Bush senior marks 90th birthday with a skydive

Former president George H.W. Bush turns 90 on Thursday and is marking the big day with nothing less than a skydive.

The 41st commander-in-chief plans to parachute out of a helicopter near his family home in Kennebunkport, Maine at about 10:45 a.m. (1445 GMT.)

"It's a wonderful day in Maine -- in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump," tweeted the elder Bush, who these days is mostly pictured in a wheelchair.

The tandem jump will be Bush's eighth, with the first on September 2, 1944 -- when he was shot down over the Pacific island Chi Chi Jima as a pilot in World War II.

He recalled that experience in an NBC interview with his granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager aired Thursday, acknowledging it actually made him want to jump again -- and do it right.

"I pulled the rip cord too early, hit the tail of the plane with my head, just a glancing blow," he said.

"And that, I decided that later on, well I want to do it right. And so that did spark my interest in making another jump. This time getting it correct."

The Republican, who was in the White House from 1989 to 1993, also jumped to mark his 80th and 85th birthdays.

Washington wished Bush well, with Obama leading the way and telling NBC the 90-year-old was a "fine man."

"And I just want him to know that from the whole Obama family, we wish him all the best," the current president said.

The Senate, meanwhile, passed a resolution in honor of Bush late Wednesday extending the best wishes to him and his wife Barbara.