Jimmy Franklin and Bobby Younkin Midair

Vector4fun

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I saw a TV spot just a week or two ago about the "Masters of Disaster" where they really played up the "impromptu" angle of the act. The maneuvers apparently weren't all carefully choreographed as in many acts. It made me very un-easy watching the short clips...
 
T

transpondersoff

I saw Jimmy Franklin at the Frederick airshow in Maryland last year. His act was down right wicked. I could not figure out how that Waco could withstand the forces impossed by over motoring like that. It had to have one strong spar.
 

UnstableAviator

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Man I hate to see this. I always loved to watch Franklin's Waco bipe with the jet and Younkin's Lear performance.


RIP
 

icefr8dawg

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Yea, last time I saw it I kept asking, how can they not hit each other with it so un-choreographed (sp). At Sussex, NJ going behind tree lines and in-between parked planes it looked really bad as#. Probably going to miss Jimmy's inverted flat spin in the Waco the most. He'd have it beltching fire upside-down, backfiring, and counting five, six, seven, eight spinns...
 

TIS

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icefr8dawg said:
Yea, last time I saw it I kept asking, how can they not hit each other with it so un-choreographed (sp). At Sussex, NJ going behind tree lines and in-between parked planes it looked really bad as#. Probably going to miss Jimmy's inverted flat spin in the Waco the most. He'd have it beltching fire upside-down, backfiring, and counting five, six, seven, eight spinns...
Saw him do 18 turns in an inverted flat spin once.

All that stuff he'd do in his regular airshow routine used to be duplicated a couple of hours later with a wingwalker. You talk about CRAZY!
 

Crossky

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May God rest both their souls. Bobby spoke to our flying club a long long time ago and I've seen he and Jimmy Franklin fly before, insane! Both fellas were two of most memorable airshow pilots I've seen. Didn't know they were flying together though. I don't know when they died but their biplanes sure were in pieces and they impacted at a high rate of speed on the tube.
 

cargoflyr69

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What an incredible tradgedy. My condolences go out to the families and the rest of the X-team members.

I've had the opportunity to meet both of them many, many times. I have spent many evenings after the shows just hanging out with them. They will both be missed greatly in the airshow community.

Godspeed Gentelmen!
 

VNugget

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I saw the show before the addition of Younkin, and it really was as kick-ass as they say.
 

U of I Tweak

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I've seen the show a few times over the last few years and it's probably the most entertaining act I've ever seen. They went out and just looked like they were having so much fun. As my wife would say....you could nearly taste the testosterone. :) I'll miss seeing them for sure. Condolences to friends and family.
 
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Publishers

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The whine of a jet engine combined with the wires of a Waco made sweet music that is hard to duplicate. How can we know why birds sing if we do not fly. In a world where so many are afraid to get out of the boat and even try to walk on water, these two hated being in the boat and longed to soar like Eagles over the crowds. What better place to end this earthly life.
 

skid

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Two of the best guys you could ever meet, and the most entertaining airshow act ever performed. Good luck to the friends and families.
 

Lilah

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I have pretty thick skin, but this news hit me pretty hard this morning. It would probably honor Jimmy to recall some memories of a special airshow.

Fairview Oklahoma used to host what was is billed as the world's oldest "free" fly-in. Jimmy performed there since it isn't to far from his home base and had likely flown there for many, many years. I show his act twice there in the early 90's. There were four things about his show (and his performance) that really stood out.

1) His energy management - not to take anything away from Bob Hoover, but from a pilot's perspective his energy management without the jet was impressive, and I found this show more jaw-dropping. Most performers have much higher power to weight ratios than than the Waco had, and Jimmy would always find ways out of very nose high, low energy, low altitude positions in a very impressive way...

2) His rolling circle - He would do a rolling circle at such a low altitude, he would appear to go behind trees on the far side of the circle. While this may have been an illusion, it would have been an impressive turn without the rolls!

3) The "closeness" to the crowd - I don't know the legal regs for distance from the crowd to the showline, but it felt like about 300'. This combined with an estimated 60 airplanes in attendance and maybe only 2000 people there made the show feel very special. Jimmy flew as if he had 100,000 people watching at Oshkosh, and held nothing back. It was an intimate, memorable show...

4) His travel methods - It was not commonly known that his plane was trailered from show to show. This first time a buddy told me this, I was skeptical and replied he didn't know about the finer details of rigging a biplane, let alone doing it on a regular basis. Watching him take the airplane apart in an almost coreographed sequence was impressive as well.

I am saddened by the loss of two of the greatest airshow performers out there. It's a shame future enthusiasts won't have the chance to see them perform.

RIP

Lilah
 
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Ill Mitch

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Lilah said:
3) The "closeness" to the crowd - I don't know the legal regs for distance from the crowd to the showline, but it felt like about 300'. This combined with an estimated 60 airplanes in attendance and maybe only 2000 people there made the show feel very special. Jimmy flew as if he had 100,000 people watching at Oshkosh, and held nothing back. It was an intimate, memorable show...

What Jimmy had, that quite a few airshow performers don't have, is showmanship.
He had the ability to draw the crowd in and have them sitting on the edge of their figurative seats.
Both Jimmy and Bobby were from the old school of airshow performance, where it doesn't take a slick airplane with a big sponsor to put on a good show.
There are only a handful of performers left that put on a good show.

They will be missed.
 
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I saw the masters of disaster at Oshkosh 04. They were so good I actually stopped to watch.
 

skid

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did anyone ever have th chance to see Bobby's Lear act? Always wished I would have the opportunity. No one else out there would give it a go. Also his act in the big Beech was amazing. Seeing the big black bird go through the big loops and rolls while beltching out tons of smoke.

I had an opportunity to meet Jimmy in Reno a few years ago. One of the most down to earth and funniest guys I have ever met. They will be missed.
 

EagleRJ

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I've seen Jim and Bobby several times doing their solo acts, and I've seen the Masters show once (can't remember where). It was pure crowd entertainment, with Jim doing his jet-assisted vertical climbs, thundering radial engines, and the jet truck making even more noise on the ground. It was pure mayhem and sensual overload.

Jim Franklin in particular was indeed from the old school of Thrills, Chills, and Spills. His performance was always pushed right to the edge, and it wasn't unheard of for the crowd to audibly gasp during his show when they expected an imminent disaster as he recovered just in the nick of time. There was no hard deck with him- not even ten feet. I personally saw him drag a wingtip on the ground rolling out of an insanely low aileron roll. It looked like he had enough speed and altitude to avoid doing it- it appeared to be intentional. That was the kind of performer he was. The act was nothing if not memorable. His addition of a jet engine under the plane made it even more insane.

I have an idea that making smoke during the "dogfight" routine was probably not the best thing to do. Anytime you're maneuvering in such close proximity to other aircraft, you MUST maintain visual contact with them. From the video, it looked like the upper aircraft may have been obscured by its smoke trail. A lot of the Masters' flying was like the 'motorcycles in a cage' trick at the circus. Close, low, chaotic formation flying. It was wild and showy, but there was very little room for error.
 
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