The GEICO Skytypers are scheduled to perform June 16-17 at the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show at Quonset State Airport. This performance team features custom messages, precision flying in World War II-vintage planes
The team “types” messages at 10,000 feet with puffs of smoke in dot matrix-style letters. The GEICO Skytypers are the only flying unit in the world that performs at air shows typing their messages in the sky.
They use six of the remaining 11 North American SNJ-2 planes left in the world to write their messages at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Each World War II-era plane has been restored and is equipped with a computer that coordinates the smoke puffs from the aircraft.
“The contrast between the advanced technology to produce the messages paired with 1940s vintage aircraft is truly unique,” said Steve Kapur, GEICO Skytypers marketing officer and pilot. “We consider it a privilege to fly these warbirds on behalf of GEICO at air shows all across the U.S.” said Kapur, who has been flying with the team for more than a decade.
A great deal of skill is required to maneuver the antique aircraft. Most of the GEICO Skytypers pilots earned their wings in the military. Several currently fly for commercial airlines.
During skytyping missions the pilots fly 250 feet apart in a wide “line-abreast” formation. When aligned, the smoke puffs form letters as tall as the Empire State Building.
Skytyping is 17 times faster than skywriting because each pilot can create a letter every four seconds. Entire messages can be as large as 6 to 8 miles wide. Messages are visible for 15 miles in each direction on a clear day.
The team also performs a low-altitude, precision-formation flying routine and a thrilling aeronautical demonstration. The six aircraft come from all directions, creating a unique viewing experience.
The schedule of events for the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show is:
9 a.m. Gates Open, 10 a.m. Air Show Saturday, June 16, open to the public
9 a.m. Gates Open, 10 a.m. Air Show Sunday, June 17, open to the public
Admission is free. A $10 voluntary donation benefits Hasbro Children’s Hospital
Go to www.riairshow.org for more information.
For more information about the GEICO Skytypers go to www.geicoskytypers.com