CHICAGO | The GEICO Skytypers will make their first appearance in the Chicago area during the 2013 Chicago Air and Water Show scheduled for Aug. 17 and 18 at North Avenue Beach.
The team performs a thrilling, low-altitude, precision-formation flying demonstration. The pilots fly six World War II-vintage aircraft, coming from all directions and filling the sky to provide spectators a unique viewing experience while showcasing the tactics and maneuvers utilized in training during WWII.
Their inaugural appearance in Chicago will be the first time people from the area can view the GEICO Skytypers’ giant billboards in the sky. During skytyping missions the pilots fly 250 feet apart in a wide “line-abreast” formation. The team “types” dot-matrix-style messages that are approximately 1,000 feet tall and can be viewed from up to 15 miles in any direction and span up to eight miles in length. Each skytyped letter is generated in approximately four seconds, which is 17 times faster than the more traditional skywriting method.
The GEICO Skytypers fly six of the 11 remaining North American SNJ-2s for their airshow performances and skytyping missions. Each World War II-era plane has been fully restored and equipped with a computer that coordinates the smoke puffs released from each of the aircraft to form letters that are as tall as the Empire State Building.
“The contrast between the advanced technology utilized to produce these messages paired with a 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.”
The Skytypers performance offers a rare chance to view a military-style formation flying demonstration utilizing WWII military training planes. Maneuvering the antique aircraft requires great skill and expertise. A majority of the GEICO Skytypers pilots earned their wings in the military and most currently fly for commercial airlines.