For the third time in 10 years, Columbia resident Inge Hyder clipped her body onto someone else’s, took two steps forward and fell freely into the sky.
The 90-year-old lives for a thrill and so, in honor of her 90th birthday which was earlier this year, she set out on her third skydiving adventure Friday with Skydive Baltimore at Harford County Airport in Churchville.
“I think we all need something to cheer about these days, [like] a crazy lady, 90 years old skydiving,” Hyder said.
Hyder, an entrepreneur who used to run Roommate Referrals in Columbia, first heard about skydiving from a customer.
“I thought, ‘I’d like to do that. It seems easy,’ ” she said.
So 10 years ago, for her 80th birthday, she did. At Skydive Delmarva in Laurel, Delaware, Hyder took her first jump alongside three friends and her daughter, Alison.
“I was excited and then, when it was actually time, I was a little bit scared,” Hyder said. “I was already hooked onto the guy, so there was no turning back.”
Hyder said she’d never been a fan of heights, but she did love flying.
“I knew I was hooked onto somebody and I trusted that, and I did survive, so no problem,” she said.
A year after her Delaware jump, Hyder skydived again — this time in Tucson, Arizona, to celebrate her sister’s 80th birthday.
“I did survive two of them, so I shouldn’t have a problem this time,” Hyder said ahead of her Harford County jump.
On Friday, Hyder had a dozen friends watching and cheering her on. Some were from her church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, and some were from The Village In Howard, a 55-plus member-based group.
Kim Sherman, 79, drove Hyder to her Friday jump. He led a car caravan of friends coming to watch.
Sherman, a fellow Columbia resident and Village group member, has known Hyder for three years and calls her “the light of our group.”
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“She’s sharper at 90 than most of us are at 70-something,” Sherman said. “I said I want to [skydive] when I turn 80, and I will when that comes in March.”
Once Hyder completed the jump, Sherman and her other friends were waiting with a socially distanced picnic to celebrate.
One sign among the small crowd read: “When I grow up I want to be Inge Hyder.” Another, held by friend John Shea, of Ellicott City, read: “Inge Hyder Making trouble since 1930 and today is no exception!”
Hyder said she was anxious to see what the view of Baltimore would look like from above.
“It was really thrilling. You can see everything,” Hyder said.
Alice Triplett, 73, a friend of Hyder’s from church, went to watch Hyder with a sign in hand that read: “Jumping with joy.”
“The fact that she was doing it again wasn’t a surprise, but it was an opportunity to see her do it myself,” said Triplett, an Ellicott City resident. “[Skydiving] I won’t do, but I’m going to watch her with joy.”