After more than 20 years, the Grand Strand will serve as host to a full-scale air show. On April 28-29, 2018, JLC AirShow Management will assemble a line-up of world-class civilian and military performers including the US Navy Blue Angels as headliners. In a rare coastal Carolina appearance, the world famous GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team will round out the schedule as they perform their low-level, precision-flying air show demonstration utilizing six WWII-era aircraft.
The much-anticipated event at the Myrtle Beach International Airport was announced in December 2017. VisitMyrtleBeach.com soon joined forces with JLC and the Department of Airports to provide the support necessary to plan an event of this scale and magnitude. More than 80,000 people are expected to attend the inaugural air show, which promises to become a recurring annual event.
"The SNJs flown by our team were originally used as training aircraft for WWII and Korean Conflict pilots," says Team Flight Lead Larry Arken. "During our air show performances, we are able to demonstrate the amazing capabilities of these vintage warbirds on behalf of our sponsor, GEICO. The 75-year old SNJ aircraft are a testament to the engineering genius of the Greatest Generation. We consider it a privilege to share these pieces of aviation history with everyone attending the Wings Over Myrtle Beach Air Show.”
The GEICO Skytypers fly six SNJs powered by 600-horsepower Pratt and Whitney engines. As training aircraft, the SNJ can perform all the maneuvers of a fighter plane, but at slower speeds. A majority of the team’s low-level flying demonstration takes place in front of the crowd. The historic sound of the vintage engines fills the air as the team demonstrates more than 20 different tactical maneuvers.
As the team name suggests, during air show appearance, giant messages also are skytyped. When atmospheric conditions are appropriate, the fleet of aircraft will ascend to 9,500 feet to fly in a line-abreast formation to type messages 1,000 feet tall. Because the messages are taller than the Empire State Building, they are visible for 15 miles in any direction, and can generate 20-25 characters in less than 2 minutes utilizing a patented program to generate smoke releases at timed intervals. The typing speed is 17 times faster than traditional skywriting. As such, viewers are often drawn in to guess words as they are formed, similar to playing “Wheel of Fortune” style games.
The complete 2018 Wings Over Myrtle Beach Air Show performer line-up will continue to be unveiled in the weeks leading to the event. Advance tickets, sponsor, and exhibitor information is available at http://wingsovermyrtlebeach.com. Those seeking the most up-to-date information for the Wings Over Myrtle Beach Air Show should follow the event’s Facebook page for regular updates and announcements.