A few select images of things with wings. I’ve always loved aircraft, spent an entire day with the Red Baron Stearman Squadron several years ago.

An Air National Guard C130 banks over rural Atlanta during a training mission in June 2007. STEVE SMEDLEY
Mark Marquis is the president of Marquis Energy, which has just completed and placed on line a ethanol production plant in Hennepin. During our plant tour he offered to take us up for aerial photographs of the plant from his Robertson Helicopter Company R44 Raven II. He took my door off so I could shoot the plant. Very cool ride!
AirTran flight 232 from Atlanta prepares to land at the Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal as passengers in the terminal watch on Tuesday Jan 16,2007. Pantagraph/STEVE SMEDLEY
Ray Thomas of Decatur finished fueling his T 28 trainer, at the Logan County Airport Thursday, in preparation for Thursday’s flight to Titusville, Florida and the TICO Air Show. Thomas owns the plane, while team mate Clyde Zellers of Springfield pilots the aircraft. The T 28 were used as US Navy trainers from 1953 to 1981.
I have always enjoyed mechanical things and have been all over the country photographing railroads. My second love would be aviation and during The Pantagraph’s sponsorship of the Prairie Air Show, I was assigned to find a story that would fit into a Focus page and promote the air show in Bloomington. During a visit with Norm Wingler, president of the Prairie Aviation Museum, I was told the Red Barron Stearman Squadron would headline the weekend air show. The team were doing press and VIP rides out of Pekin. Wingler flew me to the airport in Pekin early the next morning, where I pitched my story idea to the aerobatic team ”cold”. They were more than helpful and had planned to do some practice loops late in the afternoon during the trip to the Bloomington airport. Before we left, I flew a two ship formation, with a girl in the other plane. The first time we did a complete loop, I just froze with the camera pointed forward. When we got back on the ground, the girl said ”you probably didn’t hear me, but I screamed the whole time!” We could hear her screaming, even over the din of the super charged Pratt & Whitney engines the aircraft were equipped with. A former crop duster from Nebraska, Sonny Lovelace took me under his wing, and spent down time between flights explaining how the Stearman flew and what I should expect during aerobatic maneuvers. ”Its like doing brain surgery with a hatchet”, Lovelace said, explaining the planes forgiving flight characteristics. This image is from the first four plane loop that we did over Minier on the way to Bloomington. I had a Nikon F4 camera with a 20mm wide angle lens and the strap wrapped several times around my right hand. I shot about sixteen frames of this loop which we repeated three times. Sadly, a year after this photo was made, Lovelace and another Red Baron pilot were killed in a mid-air collision during an air show in Florida. Steve Smedley