A 92-year-old man with artificial knees made it into the record books by becoming the oldest person ever to jump out of an airplane without holding on to anyone else.
"What a thrill!" Herb Tanner said seconds after he touched down Friday. "That was beautiful. Just gorgeous. I'd love to do that again, but not today."Tanner, of the Cleveland suburb of Mayfield Heights, looked to the Guinness Book of World Records to see what kind of mark he could make in parachuting.
Jumping while attached to another parachutist was out. A 99-year-old woman already had done it, and the record for males was held by a 95-year-old Englishman.
But Tanner could still break a record if he jumped solo. The record had been held by the late Edwin C. Townsend, who was 89 when he jumped in Louisiana in 1986.
After receiving basic jump instruction and making 10 computer jumps using a virtual reality simulator, Tanner was ready.
The 105-pound Tanner - fake knees, hearing aid and all - climbed into a jumpsuit and leaped from a plane at 3,500 feet.
A lifelong pilot, Tanner has flown for 63 years but never parachuted.
"I always wanted to parachute, but my wife wouldn't let me," he said. "She said she would leave me if I jumped. She died two years ago."