TAMPA — Six World War II aircraft of the world famous GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team will blaze a trail above many of the top air show sites across America as they launch this spring into their 12th anniversary season.
The team announced their 2018 air show schedule on Wednesday as they prepare for their winter practices in Florida. They will perform at 15 locations, and perform 29 flight demonstrations.
The GEICO Skytypers continue to carry the torch forward for the Greatest Generation of pilots, demonstrating their story high above the air show crowds during their demonstration. The Skytypers’ dedication and skill inspires many to want to learn more about the history behind these aircraft and the aviators who piloted these silver doves through the smoke blackened skies of war.
“We have an exciting schedule for the 2018 air show season including a couple of new shows, several rotational show sites, and a number of regular stops on our tour” said Steve Kapur, the team’s Skytyper 8 pilot and marketing officer. “Whether new or old, the best part of each event weekend is meeting air show fans from the youngest of future aviators to veterans who trained in our aircraft.”
The team will begin the season over Vero Beach in Florida, and the following week, will kick-off the inaugural Wings Over Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, as they co-headline both shows with the Blue Angels. A busy May will see performances over Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, before heading north to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and Jones Beach, New York.
The squadron’s popularity has risen as they continue to co-headline many of the nation’s top air shows performing with the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels. The civilian team, whose history dates back to the early 1980’s, will celebrate its 12th anniversary season as the GEICO Skytypers.
The Skytypers’s six Navy SNJ-2 aircraft will demonstrate the dog fight flying styles and maneuvers flown by the “Greatest Generation” 70 years ago. The team will tell you they are not an aerobatic squadron, but a formation squadron, who tell the story of the pilots who controlled the skies during World War II and Korea.
“It’s a very dynamic demo with a lot of things happening very quickly with some maneuvers a tribute to the era of the generation of these World War II airplanes,” said team boss Larry Arken. “Other things are done for the spectators view like a heart or a bomb burst, and other maneuvers are tactical maneuvers which the military still uses.”
In May, the Tampa Bay Airfest will be a homecoming for one Skytyper pilot who previously trained in military jets at the Tampa air base. As the team’s senior Lead Solo pilot, Steve Salmirs is looking forward for the upcoming air show, and it was very noticeable.
“This is an incredibly exciting airshow for me,” Salmirs said as he paused near the team’s six silver SNJ-2 aircraft. Salmirs trained at MacDill AFB in 1984 to complete his primary F-16 fighter training.
Steve has flown with the team since 1996, and today, wears many hats including assisting in designing new formations and managing training. “I am thrilled that GEICO has allowed me to come full circle and use the skills I have acquired to entertain the crowds at my training base. I am stoked,” he added.
The Skytypers demonstrate incredible precision during their 20 minute demonstration as they maneuvere into different attitudes. Each of these World War II aircraft have a rich history behind them. These SNJ-2’s and the pilots of yesterday helped the Allied Forces protect democracy and the freedoms we have today.
The GEICO Skytypers carry the torch forward for the Greatest Generation of pilots, demonstrating their story high above the air show crowds during their demonstration. The Skytypers’ dedication and skill inspires many to want to learn more about the history behind these aircraft and the aviators who piloted these silver doves through the smoke blackened skies of war.
GEICO Skytypers 2018 Air Show Schedule:
April 21-22 Vero Beach Air Show, Vero Beach, FL
Apr 28-29 Wings Over Myrtle Beach Air Show, Myrtle Beach, SC
May 5-6 Ford Lauderdale Air Show, Fort Lauderdale, FL
May 12-13 Tampa Bay AirFest, MacDill AFB, FL
May 18-20 Air Power Over Hampton Roads, JB Langley Eustis, VA
May 26-27 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Jones Beach, NY
Jun 2-3 NAS Patuxent River Air Expo, NAS Patuxent River, MD
Jun 9-10 RI National Guard Open House Air Show, Quonset Point, RI
Jun 16-17 Ocean City Air Show, Ocean City, MD
Jul 14-15 Great New England Air and Space Show, Westover ARB, MA
Jul 25-29 EAA Air Venture Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI
Aug 23 Atlantic City Airshow, Atlantic City, NJ
Sep 22-23 NAS Oceana Air Show, NAS Oceana, VA
Oct 6-7 Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show, Baltimore, MD
Oct 27-28 NAS Jax Air Show, Jacksonville, FL
On the ground, members of the GEICO Skytypers spend their time at each air show site visiting education centers and hospitals with their public outreach program. The team will also host student groups at the air show for a group discussion plane side, and the chance to climb aboard their aircraft.
(Charles A. Atkeison reports on aerospace and science. Follow his updates on social media via @Military_Flight.)