Schweiss Counter Skydive Midwest Operations | Schweiss Must See Photos
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Skydive Midwest operations begin and end at the hangar

Schweiss Doors

Three 4 ft. x 3 ft. windows built into the Schweiss hydraulic one piece door give natural light inside the new steel building and training facility. The door is also equipped with a lock-set walk door and two remote openers.

Midwest Skydive Drawing

Skydive Midwest is an ultra-modern skydiving facility that is the biggest and busiest of its kind in all of Wisconsin and ranks as one of the busiest in the United States with 40,000 to 50,000 people coming through there annually.

The fun part of Skydive Midwest's operation mostly takes place the minute you go airborne to the time you step out of the jump plane and then safely land on terra firma.

That's mainly what the jumpers look forward to, however there are many behind the scenes tasks that begin and end at the all-important hangar. The hangar, a place to pack parachutes, check weather and park planes; most airports can't get along without one, and wouldn't want to.

Skydive Midwest is Chicago's premier skydiving center and the closest drop zone to Milwaukee and Chicago. Located just 10 miles off the shoreline of Lake Michigan, Skydive Midwest's scenic view is the only skydiving center that overlooks the skyline of Chicago, giving the best view of the Chicago area, hands down.

They've gone "5-Star" with their new, modern facility and hangar. The hangar, designed in part by owner Keith George, is a 9,660 sq. ft. new steel building, has a 1,075 sq. ft. office area and 3,300 sq. ft. of retail space.

It can house their restored Super Otter jump ship, fitted with a completely new interior and many updated safety features. With its added room it can take 23 jumpers to 14,500 feet in about 18 minutes.

65ft by 20ft Schweiss Hydraulic Door

The hangar at Skydive Midwest in Chicago is the center of activity. It serves as a place to hangar their two planes and give instructions to skydivers. It is fitted with a 65 ft. x 20 ft. Schweiss hydraulic door, which when open, provides a shaded canopy for skydivers in training.

The hangar portion of the building was designed to hold the Twin Otter and a 182 Cessna which are usually only hangared during inclement weather or for servicing because they are airborne most of the time.

"We were operating out of two buildings so I knew what I didn't want and what I did want," said Keith George, owner of Skydive Midwest.

Talk about a busy place, George noted that their business sees about 6,000 to 9,000 tandem students each year between the months of April and November. Add to that 6,000 to 10,000 experienced divers a year plus visitors who come to see their friends skydive, it totals up to 40,000 to 50,000 coming to the facility each year.

"We are one of the busiest skydiving businesses in the United States, one of the three biggest in Chicago and Wisconsin and the biggest in Wisconsin," said George.

He sees it as a growing sport that has continued to expand over the past 10 years. Skydivers have to be a minimum of 18 years old.

"We host a "Tandem for Troops" event each year and took up a World War II veteran in his mid-90s. He enjoyed it. During this event we don't charge anything for disabled vets and give discounts for active duty veterans," said George.

They also host a "Canopies for Kids" project with the mission of providing children in hospitals with support and courage they need by enabling skydivers the opportunity to take special stuffed teddy bears along with them on their dive. Each bear comes with a card containing a heartfelt and personalize message from the skydiver, and on top of that $5 of every jump is donated to the hospital.

Schweiss Hydraulic Door for Skydive Midwest holds a Twin Otter and a 182 Cessna

A lot of thought went into the "5-Star" design of the new Skydive Midwest 9,660 sq. ft. building and hangar. The hangar portion was built to hold a Twin Otter and 182 Cessna which take skydivers to the air. The skydiving center overlooks the skyline of Chicago.

"We use this experience to position the bears as "The Bravest Bears in the World," which we then give to sick children in hospitals. The hope is that these special bears will help provide kids with the courage they need in their fight ahead."

The hangar is equipped with a 65 ft. x 20 ft. Schweiss one piece hydraulic door. It has three windows, a walk door with lockset and two remotes. The door was installed by Schweiss Doors and faces south toward the east/west runway.

"There were only a couple of manufacturers that could make a door big enough for us. The Schweiss Door sold us on the 20 ft. span height that we needed for our Otter's tail height. Mike Doble was the primary person on selecting the door for us. We definitely like it. It's rock solid and operates like it's supposed to. This is the second year we've had it and haven't done a thing to it. It's doing exactly what we need it to do," said George.

Michael P. Doble, Director of Land Development Services of DAAR Engineering of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who oversaw groundbreaking in August of 2011 was instrumental in getting the new hangar complex built.

"There was actually quite a bit of planning that went into it. A member at Skydive Midwest was involved in preparing the initial concept. Over a couple of years it was turned over to me and in the course of about six months we put it into a workable plan," noted Doble.

The hangar/training facility has multiple levels and rooms separated by 8 ft. partition walls. From almost any point on the second floor of the hangar you have a near unrestricted view of the entire facility. Oversized service doors promote a cross-flow of fresh air through the multi-level building on hot summer days. The hangar floor serves as the primary training area. There's also a 875 sq. ft rigger loft room equipped with industrial sewing machines for servicing parachutes. A control tower yields an unobstructed view of the airport operations and jump landing area.

Midwest Skydive's Schweiss Door Installation

Doble, a pilot himself, said he sees many Schweiss doors on hangars and is also familiar with the bifold liftstrap door. In this case, however, they decided on a Schweiss hydraulic one piece door for two reasons.

"We wanted the clear height and secondly we wanted to be able to use the door as an awning which could provide shade inside the main hangar where the skydivers pack their parachutes. Plus, it looks really cool to see a big 65 ft. door open up. We played Star Wars music when we first opened it," said Doble.

DAAR's founders combined their many years of engineering experience to form DAAR in 2001 to address what they perceived to be a lack of personal service offered by other firms in the industry. Their experienced staff, combined with award-winning design and public relations work, has made DAAR one of the fastest growing civil engineering firms in the United States and they have accomplished many projects worldwide. In 2010 and 2011, DAAR was named by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as one of the top 100 work places of Small Businesses. They were also recognized for outstanding highway construction and a finalist for the 2009 Minority Business Development award to name a few. DAAR boasts a strong, multi-lingual, professionally licensed engineering staff.

Lars Jensen of "Hangar Sphere," the official social network magazine dedicated to everything about aircraft hangars, was at Skydive Midwest as they were placing the finishing touches on the hangar complex. The publication was started in 2012 and since then has reached global readership to six continents and 157 countries.

"It's a complex dedicated to a unique purpose, the whole layout doubles as a training area. It's quite impressive," said Jensen.

"We wanted the clear height and secondly we wanted to be able to use the door as an awning which could provide shade inside the main hangar where the skydivers pack their parachutes. Plus, it looks really cool to see a big 65 ft. door open up. We played Star Wars music when we first opened it."

Michael Doble
DAAR Engineering, Inc.

Skydive Midwest

Skydive Midwest is located off 1-94 and is open seven days a week between April and November. They are making improvements to their new hangar to make it a home-away-from-home for tandem students, sport jumpers and AFF students. Visitors can kill some time with a game on their beach volleyball court, then take a load off and cook up a feast on the community grill or relax on the spacious observation deck. Sport jumpers have access to roomy lockers and after the jump can relax with a drink and watch their own jump video's from the day. Various packages are available ranging from just over $200 and up. They include: Tandem Skydive, Tandem Skydive plus Premium Video & Picture Package; Intro to Skydiving; AFF Solo Skydive plus ground school and an Accelerated Free Fall Package. Students must be 18 years or older to skydive at their facility and must weigh 250 lbs. or less for the tandem skydive and 225 lbs. or less for an accelerated free fall skydive. They have an extensive staff of licensed and profession employees to make your visit memorable. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to sunset and weekends from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Reservations to book a skydive or gift certificates can be made online or by phone at www.skydive.com or by calling 262-886-3480.

DAAR Engineering, Inc.

DAAR Engineering, headquartered out of Milwaukee is a leading multi-disciplinary civil engineering firm that has the capacity and expertise to deliver high quality services worldwide in many sectors such as transportation, construction management, program management and land development. They have been solicited to offer proposals and partner on projects that span from South America to Asia and Africa. DAAR provided program and construction management support to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division for the reconstruction of Iraq. This involved 17 programs that accounted for over $14 billion in U.S. funding of over 5,700 construction projects which spanned over 13 Ministries and other Iraqi government organizations. That is not to say that they don't also work on smaller projects such as was needed for Skydive Midwest. Much of their work can be viewed at their website at: www.daarcorp.com. They are located at 325 E. Chicago St., Suite 500, Milwaukee, WI 53202 or by phone at 414-935-4435.

Hangar Sphere magazine

Hangar Sphere magazine premiered in 2012 and is the official story and photo resource for your hangar. HangarSphere.com is the social network for HangarSphere's iPad magazine. Together, they are the first and only media hub dedicated to your aircraft's most important asset, your hangar. You can use their forums to learn new tips, ask for advice from your peers and the professionals regarding all topics related to your hangar as well as creating groups for political and social purposes. It shares member blogs to learn from their hangar construction experiences. To experience these articles with their full array of high-resolution imagery and to enjoy their shorter columns and survey results, you can download HangarSphere's free tablet app. Find out about educational and networking events put on by HangarSphere and its partners and share videos and photos in their media library. For more information contact founder Lars Jensen at Lars@hangarsphere.com or call 608-347-3550.

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Jumping over the best
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It is rare that an Air Tractor dealership changes hands. It cant be done without an approval from Air Tractor, Inc. This requirement became all too apparent to Bill Taylor of Farm Air in Fairfield Illinois. Bill was starting to think about retiring from the business he formed in 1976. Shortly after forming Farm Air, Bill saw a need for Air Tractors in the Midwest, and approached Air Tractor about becoming a dealer. Over thirty successful years later, Bill decided it was time to sell Farm Air with its Air Tractor dealership intact.
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Photo of the Day Story

This custom set of Schweiss Bifold Doors was the perfect solution to provide a unique dining experience for this restaurant's patio bar customers.
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