive, which was set by Dorothy Hoffner at Skydive Chicago on October 1, 2023.

Dorothy Hoffner set the world record Sunday for the oldest woman to skydive when she landed in tandem to applause from the crowd gathered at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa.

“That was wonderful,” she said moments after a safe slide landing in a grassy field with Derek Baxter of Skydive Chicago.

The 104-year-old Hoffner had said she wanted to set the record to prove “it’s never too late to realize your dreams,” even beyond the century mark. The record was held by a 103-year-old from Sweden, who set the record in May 2022.

The centenarian, who was born and raised in Chicago, was not a skydiving rookie. She made her first skydive at Skydive Chicago when she was 100.

She told reporters Sunday she was motivated to jump again, because “it’s fun.” She used a walker to assist her to the Skyvan airplane before her jump, receiving applause from a crowd that gathered Sunday as she boarded the plane to make skydiving history.

Her jump, initially scheduled after noon, was delayed to later in the afternoon, but Hoffner remained patient throughout the process. Before Sunday, Hoffner had three jumps throughout the month postponed because of weather, dating back to Sept. 7.

“We’re here for however long it takes,” said Glenda Farmer, who was in attendance for the record-setting jump.

Hoffner said she had full trust in the Skydive Chicago staff, noting it was a pretty easy task, as “they do all the work.” Hoffner said the attention made her a little uncomfortable, taking a modest approach, but she was all smiles after the jump.

Skydive Chicago worked with the Guinness World Records to certify the jump.

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