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Kyle and Amanda Franklin

At Air Fiesta in Brownsville, TX on March 11th, 2011 we were wowed by the “Pirated Skies” performance. The day after I took this footage a tragic accident took place:


Here’s someone else’s video of the crash- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Suh_Lu3Zvgk

Amanda’s brother wrote:

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.





More info on the Franklin’s here: franklinairshow.com


  1. March 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Newest update from caringbridge:
    Amanda is through the first half of today’s surgery and her vital signs are very good. The doctor said she was a real trooper. She has about two more hours of surgery but every looks real very good. Kyle is doing very,very good. They are planning to start skin grafting on him soon. We will keep in touch every day or sooner if need be. Thank you for all your prayers

  2. March 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Here’s some amazing news from the family that was posted a short while ago to Franklin’s Flying Circus Facebook page:

    “Amanda’s out of surgery and everything went perfect!!! They were able to remove the majority of her burned tissue and have even started grafting procedures. This surgery was performed several days earlier than normal due to Amanda’s youth and excellent physical health. She is a real fighter and is progressing ahead of schedule.”

    “Her next surgery is scheduled for late next week at this point Kyle is recovering well and is scheduled for skin grafting surgery on Friday.”

    “Over the day or so please consider no news good news so we will likely not post again unless something changes for the next several days. Thank you ant.ll again for the support and prayers.”

    I don’t know about you but I couldn’t help but cry when I heard the above from Matt. Amanda is an amazing woman and I have faith that she will make terrific progress. Keep praying and sending healing thoughts – it’s working!!!

    I would like to send out a huge thank you to Matt Jolly of Warbird Radio for dedicating today’s show as a “Get Well Soon Show.” I wasn’t able to listen in (and I probably won’t listen since I was so emotional choked up when I was trying to talk) prior to when I called in, but the callers I did hear and the emails he read were terrific. They were a prime example of all of the wonderful emails I have been receiving on behalf of the Franklins and Younkins. Please check out his site, http://www.warbirdradio.com, for instructions on downloading the podcast. Feel free to stop listening right when I call in!

    Love to all!

  3. Tim
    March 21, 2011 at 6:17 am

    i had driven 6 hrs to Oshkosh and had from about 10:30 to 4:00 to take in everything i possibly could there. I was making my way towards the ultralights when i saw a biplane in the distance. There are so many things to take in that i really didnt think to much of it. As it got closer the announcer was saying something about some kind of pirates . .. .then i saw some chickie on top of the wing. As they flew around doing the show i saw her in a pose lunging a sword. It was just plain fun to watch and get into the story. at the end, when they were flying by the pilot reached out of the cockpit and she reached down and they klinked their swords. Was really way cool! When they came in for a landing i tried to run down to where they parked the plane to find out more about who that was. but it was just to far away. I did manage to find out it was a husband and wife team that were related to the people that did that Masters of Disaster airshow with the Waco with the jet engine under it. Well, anyway, when i got home and was talking with all my friends at the airport here, i was telling them all about the sky pirate act. Was sooo sad about this crash. Its a very unique act my thoughts and prayers go out to Kyle and Amanda. You guys really gave us a lot and praying for the best for You!

  4. March 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Good morning all!

    Kyle & Amanda’s story appeared on the Today Show this morning at 0730 EST. It was a very touching piece that showed the accident, interviewed a first responder and Kyle, and then allowed the two to meet. During Kyle’s interview he discussed the full extent of Amanda’s injuries.

    Please understand I was not at liberty to discuss the full extent without Kyle’s permission. Within a few minutes of the accident, word spread that it was a fatality on both parts so it was Matt’s intention to get word out immediately that they were both indeed alive and stable. Until this morning, all I was authorized to say was that Amanda was stable from a day-to-day basis.

    Kyle posted the following to Franklin’s Flying Circus Facebook page:

    Up to this point most people did not no the extent of Amanda’s injuries, that was because we were still finding them out ourselves.

    As of today Amanda is in “stabilized” condition but please keep in mind that “stabilized” does not necessarily mean “stable”, she remains in the Burn Intensive Care Unit.

    She sustained a significant inhalation injury from inhaling smoke and fire, because of this, she has a breathing tube and a machine helping her breath.

    She is burned on almost 70% of her body. 64% of which are “Full Thickness” or “3rd Degree” burns. This includes her face.

    She sustained numerous fractures to her face and orbital bones around her eyes. As fare as they can tell she can still see fine.

    She also sustained fractures to her neck and back. In other words she has a broken neck and back but at this time she does not appear to be paralyzed.

    That is the bulk of her major injuries and there are many more that I will not list. But the good news is she’s young, healthy, athletic, in great shape and she’s a fighter. The doctors keep bragging on how strong she is and how well she did in her 1st surgery. Amanda goes back in for her 2nd surgery tomorrow morning around 7am. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I will let you know how things go tomorrow.


    If you would like to help Amanda please donate at ether of the fallowing two fund sites http://www.moonlightfund.org “Franklin Fund” (tax deductible) or http://www.icasfoundation.org “The Kyle and Amanda Fund” (non tax deductible)

    Thank you for all your support, prayers and God bless you all.

  5. Dan
    March 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    My wishes go out to Amanda, and thank you Kyle for your quick thinking actions in the face of death, that brought you and Amanda back to the ground. No need for me to tell you that the outcome could have been much much worse!!! Amanda is still with you and fromthe looks of things, she will in fact make a miraculous recovery!!! She looks like a strong fighter!!!

  6. April 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Amanda is still doing well. She breathed for 8 hours on her own yesterday which is a great sign. They have been moving her around a lot, sitting her in a chair and performing other physical therapy on her. They’ve also been changing her bandages a lot, including her facial bandages. They said her face looks good. I really feel for her because I know bandage changes do not feel good and that was just on my arm. Her pain meds have been lightened up for her to be more responsive during therapy.

    Amanda said her first words yesterday, sadly they were “Help Me.”Amanda has always had a extremely high pain tolerance so for her to say that really breaks my heart. Another concern that was brought up was whether or not she would be able to have children because of scarring on her stomach area. 2012 was to be Amanda’s final wingwalking season because we had planned on starting a family. I am hoping we still can.

    They postponed her surgery today till Monday to give her skin graphs more time to heal. That brings up something that a lot of you have been asking. “Can I donate my skin to Amanda?” To all of you who have offered that is a amazing and selfless gesture and I thank you. But, I have talked with the doctors and they normally use cadaver skin because for a live person to donate that person would have to go threw a surgery similar to mine and be in the hospital for about two weeks. It’s just easier to use cadaver skin because either way Amanda’s body is going to reject it in a week or two. They just use the donor skin to cover the wound till they can cover it with her own skin. But again thank you all for the offer.

    That is about all I have for you all today. I will let you know of any changes in her condition.

    Thank You,


  7. April 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Better news today still not great but better. They said her wounds looked okay today. Infections are going down for the moment, the biopsies on the spots on her arm came back as not a big deal. So some good news. However they will be taking her in again tomorrow to clean her again and the “battle” over the rest of her scalp skin goes mostly to her “Body” doctor. Amanda’s “Facial” and “Body” doctors have been fighting over what was left of her scalp skin. Her “Facial” doctor had used half of it to graph to her face but isn’t finished with her face. (The first graph from the scalp is the best for the face.) Her “Body” doctor wants whats left to graph to her body’s open wounds. Being Amanda has very little good skin to graph this has been a problem. Her “Body” doctor did make the point if she doesn’t survive her wounds it doesn’t matter what her face looks like. Which is hard to argue with. We will see exactly how all this turns out. As we all have found things can change very quickly.

    Amanda was not real responsive when I went to see her today. She’s been through a lot this past week and I can see it’s taking it’s toll on her. Hopefully things will go well the next few days and she doesn’t have to go through this cleaning crap again.

    Sorry for the really late post. A good friend came down and got me out of here for awhile.

    Let you all know how things go tomorrow.

    Goodnight, God bless,

    Kyle 4-19-11

  8. May 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Sad news…Amanda passed away. Prayers for Kyle.

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