September 1979
R. G. Smith & Harry Gann

Published in the September 1979 issue of Naval Aviation News
Author Unknown Photo Credit: Unknown

They are quite, creative men who let their pictures and paintings talk for them. And those pictures and paintings speak in a forceful but pleasing voice.

R. G. Smith is one of the flying community's best known and most accomplished artists. He is master of palette and canvas. Harry Gann's creations bloom from a practical eye and camera. His aerial photography has been first-rate for years. Each man, in his respective vocation, is in a class by himself. "R. G." is a configuration engineer who just happens to be a superb artist. He was instrumental in the design of many aircraft including the Skyhawk depicted here. In addition to his talent with a lens, Harry Gann is a respected author and aviation historian.

For many years it has been Naval Aviation News's good fortune to feature the matchless productions of Smith and Gann. His aerials have been featured in countless books and periodicals. R. G.'s works delight viewers at the National Air and Space Museum, the Pentagon, squadron ready rooms and in ships throughout the fleet. Both individuals work for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation at its Long Beach, Calif. Plant - R. G. having signed on in 1936 and Harry in 1954.

Earlier this year, R. G. flew in a Skyhawk for the first time. He rode in Blue Angels #7, no less, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron's two-seater. Lt. Jack Ekl was at the controls and AE! Joe Berry helped strap him in.

Afterwards R. G. remarked, "I just don't see how the Blues fly in tight formation with so little stick movement. I'm more used to SBDs of the OV-10s where the control column really moved around." He added, "I was also impressed with the quiet. Quite a change from prop airplanes."

Harry flies as often as he can with Navy and Marine units. Some of the most eye-catching Blue Angel views were snapped by him. R. G.'s Blue Angel #7 on this page pays a special tribute to Harry who in in the rear seat appropriately posed with camera at the ready.

Both gentlemen are modest and unassuming and share a boundless love of airplanes. That devotion is graphically portrayed each time they go to work - Harry with film, R. G. with a brush. It would be hard to imagine the world of aviation without them to visually record it for us. Happily, both are going strong, illuminating the beauty and drama of flying machines with unparalleled skill.

R. G. Smith

Harry S. Gann