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Pilot supposed to be in Galesburg this week

GALESBURG – The Stearman Fly-In said Monday that Glenn “Skids” Smith was supposed to be at its event Thursday.

The confirmation comes just two days after Smith died at the Quad City Air Show. Monday, the accident was still on everyone’s mind.

“All it takes is a bad day or a bad decision or to get distracted,” air show pilot Brian Rosenstein said.

Rosenstein did air shows with Smith in the past. He also got to know him from some of the engagements that went along with the shows. Nonetheless, Saturday’s accident doesn’t make him nervous about flying in the air.

“It doesn’t affect my feeling of safety or my passion for what I do,” Rosenstein said.

Rosenstein and his co-pilot David Brown came in from Virginia to fly in the 41st annual week-long event. Brown’s lost seven friends to air shows in his 35 years of flying.

“All of us understand the risk that is involved with that,” Brown said. “There’s always mechanical failures when you’re pushing the limits of something with an aircraft.”

The pilots don’t often think of those mechanical failures when they take to the air, and that is for a reason. Rosenstein wants to be in the right mental state before he takes to the air.

“If you consumed your thought process with that, you’d never leave the ground” he said.

Rosenstein gets a certain amount of excitement out of flying antique planes. He and Brown came in a PT-17 Stearman that trained Army soldiers during World War II.

“I was out a little bit earlier,” Rosenstein said Monday. “I was just rolling the airplane upside down with completely no canopy on it whatsoever.”

The fly-in is much different from an air-show. Visitors come to see the pilot’s antique planes that they bring in from across the country. The pilots do take to the air, but they do not do tricks. The fly-in goes until Sunday at Galesburg’s Municipal Airport.

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