Kyle Franklin, One Year Later

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Amanda Younkin Franklin died from injuries she sustained in a crash with her husband Kyle Franklin nearly one year ago, and at the 2012 Sun 'n Fun fly-in we had the opportunity to ask Kyle how he's doing. Kyle was at the back of the airshow performers' hangar when AVweb's Glenn Pew found him. The two spoke for about half an hour. Kyle still wears the scars on his right hand and forearm that he earned trying to free his wife from the burning forward cockpit. And two on his head where he hit the instrument panel. Most of his lesser burns have healed well. When asked about his choice to continue performing, Kyle answered, "This is what I've been doing my whole life. I don't know anything else to do. And I'm going to keep doing it." Kyle is flying this year and has plans for more work on the airshow circuit.

Kyle Franklin and Amanda Younkin married in 2005, just a few months after they both lost their fathers to the same midair crash at the Saskatchewan Air Show. The husband-and-wife team rebuilt their lives together. In 2009 they debuted a wingwalking act and performed it at airshows until early 2011. On March 12, 2011, two days before Amanda's 25th birthday, their biplane Mystery Ship lost power during a maneuver. Amanda was still up on the wing at the time and managed to get back inside before impact. Kyle made a survivable off-airport landing, but a fire broke out in the forward cockpit. Kyle was in the rear cockpit, free of flames. He was badly burned on his right hand and forearm reaching into the flames in an unsuccessful attempt to free his wife. Amanda died from her injuries two months later on May 27, 2011.