And So It Begins!

Skytypers Rock Ground School!
We began our annual spring air show work up with ground school last week. The annual meeting marks the first item on our 2017 air show schedule and is hosted at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY, our home base. This year, we had a couple of honored guests. Former Blue Angel Commanders Kevin Mannix and Tom Frosch attended the meeting and provided a great deal of wisdom and insight to the team. We also had an opportunity to include a couple of pilots interested in future opportunities and positions with the team. Great stories were told and great lessons were shared – great day gentlemen!

Three of a Kind! Boss Arken with ground school participants and guest speakers – Former Blue Angel Bosses Tom Frosch and Kevin Mannix

Next step in our spring air show work up is flying!

Okay, we’ve paid our dues! After some time in the classroom, now the fun begins! We will start flying training hops at our Florida- base in Lakeland, FL Next week, we’ll fly two or three hops each day until departing for Melbourne, FL to fly the Melbourne Air & Space Show which takes place April 1 and 2. Like most teams, we take a building blocks approach to flight training. We begin with walking the routine on the ground, progress to flying sequences from the routine, and later bring it together to fly the complete 18-minute low-level flying demonstration.

2017 GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team






2017 Crew Line-up

Over the winter, several changes have occurred to the air show pilot line-up. Commander Larry Arken continues in the lead position with #8 Steve Kapur.

Moving from training to full-time assignment in the #2 Left Wing spot is Chris Thomas. CT, out newest team member, has more than 17,000 flight hours and is currently a check pilot for Jet Blue Airlines. Chris earned his position through the traditional Skytyper training protocol, which includes; training with squadron instructor pilots, flying skytyping missions, and ferrying aircraft to shows. We welcome CT and are excited to have him join the air show team!

Ken Johansen continues in his role as squadron executive officer. In 2017, Ken moves to the #3 Right Wing position on a permanent basis. Ken also serves as the back-up flight lead.

After more than 30 years flying as an air show pilot with the team, Bob Johansen has chosen to transition from the #4 slot position and will become a vital member of the marketing team. Bob will split the advance pilot duties with Jim Record.

With a vacancy in the Slot pilot position, former wing pilot Chris Orr will make a shift in the diamond formation. Chris has been with the team in the #2 position for several seasons now and is excited to tackle his new role. He has big shoes to fill!

Cowboy’s Last Ride – #4 Bob Johansen Retires from the Diamond













Our solo positions will include Steve Salmirs and Tom Daly splitting the duties as #5 Lead Solo. Kevin Sinibaldi will continue to occupy the #6 Opposing Solo position.

We are looking forward to a great 2017 air show season and seeing all of you during a performance. For a full list of shows, please visit

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