KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine - Former President George H.W. Bush marked his 85th birthday yesterday the same way he did his 75th and 80th birthdays: He leaped from a plane and zoomed downward at more than 100 m.p.h. before parachuting safely to a spot near his oceanfront home.

Bush made the tandem jump from 10,500 feet with Sgt. First Class Mike Elliott of the Army's Golden Knights, who guided them to a gentle landing on the lawn of St. Ann's Church.

"Well, we made it. It was a great day in the air," Bush said after he was removed from his harness. He said he enjoyed it so much that he planned to do it again when he turns 90.

His first parachute jump was during World War II, when his plane was shot down over the Pacific in 1944. He bailed out at 1,500 feet. In 1997, at age 72, Bush fulfilled a wartime promise he made to himself that someday he'd jump from a plane for fun by hopping out over Yuma, Ariz.