Skydive Long Island Closes: Giant Drones to Be Built on Site

Skydive Long Island has sold the former Grumman airfield to Luminati Aerospace, LLC
Skydive Long Island has sold the former Grumman airfield to Luminati Aerospace, LLC, Photo: filo/iStock/Thinkstock, Google Maps

After nearly three decades providing bucket-list thrills and extreme sport opportunities, Skydive Long Island has shut down and sold its property at the former Grumman airfield in Calverton.

The company left this message on its website, which remains online for now: “Dear Customers, we thank you for 29 years of wonderful memories. We enjoyed every day of it! We have permanently closed but wish you blue skies always!”

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter announced at Thursday’s town board work session that slightly mysterious-sounding firm Luminati Aerospace, LLC purchased the company and its 16.3 acres of land, which includes a 23,000-square-foot hangar and private 10,000-foot-long runway. “They have a large contract to build solar-powered drones and use them to beam down…cell tower stuff, Wi-Fi,” Walter explained in a phone call Friday, noting that the very large drones have a 160-foot wingspan and would fly in the atmosphere at about 60,000 feet.

Luminati Aerospace—which has a cryptic website ( featuring only its name and an archaic drawing of an astrology chart with no links or text—incorporated with New York State on July 7 of this year. A week later, the company registered an N-number (similar to a car’s license plate number) for a small Sarl gyrocopter with the Federal Aviation Authority, using 218 Conover Street in Brooklyn for an address, on July 13. No other concrete information could be found about Luminati Aerospace online.

Luminati Aerospace, LLC website
Screenshot of the Luminati Aerospace, LLC website

Walter signed a nondisclosure agreement that precludes him from revealing the parent company of Luminati Aerospace. But he said it’s owned by a very large company that would bring research and development and manufacturing in a “very high-tech area” back in “a major way” to Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL), the 2,900-acre former Grumman Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, of which Skydive Long Island is part.

“This one contract will set the stage for EPCAL,” Walter said, adding that they’ve been working on this deal for months. “They kind of selected us, we didn’t select them,” he continued, pointing out that once Luminati Aerospace showed interest in coming to Calverton, the town “rolled out the red carpet” in order to get them to stay.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill to put the Calverton Enterprise Park reuse and revitalization district in place in October 2013, and the Luminati deal is the first solid step toward shaping its future. “We’ve got a lot of exciting things coming at EPCAL,” Walter said, explaining that Luminati’s parent company would bring a great deal to the table—enough even to attract the interest of the governor.

The former Grumman airfield
The former Grumman airfield, Photo: Google Maps

Skydive Long Island’s founder, Ray Maynard, was not immediately available for comment on Friday, but Walter said he met with Maynard about the sale “early on” and Luminati Aerospace made him “a very good offer.”

Maynard started his now famous business in 1986 at a small airstrip in East Moriches, but as Skydive Long Island grew and safety concerns mounted, the entrepreneur set his sites on Calverton. In September of 2000, Maynard received approval to move his outfit to Calverton Enterprise Airpark and his dream came to fruition.

Over the next 15 years, Skydive Long Island grew to become one of the most well-known and largest skydiving facilities in the Tri-State area. Maynard’s website boasts that his operation offered the highest jumps and largest skydiving aircraft on Long Island, and they serviced everyone from novice tandem jumpers and one-time thrill seekers to enthusiasts and professionals.

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