Before there were F-14 Tomcats and
F-16 Fighting Falcons, there was the venerated North American SNJ-2
that served as the trainer for most of the Allied pilots who flew
in World War II.
A squadron of these historic World War II planes will
demonstrate low level precision formation flying at the Southern
Maryland Aviation Days Air Show at Naval Air Station Patuxent
River, Md., on September 3-4.
The squadron, also known as Skytypers for its unusual sky
messaging capabilities, features the SNJ-2s, originally designed as
a transition trainer between basic trainers and first-line tactical
The Skytypers Air Show Team delivers a form of aerial messaging
known as "skytyping." During skytyping aerial exhibitions, the
pilots fly their aircraft in a line-abreast formation, and a
computer in the lead aircraft sends signals to the smoke systems in
each of the other aircraft in the formation to create a dot matrix
pattern. Individual letters are up to 1,200- feet tall and complete
messages may be up to five miles long.