NTSB: Aircraft Engine From Wing Walking Crash To Be Examined In Tulsa

Wednesday, March 23rd 2011, 12:50 pm
By: News On 6


TULSA, Oklahoma -- The engine from an airplane that crashed during a wing walking act at a Texas air show will be examined by federal investigators at a Tulsa aircraft engine company.

Kyle and Amanda Franklin, a husband and wife team from Neosho, Missouri, were both hurt in the crash at the Air Fiesta 2011 air show in Brownsville, Texas on March 12, 2011.

Kyle was piloting the Waco biplane with his wife on top of the wing when the engine lost power then belched fire, forcing Kyle to make a crash landing.

The NTSB's preliminary report doesn't provide much more information, but video of the crash from multiple angles was posted on YouTube.

The duo successfully performed the same act at an air show in Tulsa on April 24, 2010.

Amanda, who had just seconds to climb down from the wing and into the front cockpit, suffered serious injuries from the impact and even worse burns from the post-impact fire.  She's being treated in the burn unit at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

The airplane, a Waco UPF-7 built in 1940, was highly modified and retrofitted with a Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine [pictured].   Pratt & Whitney produced the R-985 from 1929 to 1953, which explains why companies that specialize in rebuilding it are few and far between.

Aaron Sauer, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, says the engine from the plane will be examined on April 5, 2011 at Tulsa Aircraft Engines.

According to the Franklins' web site, the engine in the Waco was built by Tulsa Aircraft Engines.

Sauer says he hasn't had a chance to learn this particular engine's history, but says Tulsa Aircraft Engines is one of the few facilities in the country with the capabilities necessary for analyzing a Pratt & Whitney R-985.

The International Council of Air Shows has created a fund to help the Franklins recover and get on with their lives.