Skytypers make debut at Sun N' Fun in Lakeland - WFLA News Channel 8

Skytypers make debut at Sun N' Fun in Lakeland

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The big name military acts, like the Blue Angels, may be grounded because of the federal government cuts known as sequestration, but local air shows are drawing new acts to take their place.

The Geico Skytypers are making their first appearance at the Sun N' Fun Fly-In in Lakeland this week. The team travels air shows across the country, but this is their first trip to Polk County.

"We're really happy to be here," said team leader Larry Arken. "I've been wanting to come to Sun N' Fun and perform for quite a long time."

The Skytypers fly in 6 and 4 plane formations, using SNJ-2 World War II aircraft.

"They were the fighter trainer that was used to get pilots ready to fly the Mustang and all the other fighters of that era," Arken said.

The team flies low over the crowd during the air shows, between 300 and 1,000 feet off the ground. And if the skies clear over Polk County, fans will also get to see the team do some sky writing.

"The messages are five miles long. Each letter is as tall as the Empire State building, and can be seen for 30 miles," Arken said.

Most of the team members are former military members themselves. Arken now flies for a commercial airline when he isn't touring the country with the Skytypers.

"Here we can have fun and kind of be professional cowboys, in a way," he said.

The Skytypers will be part of the air shows at the Sun N' Fly-In on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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