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Long Islanders Get Close Encounter With WWII

Credit Union's Facebook contest earns them a trip back in time.

The winners of two Facebook contests will get an up-close encounter with the pilots of six vintage World War II planes and their pilots Wednesday at

The winners of the Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s contests – My Very First Flight and Recognizing Our Veterans – will meet with a squadron of the six world-famous GEICO Skytypers pilots planeside. 

The planes perform precision flight maneuvers at select air shows across the U.S., including the upcoming on Memorial Day Weekend.

The pilots fly six of the remaining 11 North American SNJ-2 planes -- commonly known as the T-6 Texan -- at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet. The T-6 Texan was a single-engine two-seater used to train U.S. and British pilots during World War II and beyond.

The sky typing done by these historic planes may seem a far cry from skyping and cyberspace, but the contest found a way for Long Island students to make a connection. In fact, a computer is actually used to generate the "type" that creates messages high above the earth.

My Very First Flight contestants were asked to submit a photo capturing the excitement of their first flight; Recognizing Our Veterans contestants wrote about the what Memorial Day and the Bethpage Air Show means to them.

The contestant's winners are:

Christina Federici – Farmingdale.

Jeff Bollet – Sands Point.

Brian Greene – Wheatley Heights.

Christine O'Brien - Massapequa.

David Cohen – Nesconset.

Daniel Stegner – Levittown.

Lizandro Pacheco – Bethpage.

Nicole Stork – East Moriches.

The students and their families will meet and greet the pilots and have a close look at the vintage aircraft on the tarmac of Republic Airport in East Farmingdale Wednesday afternoon.

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