A friend of mine who happens to be a Francophone skydiver from Quebec only took up the sport a few years ago.
She’s someone who impresses me. She has her motorcycle license, she has her skydiving license and she’s just an overall “bad ass” woman.
She gave me permission to post an article that she wrote up for Canpara (Canadian version of Parachutist)
This is the article:
Skydiving in your early 50s?
Written by Normande Cournoyer
Translaled by Gaëlle Vercollier
Yes, it is possible. ln 2004, around the end of the summer, I was
looking for a special project to undertake the following year. As
I was reading the paper one morning, an article really caught
my attention. A woman in her eighties had done a tandem skydive.
Suddenly, I remembered I had been having a recurring dream for a very
long time. I was flying off into the sky and it was always very pleasant.
June 11,2005, was the first tandem, a memorable day spent in total
euphoria. While taking Lebeau Road in Farnham which leads to the
Nouvel Air site, a song by Natasha St-Pier was playing on the radio:
To each their own story (Chacun son histoire) with the following lyrics:
“Taking off, flying, Burning one’s wings, To go through the sky, To
write one’s story … )” What a coincidence! I was far from thinking it was
the beginning of a beautiful adventure.
Well, yes, five weeks later, I was in the air for a second tandem.
Believe me, a third one almost occurred.
Seeing my need for adrenaline, one of my close friends suggested I
take some skydiving lessons. This idea was eating at me because I was in
my early fifties. After some research, information given by people in the
circle and encouragement given by a person who started skydiving at
47, I decided to follow the PAC program in the summer of 2006. I told
myself that I would regret it if didn’t give it a try.
Unfortunately, I was unable to complete my training in 2006 for
various reasons: difficulties, lack of available time and whims of Mother
Nature. One Friday morning, my heart wasn’t really into skydiving.
While going to Nouvel Air, I made a stop to have coffee and think
about what was best for me. While looking at the paper, I read a quote
by Nicholas Macrozo who belongs to the world of Canadian athletics:
“Sornetimes, you have ta take a step back in order to take two forward.”
I had just found my answer. I was stopping everything for now. My
solution was to go to a vertical wind tunnel.
On three occasions I found myself in the New Hampshire wind
tunnel with amazing instructors from Nouvel Air (Martin and Vincent
Lemay and Mario Prévost). Results followed one progress after another.
This past 16th of July, Solo certified, I was flying on my own in
From the time I made the decision to go on a tandem up until my
Solo certification, my journey had faced obstacles. Fortunately, the main
difficulties were encountered during the winter. Before the tandem,
I had a crow’s-foot tendonitis, the following year, surgery on the big
toe, and to top it off, last winter, tendonitis in both shoulders, I didn ‘t
find that one funny… With perseverance and hard work, I was able to
get back into shape. What is marvelous is that my physical condition is
better than it ever was.
Skydiving for me is to be in a new dimension: feeling of freedom,
of space around oneself, feeling the control of my body on the air.
While being safe, it’s the search for new feats. To fly off into this bluish
dimension is pure pleasure.
Presently, my objective is to continue having fun while progressing.
Who knows, maybe the A license? Only the future will tell.
I am proud to be a new skydiver in her early fifties. It’s the
achievement of a dream and a big challenge. I just had to believe in it
and face the encountered obstacles and provide the necessary energies.
My motto: “The only challenges lost ahead of time are the ones not
taken up. There wouldn’t be anything worse than to resign to defeat
without finally having tempted to be victorious”.