Kyle Franklin and Amanda Younkin Franklin, a young husband and wife wingwalking team, were seriously injured following an accident at the Air Fiesta 2011 air show in Brownsville, Texas, on March 12. Both received serious burn injuries when Kyle, who was the pilot of the aircraft, performed a forced/emergency landing following an engine failure in his highly-modified Waco biplane.
The engine failure occurred while Amanda was on the top wing of the aircraft. As Kyle maintained a wings-level attitude to avoid stalling, Amanda was able to climb off the wing and back into the front cockpit of the aircraft seconds before impact. Both are now being treated at the U.S. Army’s Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Kyle is listed in stable condition. Amanda is in critical condition and her recovery and rehabilitation process is likely to take many months. Amanda is also suffering from numerous broken bones.
Kyle’s father, Jimmy Franklin, and Amanda’s father, Bobby Younkin, were both killed on July 10, 2005 when they were involved in a fatal mid-air collision while performing together at the Saskatchewan Centennial Air Show in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Kyle and Amanda, who had known each other since childhood and were dating at the time of their fathers’ accident, were married just a few months later in October of 2005. They have been performing their wingwalking act together since the summer of 2009.
Jimmy Franklin was widely recognized as the most naturally talented pilot to ever to perform at air shows. He revolutionized air show entertainment when he strapped a General Electric J-85 jet engine to the bottom of his black Waco biplane. Bobby Younkin flew a wide range of aircraft during his air show career, including a Learjet 23. Both performers are recipients of the prestigious “Bill Barber Award For Showmanship.”
To help ensure that Kyle and Amanda Franklin are able to focus on the difficult challenges of recovery, you can make a donation online at www.moonlightfund.org and specify the Kyle & Amanda Franklin Fund. You can also send a check to the Kyle & Amanda Franklin Fund, c/o The Moonlight Fund, PO Box 1299, Bandera TX 78003. The Moonlight Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides 24/7-assistance to burn survivors and their families in their hour of need.
Dave & Peggy Weiman
Midwest Flyer Magazine