CARROLL GARDENS — During her first skydive, Carolyn Meiselbach was afraid she would lose her dentures.
But as the great-grandmother plunged from a tiny airplane more than 13,000 feet in the air last spring, she remembered to keep her mouth closed — and to keep on smiling, she said.
Meiselbach, 79, will return to the skies for her 80th birthday on Oct. 26 for a skydiving party with a group of 12 jumpers, including her son and three grandsons.
Meiselbach promised that if she survived, she would make a second leap for her 80th birthday.
“Nobody says, 'You can’t do it' this time,” she said.
But her first experience wasn’t exactly smooth sailing.
Moments before she was set to jump, standing at the airplane’s open door and waiting to parachute to earth, Meiselbach broke a cardinal rule for first-time skydivers.
“I made the mistake of looking down,” she said, adding that she immediately froze. “I couldn’t move.”
But with help from her instructor, she managed to step forward and into the sky.
The 24-year resident of Carroll Gardens, who grew up on Staten Island, has suffered from physical ailments including six strokes, arthritis, diabetes and two forms of cancer.
But during the April skydive, her only discomfort came as the parachute’s harness tightened against her pacemaker while she landed, she said.
Meiselbach had dreamed of skydiving for almost 50 years, even taking a 20-week course on parachute rigging, which involves packing, maintaining and repairing parachutes, while serving in the U.S. Navy’s telecommunications department.
“I wanted to float down and see all there was to see on earth,” she said.
But after leaping into 80, Meiselbach has no plans to slow down. She’s thinking about getting a motor scooter and taking up smoking again. She's also considering leaving Brooklyn and moving to North Carolina, where one of her sons lives.
But for now, Meiselbach is looking forward to her birthday celebration.
The skydivers she's dubbed the "EthicalEagles" will scream “Let freedom ring” as they jump, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., whose philosophies Meiselbach has followed for years, she said.
After the jump, Meiselbach and the group will head to Park Slope, where the festivities will continue with a potluck feast with food and drinks donated by neighborhood businesses.
“The best part is when it’s over,” she said.