(June 13, 2014) A father-son duo will celebrate Father’s Day flying wing-to-wing in the sky above Ocean City as part of the GEICO Skytypers performance in the OC Air Show this weekend.
Bob and his son Ken Johansen are both retired Navy pilots, now flying World War II trainer planes known as North American SNJ-2s in the low-flying, precision show.
“Not many dads get the chance to perform low-altitude, close-formation maneuvers right alongside their son,” Bob said.
Ken made it clear: “I definitely got the bug from my father.”
He took his first flight with the Skytypers at age eight over Long Island, N.Y. and “was hooked,” going on to become a Navy pilot flying P3’s before becoming a commercial airline captain.
Bob flew Grumman S2 “Tracker” antisubmarine aircraft for the Navy before taking on a commercial airline career at Trans World Airlines. He is the latest recipient of the Federal Aviation Administration’s highest civilian honor, the Wright Brother’s Master Pilot award, which recognizes pilots for completing 50 years of safe flight.
Now, the pair will join the other GEICO Skytyper pilots over Ocean City’s beach this weekends showcasing precision flight maneuvers with four other vintage World War II aircraft.
“Most of our team earned their wings in the military and these 75-year-old planes pay tribute to the brave pilots of the ‘Greatest Generation,’” said Steve Kapur, a Skytyper pilot and team marketing officer. “We consider it a privilege to inspire kids, honor veterans and fly these war birds on behalf of GEICO at air shows all across the U.S.”
The GEICO Skytypers are the only flying unit that performs at air shows across the county typing messages in the sky. They will Skytype on Friday and Saturday and perform their precision, low-altitude show on Saturday and Sunday.
The Skytypers team was founded by Mort Arken and the it’s commanding officer and lead pilot today is his son, Larry Arken.
“Dad would have considered the fact that I’ll be flying over Ocean City the ultimate Father’s Day Tribute,” Arken said. “This one’s for him.”
Ken agreed: “To get to do this with my father is both fun and an honor.”
Learn more about the GEICO Skytypers at www.geicoskytypers.com.
Visit www.ocairshow.com for a full schedule of OC Air Show events and more information.