Senior Citizen From Two Harbors Celebrates Airborne Birthday

By KBJR News 1

August 26, 2012 Updated Aug 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM CDT

Superior, WI (Northland's NewsCenter)
Sunday's aren't slow at Superior's Bong Airport.
It's noon and pilots Nate Miller and Dan Chandler are warming up a pair of aircraft.
Rigger Joe Steffl is carefully packing parachutes.
The three are graduates or students at LSC's Flight School and are also part of Skydive Superior.
They're getting ready to take an 83 year old man up on his birthday for his first jump.
It's his message to other seniors to keep having fun.

"Too many seniors my age and younger as they get old, they get dull." said Karl Aho.

Karl Aho is a retired Lutheran pastor with connections to Duluth, the Iron Range and Two Harbors.
He's in safe hands, making his first parachute jump with Sky Dive Superior.

"It's been a skydiving business for 53 years and it's the longest continuing operating drop zone in the country." said jump instructor Mike Robinson.

Pastor Aho's desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane didn't shock any of his family members.

"I wasn't surprised. Grandpa has never ignored the call to adventure. He's just kind of a crazy guy." said grandchild Hannah Aho.

Aho's previous adventures included ski jumping at Chester Bowl as a youth and a pilot's license earned at the age of 18.
11,000 feet over Superior, the plane slowed to a ground speed of 40 knots and the pastor took his plunge.
He wanted to try skydiving because of its no looking back nature.

"You can take up tennis and quit it but once you jump out of this airplane, you're in the sport and you're going to stay with it and that's worthwhile." said Karl.

The flight and the jump took about a half hour.

"I can't even explain how wonderful it is to fly around up there!" said Karl.

Karl did a tandem jump with a professional instructor giving tips on the way down.

"And stand off!" exclaimed the instructor when hitting ground.

Back on solid ground, Aho reported only minor problems.

"My hearing aids almost flew out!" said Karl.

As adventurous as Karl Aho has been all his life, he's not the first in his family to sky dive.
His wife, Alene, did it a few years ago to celebrate beating cancer.
In Superior, Dave Anderson, the Northland's News Center.

83 year old Karl isn't the oldest person to skydive with the crew of Skydive Superior.
They took a 90 year old up for a jump about two weeks ago.