September 16, 2021

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2021 Atlantic City Airshow: What It’s Like To Fly High With Geico Skytypers Before Wednesday’s Show

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — The Atlantic City Airshow will dazzle crowds on Wednesday. Tuesday was practice day for the pilots taking part in the show.

A roar echoing along the boardwalk, and all eyes were on the sky. The Atlantic City Airshow is back.

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“I grew up watching these kinds of shows with my dad,” Pat Landrigan, of Cherry Hill, said.

“This is the first time, I am thrilled,” Mary Von Steina, of Cherry Hill, said.

Thrill-seekers can expect all different kinds of daring stunts, including aerial acts from the Geico Skytypers. Eyewitness News got the chance to fly in formation with them.

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“Lots of noise, lots of smoke and there’s always action happening in front of the crowds,” Chris Thomas, a Geico Skytypers pilot, said.

So, CBS3 wanted to see what they were all about. We suited up and then hopped in, strapped on a parachute just in case and took off. They took us on a ride of a lifetime over the beach and past the casinos.

The team excites fans by not only typing messages like in the sky, but they have a few tricks up their wings to highlight the maneuvers and tactics used by pilots in World War II.

“We’re really bringing these airplanes out here and what we do to honor the world’s greatest generation,” Thomas said.

Immense training, rehearsals and teamwork go into flying these vintage warbirds. They even can fly the entire flight with solely hand signals.

“We’re aiming for an extremely high level of precision,” Thomas said, “To move a large number of airplanes close together, very efficiently and very safely, so one of the things you do is you are always going to fly back from the person, down to the side and slightly out and we’ll actually use marks on the airplanes to safely align ourselves.”

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In the meantime, the Thunderbirds made their entrance in Atlantic City. They, too, will be flying in the airshow.

“Basically, executing our mission to recruit, maintain and inspire and we do that by displaying the pride, precision and excellence of the United States Air Force,” Major Kyle Oliver with Thunderbird 6 said.

During the pandemic, the Thunderbirds honored health care workers through Operation America String.

“Everywhere from L.A. to Boston and all the major metropolitan areas in between to salute the first responders, health care workers and the critical folks keeping us safe in the pandemic,” Oliver said.

Both the Skytypers and Thunderbirds alike are thrilled to be back in action.

“To be back to our bread and butter, to be back to that mission is really, really exciting this year,” Oliver said.

As the crowds continue to pour in for Wednesday’s show, AtlantiCare is offering advice to stay safe as Delta variant fuels a rise in COVID cases in the state. They say wash your hands, pack sanitizer, bring masks and incorporate social distancing.

“Luckily, this event is on the beach so hopefully people can space out, get your spot, put up your blanket or your beach towels and make sure you and the people you’re with are distanced from other people,” Gemma Downham, an epidemiologist, said. “You also don’t want to share food or have close contact with others, hugging or kissing, really just stake out your spot on the beach, have a good time at the airshow, and just stay with your household or closest contacts that’s already in your bubble as possible.”

They say to keep an eye out for COVID-related symptoms.

“It feels so great to be able to have concerts again and to be able to have the airshow,” Downham said, “but we do ask anyone that might not be feeling well or may have had an exposure to please stay home.”

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The airshow starts on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

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