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Sun, Mar 13, 2011

Kyle, Amanda Franklin Injured in TX Airshow Accident

Husband and Wife, Kyle and Amanda Franklin... Both Children Of Airshow Legends, Suffer Injuries in Airshow Crash

ANN REALTIME Update, 1256 ET, 03.13.11: Matt Younkin has updated the airshow world with news of kyle and Amanda's situation...

Good morning all. Let me first express on behalf of Amanda, Kyle, Myself and both of our families so many thanks for all of your prayers and well wishes. We are all so fortunate to have such a wonderful support network in all of you.

We are still waiting for updates and it could be many hours, days, or weeks before we know exactly how the recovery process will play out between Amanda and Kyle. I can however report that Kyle was not injured and or burned as badly as reported earlier by the media and is expected to make a full and rapid recovery. I can also say that the updates we are receiving on Amanda are increasingly optimistic and though she has a long road of recovery ahead of her, the doctors are giving us the impression that things are not as bad as first reported and her chances for a full recovery are getting better not worse. The first 24 hours will set the tone for the story ahead.

I also have to extend a very sincere thanks to my brother-in-law Kyle who I strongly credit for the fact that my little sister is still with us. Having witnessed the accident and being on of the first on the scene, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he made no less than five quick decisions in the air and on the ground that gave her a second chance at life!!

When the engine quit, Amanda was on the top wing in the rack. Kyle continued to fly the airplane in a straight and level fashion as long as he could to give Amanda every opportunity to unstrap and get into the front cockpit where she would have the best chance in the event of a hard landing. He also resisted the tendency to turn for the pavement which typically induces a fatal stall/spin situation. He avoided a landing in the pyro field which could have proven to be fatal, and faced with the only other option of land in mesquite woods, Kyle landed into the wind drastically reducing the forward speed at impact. Upon reaching the scene, I noticed that he set the airplane down in the only Waco sized piece of ground in that dense woods that didn't have tall trees in it. Kyle sustained the majority of his burns trying to pull his wife from the wreckage and when his efforts produced no results, he stayed in the cockpit and transmitted a repeating distress call about the post impact fire that had started. I honestly believe this motivated the rapid responders to press through the brush and douse the airplane at a more rapid rate which meant the split second difference that saved Amanda, who was still in the plane.

The first responders on the scene did an excellent job of responding to the situation in a rapid manner. Having a professional air boss teamed up with professional CFR personnel made a world of difference that could be the single most important factor that both Amanda and Kyle are still with us.

Please continue to send your thoughts and prayers this direction because we sincerely believe they are helping. I will pass updates along as I receive them.

Sincerely
Matt

ANN REALTIME Update, 2156 ET, 03.12.11: The airshow industry has suffered a major tragedy this weekend with serious injuries now reported to the children of two of the airshow world's most enduring legends.

Kyle and Amanda Franklin, he the son of the legendary Jimmy Franklin, and she the daughter of renowned airshow flyer Bobby Younkin (as well as Matt Younkin's sister) were flying their well-known "Pirated Skies" act when the accident took place.

The accident occurred as the result of an engine failure suffered by the Franklin's well-known Waco biplane. Reports indicate that the engine failed, bringing the bipe down off-airport, where impact damage created a fire and issues in extracting Amanda... in the process, burning both Kyle and Amanda 'extensively.'

Some media reports indicate the couple both received burns over 60-70 per cent of their bodies but gave no definitive information as well as  the severity (First, Second, or third degree) of the burns. However; information imparted to the airshow community indicates that both Kyle and Amanda "are stable" and that Matt Younkin is with them. Amanda Franklin has been airlifted to a San Antonio TX hospital. Kyle Franklin was taken to Valley Baptist Hospital in Brownsville, TX.

The accident occurred during Air Fiesta 2011, at the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport, Saturday afternoon. Tragically, this is not the first time that the Franklin/Younkin family has had to deal with an airshow accident... as both Kyle and Amanda's Fathers were lost in a mid-air collision during a 2005 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan airshow while Amanda's brother Matt was involved in an accident, in which he suffered injuries, late in 2009 while flying the Younkin Mullicoupe.

Information corroborated by airshow industry observers indicate that the Waco started having visible/audible power difficulties during the act, and that Amanda quickly repositioned herself into the airplane prior to the impact. Photos show the aircraft fairly level (slightly right wing low... banking toward a clearing) and reasonably well-positioned for the accident, with significant visible smoke just prior to landing in tall scrub, brush and trees.


Harvey Morgan II, Photo

ANN will keep updating this story with information as we obtain it... and ask that the great family of flyers who know and appreciate the amazing work of this couple keep them foremost in their prayers.

FMI: www.franklinairshow.com

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