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Larger plans approved for indoor skydiving in Middletown

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 7:00 AM

Middletown-based non-profit Combat Outpost Robinson partnered with Start Skydiving to offer Ohio military veterans free tandem skydives above Middletown Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017.

A proposed wind tunnel at a Middletown business to be used for indoor skydiving has already gone on a growth spurt, even though construction hasn’t yet started.

Start Skydiving received approval this week to increase the height of its proposed vertical wind tunnel another 50 feet, from 130 feet to 180 feet. The approval amended a previous development plan approved last fall.

Once completed, the project will be the tallest indoor vertical wind tunnel in North America, according to John Hart of Start Skydiving.

MORE: Candy shop that sells pickle juice soda opens Middletown location

The project will allow people to have a skydiving experience in a more controlled environment as well as complement the outdoor skydiving business at the airport, he said. 

In addition to the recreational component to be built at the Middletown Regional Airport, Hart said the facility could also be used for aerospace research by businesses and the military.

City economic development officials said the proposed facility would create about 30 jobs. In addition to the research component, the project could be eligible for funding through an new $50 million JobsOhio research and development program.

MORE: Indoor skydiving business plans Liberty Twp. location

The wind tunnel features a single loop design and has a 17-foot diameter and recreates the physics of free-fall by producing a more 20-foot-wide column of air at the top so skydivers can practice for several hours instead of several minutes experienced from a free-fall from a plane. The proposed wind tunnel would have a 90-foot freefall, he said.

“There would be nothing like this in North America,” Hart said.

Hart told the Middletown Planning Commission this week that he is already working to procure military and commercial contracts to use the proposed facility. In addition, he said about $8.5 million in parts to build the wind tunnel are already in crates waiting to be shipped from Dubai to Middletown.

“We can have a $20 million wind tunnel and build it for $10 million,” Hart said. “We could have a groundbreaking in the spring and it could be done in a year.”

He said the planning commission’s approval helps the project get one step closer to completion.

FIRST REPORT: Indoor skydiving coming to Middletown

Hart said he did not foresee any issues with the Federal Aviation Administration about the location of the wind tunnel building and believes it would be approved.

When asked how the recently announced indoor skydiving facility planned for Liberty Twp. would impact the proposed Middletown facility. Hart, who is a shareholder of iFLY, the company developing the Liberty Twp. site, said that there would be no impact because they are operating “a totally different business plan.”

He said the proposed Middletown facility will be for multiple purposes, unlike the Liberty Twp. facility.

“Middletown needs to drive economic development at the airport,” said city planning commission member John Langhorne. “It’s such a great asset. I hope we can jump start that.”

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6-year-old boy falls into creek; recovery effort to continue Monday

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 6:21 PM
Updated: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 9:02 PM

Water rescue underway involving boy

UPDATE @9:04 p.m.

Deputies said search efforts for a 6-year-old boy who fell into Mosquito Creek have been to no avail and is now considered a recovery.

Rescue crews will reconvene on scene in the morning to continue looking for the boy, who has not been identified.

Shelby County Sheriff Sgt. Aaron Steinke said the search entailed boats in the water and a helicopter using infrared to search for body heat. He said due to the rough terrain and the strong current, search crews are being called off for the night.

>> Weekend rain sets record; how much did you get?

Deputies will remain on scene through the night, and the road will remain closed. Other crews will return in the morning to continue the recovery effort.

The area was not under a flood warning from recent rains, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. 

UPDATE @ 7:55 p.m.

A 6-year-old boy fell into the Great Miami River this evening while he was playing with a friend along the riverbank, Shelby County Sheriff’s Sgt. Aaron Steinke said.

Crews were called around 5:45 p.m. to the river behind the Pasco trailer park in the 5000 block of state Route 29. Rescuers have boats in the water, and have every bridge covered south from Sidney to the Miami County line, the sergeant said.

>> Man freed from Greenville creek with garden hose

Joining search efforts will be a helicopter from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which has night-vision equipment to help search from above.

The recent rains and swollen river poses a challenge to rescue personnel, Steinke said.

UPDATE @ 6:35 p.m.

Additional rescue crews from area departments have been called to join the search along the banks for a young boy who may have been swept up in the swollen Great Miami River.

According to scanner traffic, the 6-year-old boy was last seen wearing a red shirt and dark pants.


Rescuers were called this evening to a mobile home park for a possible water rescue in the Great Miami River involving a child in the village of Pasco east of Sidney.

According to initial reports, a 6-year-old boy was wading but had not been seen in awhile. It is not confirmed that the boy has come to any harm.

The trailer park was in the 5800 block of Ohio 29, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Car crashes into pole on Salem Avenue; injuries reported

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 9:54 PM

At least one person was injured when a car crashed into a pole in Dayton Sunday evening.

The crash happened at Salem Avenue and Park Hill. As of 9:35 p.m., one person was still trapped in the car, officials said.

>> 6-year-old boy falls into creek; recovery effort to continue Monday

A second person may be in the vehicle.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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Delta latest company ending discounts, benefits for NRA members

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 9:25 PM
Updated: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 9:25 PM

Delta Air Lines will be ending discounts for NRA members.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Delta Air Lines will be ending discounts for NRA members.(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines announced Saturday it is ending a discount for National Rifle Association members.

>> Read more trending news

The move comes as some other businesses broke ties with the NRA amid debate over gun control in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida earlier this month.

“Delta’s decision reflects the airline’s neutral status in the current national debate over gun control amid recent school shootings,” airline officials said Sunday in a statement. “Out of respect for our customers and employees on both sides, Delta has taken this action to refrain from entering this debate and focus on its business. Delta continues to support the 2nd Amendment.”

>> 3 car rental companies cancel discounts for NRA members 

The move comes as some other businesses break ties with the NRA amid debate over gun control in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida earlier this month.

Following is a list of some of the companies that have cut ties or distanced themselves from the NRA:

  • United Airlines -- United tweeted Saturday, "United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting and we are asking that the NRA remove our information from their website." 

  • Delta Air Lines -- Delta issued the following statement Saturday: "Delta is reaching out to the National Rifle Association to let it know we will be ending its contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from its website." 

  • First National Bank of Omaha -- The bank announced that it would not renew a co-branded Visa credit-card with the NRA.

  • The Hertz Corp. -- The rental car company ended its discount program for NRA members.

  • MetLife Inc. -- The insurer terminated discounts that had been offered to NRA members on the NRA website

  • Enterprise Holdings Inc. -- The car rental company that also owns Alamo and National cut off discounts for NRA members.

  • Symantec Corp. -- The software company that makes Norton Antivirus technology ended its discount program with the NRA.

  • Chubb Ltd. -- The insurer announced it was ending participation in the NRA's gun-owner insurance program, though it provided notice three months ago.

  • Best Western -- The hotel chain told multiple social media users that it was no longer affiliated with the NRA, though it did not say when that decision was made.

  • Wyndham Hotels -- The hotel chain told social media users it is no longer affiliated with the NRA without specifying when that decision was made.

  • Starkey Hearing Technologies -- We have made the decision not to renew our discount program with the NRA. We will be asking them to remove our information from their website.

    The NRA has released the following statement: 

    "The more than five million law-abiding members of the National Rifle Association have enjoyed discounts and cost-saving programs from many American corporations that have partnered with the NRA to expand member benefits.

    "Since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, a number of companies have decided to sever their relationship with the NRA, in an effort to punish our members who are doctors, farmers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, nurses, shop owners and school teachers that live in every American community. We are men and women who represent every American ethnic group, every one of the world’s religions and every form of political commitment.

    "The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement.

    "Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.

    "Let it be absolutely clear. The loss of a discount will neither scare nor distract one single NRA member from our mission to stand and defend the individual freedoms that have always made America the greatest nation in the world."

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    British police: 6 injured after reported explosion in Leicester

    Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 8:57 PM
    Updated: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 8:57 PM

    In this image taken from video made available by Gem News, police attend the scene of an incident in Leicester, central England, Sunday Feb. 25, 2018. Police for the English city of Leicester say they are responding to a
    In this image taken from video made available by Gem News, police attend the scene of an incident in Leicester, central England, Sunday Feb. 25, 2018. Police for the English city of Leicester say they are responding to a "major incident" after receiving reports of an explosion and that emergency services were dealing with the incident on Hinckley Road and asked the public to stay away from the area. (Gem News via AP)(AP)

    At least six people were injured Sunday following reports of an explosion and fire in Leicester, police said.

    >> Read more trending news

    Authorities declined to speculate on the cause of the explosion, although police said Sunday that it did not appear to be related to terrorism.

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