The city and the Harts have been in an ongoing dispute over hangar issues, and the Harts say the city has failed to live up to the contract with them. Acting City Manager Susan Cohen said the city is still negotiating with Start Skydiving concerning the outstanding hangar issues. She said there is “plenty of space for everyone at the airport.”
That town hall meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, March 16 at Berachah Church, 1900 Johns Road in Middletown.
John Hart III, Hart II’s son and also a co-owner of the business, recently released a narrated, 54-slide presentation that refutes the city’s presentation during the Middletown City Council retreat last month about moving the skydiving landing zones away from the runway’s 6,100-foot runway.
He said there were a number of pertinent questions asked at the retreat and noticed that attendees “were not getting truthful answers or that the answers were roundabout and didn’t answer the questions at all.”
Hart outlined the various questions and cited FAA information that provides suggestions and recommendations to improve sport parachuting. He said there are no federal aviation regulations regarding parachute landing areas. Hart also said that Start Skydiving follows USPA rules through its current landing areas for various experience levels.
MORE: Changes coming to Middletown airport as city takes over operations
He also said only the FAA has the authority to approve or deny restrictions based on safety or efficiency at federally obligated airports.
“In all cases the FAA is the final arbiter regarding aviation safety,” Hart said in the narration.
Start Aviation was the airport’s operator until Jan. 1, when the city took over, and is working outside of a trailer at the airport. Hart said the trailer should be moved because it’s an obstacle on the tarmac. He also claimed the self-serve fueling tank is in a poor location and is inconvenient for local pilots to use.
“Start Skydiving’s current location is the safest and most efficient for all airport users as proven over the past 12 years,” Hart said. “Why try to change something that works so well, especially at the expense of safety and the success of local businesses?”