FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – What’s faster – a World War II-era, open-cockpit SNJ trainer plane at full throttle or an 12-time world champion offshore racing catamaran? Crowds at the Fort Lauderdale Air Show will have the opportunity to find out on November 21-22, 2020 when one of the GEICO Skytyper planes will challenge the 47-foot Miss GEICO powerboat in a pair of races along the beaches of Fort Lauderdale.
Immediately following the Skytypers air show demonstration, the solo pilots will swoop down to a low-altitude just above the deck of its water-bound counterpart Miss GEICO and the air-versus-sea duel will begin. The aircraft and boat will race in both directions to ensure that currents and wind conditions don’t dictate the ultimate winner making the race a battle of skill and expertise.
“Each race is utterly unpredictable,” says Miss GEICO Crew Chief Gary Stray. “The liquid track has constantly changing conditions such as wave size and wind strength which greatly affect our speed and handling capability. With a WWII airplane screaming down out of the sky and racing so close, it feels like it could land on the deck of the boat.”
The 80-year-old aircraft is powered by a 550-horsepower Pratt & Whitney engine. Miss GEICO’s piston-powered turbo engines produce 2,200 total horsepower. Technically, the WWII SNJ is rated at a top speed nearing 200 mph at an altitude of 6,000 feet. Under ideal water conditions, the Miss GEICO race boat has reached a top speed of 170 mph during a record setting speed run.
Tom Daly, GEICO Skytyper lead solo pilot, says experience and skill are the real differentiators. “The boat will be tough to beat because it has more power and is completely state of the art. But we rely on expert management of geometry and physics to extract the maximum output possible out of these vintage airplanes.”
“The Fort Lauderdale Air Show gives the public a rare chance to witness this air-sea duel. The race is something we only do a couple of times each year,” says Miss GEICO throttleman Steve Curtis. “This particular race will be especially exciting following our recent win in Morehead City during the OPA World Championship Races.The team added a 12th world championship title during the races in October.”
Steve Curtis is an international boat racing legend and controls the throttles for the powerboat. Curtis has more than 20 world championship titles of his own and is a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his contributions to powerboat racing.
For more information about additional performers at the Fort Lauderdale Air Show, visit https://fortlauderdaleairshow.com