JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team uses World War II-era aircrafts to show maneuvers and tactics taught to military aviators.
WHAT TO KNOW: Sea and Sky Air Show 2019 in Jacksonville Beach
The civilian squadron is made up of 12 pilots with military backgrounds, based in Long Island, N.Y. They are one of the select organizations in the world that can generate giant skytyped messages. But it comes with risks.
GEICO Skytypers fly North American SNJ-2 aircrafts, which were originally built in 1940-1941 during WWII. It was also referred to as "The Pilot Maker" by its crews because of its difficulty to fly. The Navy's basic trainers would learn on this aircraft to become first-line tactical aviators.
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"These planes were flown in the Golden Age of aviation," GEICO Skytypers pilot Mark Gannucci said. "Before jet engines existed, before GPS existed, you could hide behind a cloud and get the bad guy."
Gannucci has been a professional pilot for more than 30 years. He started flying with the Navy in 1988 and flew until 1995. He is now a pilot with Southwest Airlines.
Gannucci was the pilot for Action News Jax reporter Elizabeth Pace Thursday. He along with three other pilots led a ride throughout Jacksonville as a preview of their airshow this weekend.
"It reminds young and old of why we fight, the freedom we enjoy, and just the loud sights of an air show," Gannucci said.
The GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team will perform during the Jacksonville Beach Sea and Sky Air Show.
Cox Media Group