MYRTLE BEACH, SC — The GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team has launched into their new season primed with a new flight demonstration display and loaded with a dizzying array of aerobatic maneuvers they will showcase next at the Wings Over Myrtle Beach.
The GEICO Skytypers carry the torch forward for the Greatest Generation of pilots, demonstrating their story high above the air show crowd as they display select war time maneuvers. Their dedication and skill continues to inspire 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.
Their historic Navy SNJ-2 aircraft, first used to train the pilots of the second World War, will highlight the deep blue skies over the Myrtle Beach Regional Airport this Saturday and Sunday. Tickets remain available for the city’s first air show in over a decade as the GEICO Skytypers co-headline their second show of the year with the Navy’s Blue Angels.
“We are excited to reveal a new routine to our supporters for the 2018 Air Show Season,” said Lead Solo Pilot Steve Salmirs, who choreographed the Skytypers’ new performance routine for this season. “There is more dynamic maneuvering from the various aircraft, additional interaction between the planes in the air show air space, and some surprise elements developed to enhance and highlight the aircraft and pilots’ capabilities.
The six World War II aircraft of the GEICO Skytypers will blaze a trail above South Carolina’s Grand Strand the as they launch into their 12th anniversary season. These silver warbirds are based at the airfield in Farmingdale, New York. In between show sites, the aircraft rest in special hangers located on the western end of the Long Island community.
“Our narration will continue to educate audiences as the team demonstrates military maneuvers taught and executed from WWII to present day. The new performance is tighter and more demanding. We believe it will initiate an evolution towards enhancements in the future. We look forward seeing old friends and making new acquaintances at air shows to hear comments. We hope everyone will be pleased,” Salmirs added.
The squadron is lead by its commanding officer in Skytyper 1 Larry Arken. Skytyper planes 2 thru 6 are piloted by Chris Thomas, Ken Johansen, Chris Orr, Steve Salmirs, and Kevin Sinibaldi. Pilot Tom Daly also serves as lead solo and Dino Peros is an alternate opposing solo. Pilots Jim Record and Steve Kapur serve as the team’s advance pilots.
It’s the aircraft technician team who keep history flying on the weekends. Lead by Frank Atria, his team of Mike Beecroft, Greg Coons, and Joseph McMillian, stay busy in keeping these historic aircraft in fine working order.
The team’s 20-minute flight demo is not their only feature during most airshows. The forecast of great weather over the airport will allow for the aircraft to create a massive sky written message each.
“Flying five aircraft in a tight, line-abreast formation, the planes coordinate in typing dot matrix-style messages with environmentally friendly puffs of white smoke,” Skytypers spokesperson Brenda Little confirmed on Tuesday. “A computer in the lead aircraft uses a custom-programmed tablet to send commands to the other planes via radio signals.”
The outcome is several massive letters the size of the Empire State Building which create messages in which someone standing 15 miles away in any direction can see. The speed of the aircraft in a line abreast formation can create nearly 25 characters in under two minutes.
When they are not bust performing, the team will spend their time at an air show site visiting education centers and hospitals with their public outreach program. Both the pilots and maintenance team members will also host student groups at the air show for a group discussion plane side, and the chance to climb aboard their aircraft.
GEICO Skytypers 2018 Air Show Schedule:
Apr 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
(Charles A. Atkeison reports on aerospace and science. Follow his updates on social media via @Military_Flight.)