Grandfather Awarded Skydiving Highest Honor

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Age can sometimes slow us down and make us take things more cautiously. However, this is not always the case.

For Canberra grandfather Graeme Windsor, age has only led to more adventures and a faster paced lifestyle. His unquenchable thirst for adventure has only grown through the years. Now, at 68-years-old, the Yarralumla resident continues to be recognized for his amazing aerial feats. He’s been skydiving for almost five decades now and was recently awarded the sport’s highest honor. Just in the last month, Windsor was recognized by the International Skydiving Hall of Fame. Soon, he will be inducted into its hallowed halls.

He has also taken the top honors at the Australian Parachute Federation award ceremony, which was held in Adelaide.

Said Windsor of the event, “My skydiving mates did really well keeping that secret from me and luring me to the awards night on the pretext that I was supporting a close friend.” It seems that Windsor may be an adventurous type, but he is also a humble one. He went on to say, “I had absolutely no idea, and I was incredibly humbled to receive the most prestigious award in our sport!” Graeme Windsor’s history with the sport is notable. He serves as the Air Sport Australia Confederation’s Treasurer and was the former President of the International Parachute Commission.

His coming induction into the Skydiving Hall of Fame is just one more step on his journey.

He has also received the FAI Companion of Honour and President of Honour—CASI awards. These awards were granted to him in recognition of all the amazing work and commitment that Windsor demonstrated in promoting the sport of parachuting, not only within his home country of Australia, but around the globe as well. He will actually be only the second Australian to enter the Hall of Fame, which will occur in a ceremony held in the United States during the month of September.

His recognition by the Australian Parachute Federation, though, was the most recent and memorable of the awards that Windsor has received. He is only the sixth recipient in the 55-year history of the award. Kelly Brennan, Chair of the APF Awards Committee, said that Windsor’s reaction was one to remember. “As he stepped up on stage to accept the award, he glanced out to the room and realized that he had a standing ovation.”

She continued to say, “It as a fantastic moment to see him getting such recognition from his peers.”

The long history of Windsor’s parachuting, which was recognized by the APF and will soon be codified in the Skydiving Hall of Fame, began decades ago. Windsor was only 19-years-old when he made his first jump in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Apparently, it wasn’t his first choice of sport. “It was too hot for rugby and hockey,” he said. “The sports I played in Canberra.” With his two favorite sports off the table, Windsor decided to try skydiving and never looked back. “When you learn something very young and you can keep doing it, why not?”

Following his first jump, Windsor went on to join the Canberra Skydivers Club before becoming an instructor himself.

However, he wanted easier ways of contracting with aircraft that could take him up for a skydive. So, alongside a group of enthusiasts he brought together, Windsor and his friends purchased their own Cessna 182. By 1973, he was a jump pilot. He then went on to create the Canberra Sport Parachute Center, which operated in New South Wales for years. Today, Windsor has stepped down from some of his skydiving responsibilities, but he still completes about 100 jumps every year and remains among the nation’s oldest competitive skydivers.

Windsor has no plans to change that and intends to represent Australia at the World Parachute Championships in Bulgaria. It will be his 50th year participating in the sport of skydiving, and the event will serve as a fitting commemoration to his years of jumping. Even with a recent injury related to a motorcycle accident, Windsor has no plans to miss the competition. He’ll continue to train and prepare himself to take part in the one sport that has remained with him through the years.

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