Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

New Hurst iFLY location offers indoor skydiving

An indoor skydiving center, iFLY, is scheduled to open Thursday in Hurst.
An indoor skydiving center, iFLY, is scheduled to open Thursday in Hurst. Courtesy of iFly

North Texans who want to feel what it’s like to fly like a bird — with no airplane or parachute — can now head to Northeast Tarrant County.

A company offering indoor skydiving, iFLY, has opened its newest location, 663 NE Loop 820 in Hurst.

“Our mission is to deliver the dream of flight to everybody, whether you’re age 3 or 103,” iFLY President Matt Ryan said in a statement.

Visitors to iFLY are first provided with a training class and equipment such as goggles, a helmet and a flight suit. They then enter the flight chamber, where they are lifted by a “cushion of air” from below.

The company, which bills itself as the world’s largest indoor skydiving business, now has 24 locations. The Hurst facility is near the Putt-Putt Fun Center and just southwest of North East Mall. There’s also one in Frisco.

The new location will be named iFLY Fort Worth.

Gordon Dickson

Applying brakes on dealership lawsuit

Tarrant County Tax Assessor/Collector Ron Wright’s lawsuit against Park Place Maserati came to a screeching halt in August.

Wright had sued the dealership for not filing mandatory state motor vehicle inventory statements for several months in 2014. The business shut down and merged with its store in Dallas. Wright stressed that the lawsuit was over a reporting violation and that the dealership did not owe money on its inventory.

But the penalties for not filing the reports — $500 a month per report — were “onerous,” Wright said. The tax collector uses the inventory tax statement to assess and calculate taxes, prepare tax bills and collect the proper amount of taxes owed by dealers on the sale of motor vehicles.

Within a week of the lawsuit being filed, Park Place settled the dispute by paying $86,000, and the lawsuit was dropped, Wright said.

While saying he doesn’t like the vehicle inventory reporting laws and calling the penalties for not filing properly “egregious,” Wright said it’s still the law.

“I’d like to see them lowered, but they are the law and I have to comply with the law,” Wright said.

The Maserati dealership opened in June 2014 at 5760 Bryant Irvin Road. It was down the street from Park Place’s Mercedes Benz dealership and its auto body shop. The Mercedes Benz dealership’s pre-owned operations and the auto body moved into the former Maserati dealership’s space.

Norway’s F-35 boost

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics got good news last week when the Norwegian government reaffirmed its commitment to continue buying the stealthy F-35 joint strike fighter.

Norway’s defense department — which has always said it planned to buy 52 planes — told its parliament in a 2017 budget proposal that it plans to purchase 12 planes in the 2019 and 2020 “block buys,” making it the first international partner to make such a multiyear purchase, an official said.

“They continue to stay strong in the program and it shows the confidence they have in the F-35,” said Ken Ross, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, where the airplane is built. The F-35 moves at supersonic speeds and has stealth capabilities.

By committing to buying the F-35 in a future block, the economy of scale will help drive down the cost to the desired $80 million to $85 million per plane, from $112 million per copy in 2013. F-35 customers plan on procuring about 450 aircraft from 2018 to 2020.

“Norway and other international partners on the F-35 program have been involved in the concept of a block buy since its inception,” said Joe DellaVedova, a Pentagon spokesman for the F-35 program. “Due to vast economies of scale, all countries will achieve significant reductions on the price of their jets.”

The Norway announcement is welcome news for the F-35 program, which has hit turbulence lately, with an engine fire forcing a pilot to abandon a plane as it was preparing for takeoff. Pentagon officials have also expressed concerns about the F-35’s software.

Norway saw its first copy of the advanced fighter jet roll out in September 2015. Norway is one of eight partner nations in the giant program. The other nations helping develop the F-35 include Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. Japan and South Korea, along with Israel, are foreign military customers.

Last month, Japan saw the first of the 42 planes it has ordered to beef up its defenses. In June, Lockheed Martin rolled out its first F-35 for Israel, which will be the first nation to have a fully operational F-35 outside the United States. Israel is scheduled to buy 33 Lightning IIs and has an option to buy 17 more.

90 acres sold

Las Vegas-based Diversified Real Estate Group has sold a 90-acre commercial tract at the southwest corner of Interstate 35W and Heritage Trace Parkway in the Presidio development.

Diversified Real Estate Group had owned the land since 2006. Lowe’s is in this tract, called Presidio North. It was part of a 400-acre tract that Diversified controlled with Legacy Capital Co. in Dallas.

The 90-acre tract was bought by a partnership controlled by Dallas-based De La Vega Group. It has renamed the planned shopping area The Citadel. It will have 500,000 square feet of shops, restaurants, a hotel and other entertainment space.

Steve Williamson with Transwestern negotiated the deal.

The land is near Presidio Town Center, anchored by Costco, Target and Winco Foods. Sandra Baker

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko