Construction could begin soon on an indoor vertical wind tunnel at Middletown Regional Airport that may become a destination location for thrill seekers.
Middletown Planning Commission on Wednesday approved development plans for Start Skydiving to build a 130-foot tall, vertical, recirculating indoor wind tunnel in the 1700 block of Run Way.
Once completed, it will be the tallest such facility in North America and would compliment the skydiving business current operations. The new wind tunnel would allow people to have a skydiving experience in a more controlled environment as well as attract more of the skydiving market and thrill seekers to this destination location.
The proposed building would recreate the physics of free-fall by producing a 16-foot column of air so that skydivers can practice for several hours instead of several minutes experienced from a free-fall from a plane.
John Hart of Start Skydiving, who submitted the development plan, said he was “very excited” about the project. However, he said the city’s approval of the development plan and height variance was only the first obstacle cleared of many steps that need to be taken. He said the project was in the preliminary stages and that soil samples will be taken to make sure the project is “doable.”
“We’re at least a month away from any formal announcement,” he said. “This is very exciting for the city and the community.”
Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins said the city is looking forward to working with Start Skydiving to make the facility a reality in Middletown.
“The indoor skydiving facility hits on several key city priority areas at the same time,” Adkins said. “It brings new jobs to the city. It gives people from the region another reason to come to the downtown area for entertainment and tourism. It assists in further development of the airport property.”