The World Famous GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team is a flight squadron of six vintage WWII aircraft performing precision flight maneuvers at select airshows across the US. The diverse flying expertise of the team members aligns perfectly with the unique components of their overall performance.
COMMANDING OFFICER, FLIGHT LEAD
Larry Arken resides in Greenlawn, New York, and is a captain with a commercial airline. He has been flying since he was a child sitting in the co-pilot seat behind his father, Mort, the founder of the Skytypers. Larry, a New York native, has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Queens College as well as a bachelor’s degree in business from Edison State University.
While growing up in New York, Larry began his career flying warbirds and corporate jets. He first flew Falcon 10’s, 20’s and 50’s then transitioned to flying DC-8’s for UPS before beginning his long-term career as a pilot and captain for a commerial airline.
An accomplished aviator, he presently flies the P-47, F4U and P-51 for the Air Power Museum in Farmingdale, NY. Larry also holds a NATA designation as a formation check pilot.
PILOT RIGHT WINGKen Johansen first flew with the Skytypers at the age of eight. He caught the aviation bug early in life from his father, Skytyping Instructor Pilot Bob Johansen. His inaugural flight with the team sealed his future. Ken graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989 and earned his Navy Wings in 1991.He went on to fly P3’s on both coasts with VP23 and VP46. His career has taken him to the Netherlands, where he flew P3’s with the Royal Netherlands Navy from 1996 to 1998. Ken opted to transition from active duty with the Navy and was quickly hired by TWA where he flew MD80’s, B757’s and B767’s. After giving up his active duty status, Ken was also hired by VR52 in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, as a Navy Reserve Instruction Pilot flying DC9’s around the world. Recently, he was the Commanding Officer of VR58 in Jacksonville, Florida, flying C-40’s (B737-700) throughout the world. Ken currently flies for a commercial airline. Ken enjoys flying Aeronca Champs, Citabrias and Stearmans out of a small grass strip in Northern Pennsylvania with his two sons and his wife, the lovely Louise Johansen of the Lake District, England.Hom
PILOT LEFT WING
Rob Steo resides in New York City, and is a captain for a commercial airline. A graduate of Manhattan College and a former Air Force jet pilot, Rob has seen the world a couple of times over, with more pilot hours logged than he cares to admit.
Flying with the GEICO Skytypers has been a special thrill for Rob. He thoroughly enjoys the military-style camaraderie. He loves to perform with the team, keep his skills sharp, and has had more fun than most people dream of.
As a Brooklyn native, Rob especially enjoys skytyping over his old stomping grounds, and can still remember the first time he witnessed skytyping over Coney Island more than 40 years ago.
Bob Johansen was born of Norwegian immigrant parents and raised in Lincoln Park, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He showed an early interest in aviation by building and flying balsa and paper airplanes as a boy. He got his private license in 1958, flying a 65 hp Aeronca from a grass field.
After graduation from Kalamazoo College in 1961, he joined the US Navy and reported to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. He was later based at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, flying the Grumman S2 "Tracker" antisubmarine aircraft from aircraft carriers. After being released from active duty in 1966, he joined a commercial airline, flying out of New York on international and domestic routes for 33 years before retiring in 1999. Throughout his Navy and airline careers, Bob maintained his interest in general aviation by flying, owning, and helping build various light aircraft.
In 1977, he joined the Skytypers based at Flushing Airport, next to LaGuardia. It was at this time Bob met a young adolescent by the name of Larry Arken who later became the owner of the Skytypers. With the exception of a 10-year hiatus, Bob has been flying the famous GEICO Skytyper SNJ-2 aircraft since the late 70’s.
In addition to flying the "slot" position on the airshow team, Bob and his son Ken, instructs formation as well as navigation planning for the cross-country airshow trips.
PILOT LEAD SOLO
Steve Salmirs was born in Newport News, Virginia. His father worked for NASA as an aeronautical engineer, and his mother taught elementary school. Steve was introduced to the Aviation Explorer Scouts where he first became involved with airplanes in 1973.
Starting at William and Mary College, Steve transferred to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida to pursue his passion for flying, graduating in 1980. Steve's first professional aviation experience was serving as a calibration engineer at Kennedy Space Center, calibrating ground and flight equipment used on the space shuttles from 1980-1982. During this time, he began serving as a flight instructor and flew as a charter pilot.
In 1982, Steve was accepted into the US Air Force, earning his wings and selected to fly F-16 fighters. Steve was first stationed at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida, followed by tours at Nellis AFB in Nevada, and Kunsan AB in South Korea. He finished his Air Force career with a T-37 Instructor tour at Laughlin AFB in Texas.
Currently the Lead Solo and Executive Officer (XO) of the GEICO Skytypers, Steve has flown with the group since 1996. He is a qualified NATA flight lead pilot and serves as backup to the team’s flight lead. His duties include writing the team’s operations manual, managing training and evaluation programs, developing air show routines and narration, as well as running the airshow operations. An advocate of general aviation, Steve has flown many different kinds of aircraft, enjoying all the different characteristics each has to offer.
PILOT OPPOSING SOLO
Tom Daly was raised in Queens and now resides in Garden City, New York. His interest in aviation began at 8 years old, while listening to his father’s stories as a turret gunner and the A-20 Havoc during WWII.
Tom followed his dream and entered the Aviation Program at Dowling College. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he later earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice at C. W. Post College.
Before retiring in 2006, Tom spent 33 years as a patrol and rescue helicopter pilot for the police department on Long Island. He was a first responder during 9/11 and his career efforts earned him two Congressional Awards, an FAA Award for Heroism, the Aviation and Space Writers Award for Heroism, and numerous other awards for police-related activities.
He continues to fly helicopters, gliders, and various types of vintage aircraft including the WWI Nieuport XXIV, Fokker D.VII, 1914 Cauldron G3, and the vintage Great Lakes 2T and Fleet 16 biplanes.
Most recently, Tom was promoted to Associate Dean of Aviation at his alma mater, Dowling College. He continues to enjoy flying with the GEICO Skytypers as well as owning and operating Old Time Aviation Air Shows Inc., out of Garden City, New York.
Jim Record grew up and currently resides on Long Island, New York, the Cradle of Aviation. His father served in WWII on a bomber crew, which nurtured Jim’s early interest in aviation.
Jim first flew with the Civil Air Patrol, later earning both his Pilot’s license and a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York. Recruited into the US Navy at Floyd Bennett Field, LCDR Record served as an IP in Formation, Gunnery, Carrier Landings and frequent long cross-country flights. He flew T-2’s, F-9’s, T-28’s, T-34’s, S-2’s, and A-4’s during his tour of duty.
After leaving the Navy, Jim flew corporate before becoming a commercial airlines pilot. He flew the Douglas DC-9, Boeing 757, 747-400 and Airbus A-330 worldwide for 30 years before retiring from a major airline. Recently, he returned to Dowling College to work on his master’s degree while splitting his flying time between WWI fighters, antique biplanes and performing with the GEICO Skytypers.
Jim joined the Skytypers in 1992, and was one of the original Airshow Team pilots. Jim has previously flown as Lead Solo, Wing Solo and backup Lead. To date, Jim has flown over 50 different aircraft ranging from 154-pound ultralights to 1,000,000-pound jumbo jets as well as blimps, helicopters, seaplanes and sailplanes. Additional types of vintage aircraft flown include the WWI SPAD VII, Nieuport XXIV, Fokker D.VII, rotary engine powered Sopwith Camel, Cauldron G3, and the vintage Great Lakes 2T and Fleet 16 biplanes.
PILOT & MARKETING OFFICER
Steve Kapur was born New York and currently resides in Sparta, New Jersey. He has been flying with the GEICO Skytypers for more than a decade. He also has a commercial pilot's license and serves as a flight instructor.
Steve is one of the few members of the team to develop his aviation credentials as a civilian. He earned his private “ticket” later adding an instrument rating and subsequently earning his commercial and instructor’s licenses. Steve has also studied aerobatics.
Steve has a bachelor's degree in marketing from St. Norbert College and a master's degree in marketing from Marquette University. Steve is an accomplished marketing professional with more than 25 years of managing successful brands and programs.
In addition to his marketing and sales work for the GEICO Skytypers Team, Steve is also recognized for his exemplary work in packaged goods airshow marketing for Kraft Foods and GlaxoSmithKline. His aviation credentials include Com, CFI, NATA formation card, and airshow performer. Steve has association affiliations with AOPA, EAA, NATA and Tailhook. In Steve’s role as Marketing Officer for the team, he combines his talent for developing high impact marketing programs with his passion for flying. Often serving as the team spokesperson, Steve also created and developed the team’s webisode series, “In-Formation,” a behind-the-scenes look at life as an air show performer.
The team flies six SNJ-2 aircraft, the Navy’s version of the Texan T-6, a WWII training plane.View Aircraft
The GEICO Skytyping team is the only civilian squadron currently appearing at airshows and flying WWII aircraft.
The team performs low-level precision-formation aeronautical demonstration featuring the unique capabilities of the vintage WWII aircraft.Schedule
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