Skytyper pilot Ken Johansen doesn’t mess around with ugly neck ties or corny Hallmark cards for Father’s Day – he just goes flying with his dad. Of course it helps that his father is fellow Skytyper Bob Johansen and that they’re both experts in flying the vintage WWII trainer plane known as the SNJ-2 or “pilot maker.”
This Father’s Day, the father-son Johansen duo will be demonstrating how that very plane helped the Allies win the war as they perform wingtip-to-wingtip at the Ocean City Air Show on Father’s Day.
“Not many dads get the chance to perform low-altitude, close-formation maneuvers right alongside their son in front of hundreds of thousands of people,” says Bob Johansen. He is the latest recipient of the FAA’s highest civilian honor: the Wright Brother’s Master Pilot award recognizing 50 years of safe flight.
Johansen senior flew Grumman S2 “Tracker” antisubmarine aircraft for the Navy before a commercial airline career at TWA. His son Ken flew P3’s for the Navy before also becoming a commercial airline captain and he has two sons – just a little too young for pilot’s licenses yet.
“I definitely got the bug from my father,” says Ken Johansen. “I took my first flight with the Skytypers when I was eight years old out on Long Island, New York and I was hooked. To get to do this with my father is both fun and an honor. I’m hoping it’ll become a 3-generation celebration one day.”
The Johansen’s performance at the Ocean City Air Show coincides with the 42nd anniversary of Father’s Day. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.