VENICE, FL (WWSB) - Skydive Venice's fall from grace earlier this year sparked a debate over the rules and regulations at the Venice Airport.
"Two weeks (in) was their first off-airport landing. They had three off-airport landings," said Airport Director Mark Cervasio. "We tried our best to make it work. We knew we needed to make it work."
Cervasio had to make it work because the airport receives federal funding. The FAA recognizes skydiving as a legitimate business and thus must be allowed.
"I spent three years in the 82nd Airborne Division so I know a little about parachuting," said Paul Hollowell.
Hollowell is the President of the Venice Aviation Society. He's not unfamiliar with the airport.
"My first flight in here was about 27 years ago. I've had a hanger on the airport for about 17 years," said Hollowell.
Holloway and the Society haven't taken a side on the issue. But, they have been clear, they want safety to be a top priority.
"The previous operator had brought in a motor home that didn't operate, gutted it, and that's what they were doing their pre-flight briefings in," said Cervasio.
Cervasio doesn't want a repeat of Skydive Venice. So, he's writing new rules that would hold a new business to the same standards local flight schools adhere to.
"Whatever we would of any business coming out here; financial information, a business plan, how they're going to conduct their business," said Cervasio.
There will also be stricter rules about landing zones. Specifically, the proximity to landing near oncoming or outgoing aircrafts.
"If the skydiver adheres to those rules and they use common sense and good judgement then hopefully it wouldn't be a problem for both the airplanes and the skydivers," said Hollowell.