Custom Messages and Precision Flying with World War II-Era Planes at Shaw Air Expo – Thunder Over the Midlands
Sumter, SC (April 9, 2012) – The GEICO Skytypers, the only civilian flying unit in the world to use World War II-era planes to ‘type’ their messages in the sky, are performing at Shaw Air Expo – Thunder Over the Midlands, May 5-6, 2012.
The GEICO Skytypers use 6 of the remaining 11 WWII North American SNJ-2 planes left in the world to create messages at an altitude of 10,000 feet forming letters in a dot-matrix-like pattern. Each plane has been restored and is specially equipped and modified with a small, custom-built computer that commands the ‘smoke puffs’ in each of the aircraft.
“The contrast between the advanced technology to produce the messages paired with a 1940’s vintage aircraft is truly unique,” said Steve Kapur, pilot and marketing officer for the GEICO Skytypers who has been flying with the team for more than a decade. “We consider it a privilege to fly these warbirds on behalf of GEICO at air shows all across the US.”
During Skytyping Missions, pilots fly 250 feet apart in a wide line abreast formation and when aligned, the ‘puffs’ form letters as tall as the Empire State Building. Because pilots create one letter every four seconds, ‘skytyping’ is 17 times faster than skywriting – entire messages can be as long as six to eight miles and on a clear day and can be seen for 15 miles in each direction.
In addition to skytyping, the team also performs a low altitude, precision-formation flying routine combined with a thrilling aeronautical demonstration. The six aircraft fill the sky and come from all directions, providing spectators a unique viewing experience.
Maneuvering the antique aircraft is no simple feat and requires great skill and expertise. A majority of the GEICO Skytypers pilots earned their wings flying for the U.S. Armed Forces with several currently flying for commercial airlines.
At this year’s show ,The GEICO Skytypers have a special surprise. They will race their counterpart on the water, The Miss GEICO powerboat racing team. The six-time world champions participate in sanctioned off-shore racing events around the world. The world record holding Miss GEICO Mystic will race against one of the pilots from the GEICO Skytypers. This high-powered vessel has traveled at speeds exceeding 200 miles-per-hour. The GEICO Skytypers will be in the air as the Miss GEICO racing team battles whatever currents, waves, and winds might bring. This is a visual that air show attendees will not want to miss.
Members of the media and air show representatives are invited to visit the team transporter during the air show weekend for interviews.
Shaw Air Show Schedule of Events
Saturday, April 28th- Gates Open 7:30am -5pm
Sunday, April 29th – Gates Open 7:30am -5pm
Admission Fees and Contact
About the GEICO Skytypers
The GEICO Skytypers are the only flying unit in the world that performs at air shows typing their messages in the sky. For more information on the GEICO Skytypers, visit geicoskytypers.com. They can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To request more information or a 2012 Electronic Press Kit, please write or call the contact listed below.
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the third-largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States. GEICO handles auto insurance coverage for over 11 million private passenger auto policies and insures more than 17 million vehicles.
In addition to auto insurance, GEICO offers customers insurance products for their motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, boats, homes and apartments is available through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.
As a member of the Berkshire Hathaway group of companies, GEICO is rated A++ for financial strength by A.M. Best Company and ranks at the top of several national customer satisfaction surveys. For more information, go to http://www.geico.com.