GEICO Skytypers Returns to Thunder Over Empire State For 2nd Annual New York Airshow

For the second consecutive year, the planes that trained World War II Navy pilots will make the short hop from Farmingdale, NY, to thrill spectators.

Print Email

GEICO Skytypers flying over Statue of Liberty.

Photo by: GEICO Skytypers.

Farmingdale, NY - August 11, 2016 - For the second consecutive year, the planes that trained World War II Navy pilots will make the short hop from Farmingdale, NY, to thrill specators with a breathtaking demonstration of precision combat maneuvers that helped define pilots of the Greatest Generation.  

The team’s six vintage SNJ training aircraft will roar over air show crowds in an 18-minute, low-level, precision-flying demonstration honoring the US Armed Forces.

Nearly every Allied pilot who flew in the Second World War strapped into a North American Aviation designed T-6 or SNJ. The GEICO Skytypers fly the SNJ-2 version - adapted for longer flight time given the aircraft is equipped with a larger fuel tank and is a bit shorter in length. The aircraft hauls its 5500 pounds into the sky behind a 600 horsepower Pratt and Whitney 9 cylinder radial engine. The Skytypers’ routine includes combat tactics and maneuvers that helped win the skies during some of the major conflicts of the 20th Century including the Korean War. The team is based in nearby Farmingdale, NY, where the 75-year-old planes are maintained by a full-time staff of expert mechanics who travel with the pilots to every air show.

“Most of our team members earned their wings in the military.  We always pay tribute to the brave combat pilots who originally trained in our aircraft as well as those currently serving in the US military,” says GEICO Skytypers Commanding Officer Larry Arken.  Arken also is the team’s flight leader. “It is a special privilege to fly these vintage WWII trainers on behalf of GEICO.”

In addition to their air show performances, the SNJs are retrofitted to type giant messages in the sky. Flying wingtip-to-wingtip in a line-abreast formation, the lead plane sends computer signals to each of four other aircraft, synchronizing smoke releases to generate 1,000-foot-tall messages. Each letter is higher than the Empire State Building with 20-25 character messages created in under two minutes.

“People on the ground can see our messages from 15 miles away,” says Steve Kapur, the GEICO Skytypers marketing officer. “The messages appear in dot-matrix style, but on a monumental scale and 17 times faster than traditional skywriting.”

Gates open for the New York Air Show at 9am September 3rd and 4th at Stewart International Airport. With 40 acres of ground displays including more than 30 civilian and military aircraft, simulators, exhibits, a kids zone and much more, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

Spectators can expect two thrill-packed days of airborne flybys, demonstrations and performances including the US Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration Team, a C-17 Globemaster Demo by the locally based New York Air National Guard 105th Airlift Wing, electrifying aerobatics by daredevil pilots Buck Roetman and David Windmiller, a rare L-39 Cold War era jet demo, the West Point Paracute Team and the Bremont Horsemen - the world’s only P-51 Mustang formation aerobatic team.

The USAF Thunderbirds cap off the day with a thunderous hour-long performance demonstrating the awesome skills every fighter pilot seeks to hone to perfection. The show spotlights the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon – the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter jet.

Get tickets, VIP packages, the complete rundown of performers, directions, parking and accomodation information and more about volunteer opportunities here.

The GEICO Skytypers are known for their gravity-defying performances but the team is firmly grounded in the community through their work with children’s charities and youth organizations.  The team conducts presentations at youth centers, schools, hospitals, Boys and Girls Clubs, community groups, ROTC programs, and veterans’ facilities.  The Skytypers also host some of these events planeside. Organizations interested in partnering with the GEICO Skytypers can request an appearance by emailing the team’s public affairs contact here.

For more information on the GEICO Skytypers, visit

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 12 million private passenger customers and insures more than 20 million vehicles (auto & cycle). GEICO's online service center helps policyholders take care of policy sales, policy changes, claims reporting and printing insurance ID cards.

GEICO also provides quotes on motorcycle insurance, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for boats, life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available. For more information, go to