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Mon, Jul 11, 2005

Aero-News Alert: Jimmy Franklin, Bobby Younkin Lost In Moose Jaw MidAir

Horrible Weekend For Airshows

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 0029, 07.11.05: This is one of those stories I never thought I'd have to do... but a tragic and fiery midair collision during a presentation of the "Masters of Disaster" airshow routine has resulted in two fatalities and a reported injury after the three airplanes ran afoul of each other. The incident occurred at 1620, local time.

It has now been confirmed that both Jimmy Franklin, a truly legendary airshow performer, and Bobby Younkin, a greatly accomplished flyer, have been lost in this staggeringly catastrophic crash. Both Younkin's and Franklin's death has now been confirmed in national media reports. The airshow was canceled immediately after the accident.

Both Younkin's 'Samson' and Franklin's Jet Waco biplanes (first pic, below) were brought down and destroyed while a third, Jim Leroy's 'Bulldog', apparently got down to the ground under some kind of control. Unfortunately, Franklin's son Kyle, who had just finished a wing-walking performance with his dad, was announcing the act when the midair occurred.

According to published reports, Bobby Younkin was scheduled to be flying "Samson" (second photo, shown below) while we have determined that it was Franklin's Waco that went down. The third, surviving, airplane was as Jim LeRoy's Bulldog (third photo, below).

The accident took place at this year's 2005 Saskatchewan Centennial Airshow, hosted by the Canadian Force's 15 Wing at Moose Jaw. The show was to have included performances by a number of military birds and a Snowbirds flight demonstration... which was to also have honored the memory of Snowbird pilot Capt. Miles Selby, lost in a training accident last year.

The Airshow site released a statement a short ago while that reported, "At approximately 16:20, the Air Show was brought to an unexpected halt after two pilots from Masters Of Disaster were killed in a collision mid-flight. The planes were Samson and Waco. The pilots names will be released once the next of kin have been informed. Bulldog was able to make a safe landing and emergency crews responded immediately. The accident is currently under investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those involved."

Additional: Delaware MidAir Kills Two Practicing Formation

In a related story, a six-ship formation flight, conducted as practice for a Delaware airshow has apparently resulted in yet another midair, bringing down two experimental-amateur built aircraft. One pilot is now confirmed dead and has been identified as Jay Blume, 39, of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, flying a Rutan-designed Long-Ez. The other aircraft, a Van's RV-8, is registered to Ralph D. Morgan of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. His condition or involvement in the actual accident has not yet been determined. All six aircraft were members of a local formation flying team, known as the 'Vultures.'

ANN will have more info for you as soon as possible.

[ANN Thanks our good buddy, Fly-Low's Ralph McCormick, for the airshow pic of Franklin and Leroy, above.]

FMI: www.saskatchewanairshow.com, www.xteamairshows.com, www.franklinairshow.com, www.younkinair.com, www.bulldogairshows.com,

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