Franklin Crash Investigation Update
Investigators have found anomalies with a fuel servo on Kyle and Amanda Franklin's Waco UPF-7 biplane as they probe the March 12 crash landing and fire. The 1940 biplane was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985. That engine was supplied by Tulsa Aircraft Engines, which is one of the few outfits that specialize in repairing the type. The NTSB chose the company's facility to host its examination of the engine. It found that the engine itself may have been capable of functioning normally prior to impact, but investigators couldn't say the same for the fuel servo.
"It didn't come within specifications on a couple of settings," NTSB investigator Aaron Sauer told Oklahoma's NewsOn6.com. That means the investigation will continue on to Precision Airmotive, which acquired Bendix Corporation (and its fuel servos) in 1988. The engine may not be completely off the hook yet, because its bottom two cylinders were damaged during impact and were replaced so that the engine could be started and tested. The crash injured both Kyle and Amanda, mainly when fire spread after impact. Kyle was able to escape but reached into the fire while attempting to free his wife, who was trapped in the forward cockpit. Kyle has since been discharged from the hospital, but his wife is still there, recovering from third-degree burns that cover 70 percent of her body.