...As The Tribute Begins

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The Masters of Disaster have become one of the most sought after acts in the air show business and thrilled crowds at EAA AirVenture last year. They thrilled us. The team, including Jimmy Franklin (known best for his wing-walking acts and jet-biplane); Bobby Younkin (who flew the biplane Samson, a Decathalon, Beech and a Lear Jet each in separate air show performances); Jim LeRoy ("the Bulldog" in his yellow Pitts); Les Shockley (of jet-truck fame) and more had been scheduled for Oshkosh again this year. In a very late night interview from his Oshkosh area home on Sunday EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told AVweb the industry has lost two of its very best ambassadors. "Both as pilots and as people, they were the best," Knapinski said. "They were incredible pilots and incredible people." The tragedy hit hard in Moose Jaw, which had not that long ago mourned the death of a Snowbird pilot in a mid air collision about 50 miles from the small prairie city, which is also home to the Canadian Forces/NATO military flight training school. On Dec. 10, 2004, Capt. Miles Selby died after his CT-114 Tutor jet collided with another during practice of an opposing spiral maneuver with Capt. Chuck Mallet. Mallet was thrown free of his plane and parachuted to safety.