By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
Randy Harris, a fellow stunt pilot and friend of Guy “Doc” Baldwin, was prepping his biplane. His act would soon follow Guy “Doc” Baldwin.
Then he heard the thud on the ground; saw the dirt cloud. Baldwin’s German Extra 300L had crashed.
“We took off running, and the emergency team was right on our heels.”
Harris has a lot of praise for the team and the preparedness.
Many people think the impact took Baldwin’s life almost immediately. There was nothing anybody at the show could have done, Harris said.
“We were all in shock. We were numb,” said Harris. Harris has flown in shows with Baldwin for two years, and they were flying buddies before that for another two. They both lived in Tulsa, Okla.
“He just lives 11 miles down the road from me,” he said.
Baldwin, Harris’ and Neal Darnell’s jet-power truck were were to be part of the finale, billed as “Extreme Chaos.” They had come together as a featured package act, for the air show.
“The kids love us,” Harris said. “I wish the crowd could have seen us. After we flew, we made fun of each other. We have huge slingshots and shoot out dozens of T-shirts to the kids.
“We had to think of how to get his wife contacted. It wasn’t until 24 hours later, and I was home that I started to get emotional,” he said.
“Baldwin was a great guy,” Harris said. He did so many things for so many people. Even while we were there, he was trying to arrange a flying benefit for a charitable group north of Tulsa.”
On the wing of Baldwin’s plane was the logo for the Make A Wish Foundation, which he had more or less adopted, doing benefits for them. His interest in the organization is evidenced by his web site, acrodoc.com, where he encourages people to become involved.
Condolences and praise for his other good works are also filling the web sites of the Tulsa media, One read: “My Dr. has died. He was most known for transporting patients all across the country for free in his planes to get treatment that was only possible at certain hospitals. He gave a lot to the Tulsa community.”
In 2003, Baldwin was honored as the Oklahoma Aviator of the Year for the Centennial Celebration of Flight. Although he flew several types of aircraft, Baldwin revealed that the German plane was his favorite.
“The Extra is among the top aerobatic airplanes in the world,” Baldwin said on his Web site.
His plane is called Extra because it was designed by Walter Extra.
In addition to being a physician and stunt pilot, Baldwin was a aviation columnist writing on medical matters that might concern pilots, he was also an aviation medical examiner, according to the air show program.
The program also noted that he had logged over 4,000 hours in 35 years of flying.
But he was not that experienced at flying at high altitudes, Harris said.
“The day before he flew, that was his first time flying at 4,000 feet. He recognized that he would have to make some changes,” Harris said. “We talked about it.”
The high altitude, “It tricks you,” Harris said.
The plane goes faster, but doesn’t have as much power because the air is lighter, Harris said.
For nine of his 11 years flying, Harris said he had never witnessed an accident.
But he said his first one won’t stop him.
Baldwin, Harris said, enjoyed his experience in Tucumcari.
The Rotary Club had hosted a big shrimp boil for all the pilots.
“We sure enjoyed our time there,” Harris said. “They had this get-together. We were like kids at Christmas. During his (Baldwin’s) last day he was treated well and he was full of life.”