- Chelsey Levingston Staff Writer
Before Army parachutist Corey Hood tragically died last year in a skydiving accident, he dreamed of one day retiring from the military to his native Greater Cincinnati and seeing the opening of an indoor sky diving facility, his brother-in-law Steve Hunt said.
“For anyone who loves this sport, indoor or outdoor skydiving, to see it being built in his hometown is a dream come true,” Hunt said. “That was a passion we both shared together.”
“To us it was a no-brainer. There’s a need here for that,” Hunt said.
The Texas-based company that was in talks with Hood and Hunt before Hood’s deadly mid-air collision at a Chicago airshow is eyeing plans to move forward on building a site in Greater Cincinnati.
iFLY Indoor Skydiving is considering sites in Butler, Warren or Hamilton counties to build and open a facility, said Hunt, who is also representing the company as founder of iFLY Cincinnati.
As much as Hood, a Golden Knights parachuter, loved jumping out of planes mid-air, indoor sky diving provides training, competitive leagues and helps simulate the free-fall experience in a way all ages and abilities can enjoy, said Hunt, also an avid skydiver.
“It wasn’t just like that would be cool to see this happen. I mean it actually was a dream. One of the last conversations we had, he told me… it’s going to happen,” said Hunt.
In fact, Hunt can join his paraplegic son in the wind tunnels. That’s one of the reasons he enjoys indoor skydiving, because it’s a sport his whole family can do together.
“It’s really important for me because yes, we like it, but it’s really neat to see something he really loved actually come to fruition, and I think iFLY shares that emotion,” he said.
Master Sgt. Hood’s wishes will still be carried out.
Hunt said that iFLY plans to open a permanent memorial at the venue, once it opens, to remember Hood, a Lakota graduate.
“It’s a perfect way to honor his life,” he said.
Three locations are being evaluated before plans can move forward, but once the final location is identified, construction on the building could start this year as part of iFLY’s aggressive expansion plans worldwide, he said. The company currently operates 37 locations around the world in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia, according to its website.