Despite encountering some hurdles, if Ron Storment has his way, local daredevils will have a chance to put life and limb on the line next spring when the skydiving instructor hopes to bring his high-flying business to Hermiston.
The Tacoma, Wash., resident wants to establish a skydiving operation at the Hermiston airport and is hoping to have his plan off the ground sometime next spring. Storment has his work cut out for him, though, as he navigates the many obstacles in the way of such an endeavor.
There are a lot of legal issues and insurance requirements to meet, Storment said. Its about getting the city, the airport and the insurance (company) all on the same page.
Storment has been working to bring the sport of skydiving to the area for several months. He said some requirements he has to meet have stalled the project, but he remains hopeful he would be able to get his business flying after some hard work.
Im definitely in a holding pattern, Storment said. Im looking at the spring to do something.
A skydiving veteran with nearly 8,000 jumps to his name, Storment has been jumping out of perfectly good airplanes since 1996 and has been an instructor for more than a decade. He said he got the idea for a skydiving service in the area when he saw the Hermiston airport and its features, which, in his opinion, are somewhat unique to the region.
That airport has a lot of potential, a lot of room for growth, Storment said. Ive been to a lot of airports over the years, and that one is a really nice place. There arent a lot of airports in the area that have the amenities like a hotel and restaurant that the Hermiston airport has. Hermiston is growing and Im pretty impressed with the area.
Storment said response from the city, the airport and the community has been favorable to the idea, for the most part.
He said feedback from city officials and from sources at the airport have been especially positive. Assistant to the City Manager Mark Morgan said Storment has some work to do before the project can move forward, however.
The biggest issue is the liability insurance, Morgan said. According to the commercial aeronautical activities policy for the city, all airport operators are required to carry $1 million in insurance. Skydiving operations are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to carry $2 million in liability insurance.
Storment said he is in the process of meeting the insurance requirements.
The idea of a skydiving service in Hermiston is not new, but there has not been one at the airport for years Storment said.
He said the business plan is intended to take advantage of one of the rare areas within the aviation industry that is flourishing.
The sport of skydiving is growing, Storment said.
Its the only aviation industry that is on the rise, Storment said. Aviation is declining on the whole. The small plane-enthusiast scene is dwindling. The sport of skydiving is blowing up.
According to the FAA website, skydiving is growing in popularity at a remarkable pace.
Figures on the website stated Americans alone jump more than 3 million times a year.