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Pilot survives small plane crash at Gladewater airport

By Robyn Claridy
June 28, 2011 at 10 p.m.

A small experimental plane on its maiden flight went down Tuesday morning, sending the Hallsville pilot to a hospital.

The crash occurred about 7 a.m. at Gladewater Municipal Airport on U.S. 271 South, according to Department of Public Safety Trooper Clay Steelman.

The pilot, who family members identified as Ronald Wayne Baker, was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition Tuesday.

His sister-in-law, Lynn Baker, said the hospital was keeping the pilot overnight for observation.

"He told us that when he took off he didn't even completely clear the trees when the plane took a hard left," Lynn Baker said.

"He said he cut the power off in the airplane because he didn't want the propeller to be spinning too fast when he hit the ground. It was a miracle that he walked away."

She said Ronald Baker has been a pilot for about 20 years.

"This was the sixth plane he's built, and his first wreck," she said.

Family members said Baker works as an automotive repairman for their family business in Hallsville.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, Baker is listed as a private pilot certified to fly single engine and instrument airplanes. He also is listed as a certified "repairman experimental aircraft builder." The certifications date to 1993.

FAA Public Affairs Manager Lynn Lunsford said the FAA would be investigating the crash.



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