Well-known air show pilots Jim Franklin and Bobby Younkin were killed July 10 when their airplanes collided during a performance in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
The fiery crash happened in front of thousands of people. No one on the ground was injured. Spectators reported that it appeared the planes’ wings clipped each other.
The air show was cancelled immediately and a hush fell over the crowd.
Franklin, 56, and Younkin, 46, were performing a mock World War I dogfight as part of their popular “Masters of Disaster” air show act. Pilot Jim LeRoy was also in the air at the time of the crash. He was able to land safely.
Younkin and Franklin are remembered by their peers as skilled and careful pilots with thousands of hours of experience.
Franklin, of Neosho, Mo., was best known for his vintage Waco biplane that included a jet engine for greater climb performance. Often his son Kyle, who was a wingwalker, performed with him. Kyle was on the ground announcing the show when the accident happened.
Younkin, of Springdale, Ark., flew a variety of aircraft in air shows through the years, including a Beech 18 and the Samson biplane.
Both men, along with LeRoy, were scheduled to perform at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2005.
The cause of the crash has not been determined. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.