September 24, 2021

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How this airshow team inspired Forsyth’s Civil Air Patrol

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The pilots and aircraft maintainers of the GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team spoke to the cadets of the Civil Air Patrol on Thursday to inspire and educate the next generation of aviators and aeronautical engineers.

GEICO Skytyper pilots Chris Thomas and Steve Salmirs, along with the director of maintenance Frank Ateria addressed the cadets of Forsyth County. They offered insight into a strong education and the value of teamwork in their career.

The cadets are teenagers who learn the disciplines of the U.S. Air Force each week. Each carries a strong interest in an aeronautical career serving in the military or as a civilian.

As an extension of the Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol provides local communities with volunteer services. They offer aide to search and rescue aircrews, disaster relief and volunteer with humanitarian services.

“I began flying when I was 17 years old and my dad was my instructor,” said Chris Thomas, GEICO Skytypers right wing pilot. “I love our aircraft, it’s a big aircraft, it’s loud and rumbly, we fly with the canopy open and you smell like gas and oil when you get done flying.”

The GEICO Skytypers showcase low level maneuvers and create huge sky-typed messages over an air show. The civilian squadron’s history dates to the 1970s, and 15 years as the GEICO Skytypers.

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