DAYTON INT'L AIRPORT, Ohio (WDTN) - Stunt pilot Kyle Franklin has lost four close family members in air show crashes, most recently his wife Amanda. His father, grandfather, and father-in-law also died in plane crashes, yet Franklin still flies.
He told 2 NEWS he welcomes what investigators learn about Saturday's crash at the Vectren Dayton Air Show. Not only did he know Jane Wicker, but she worked with him on a safety feature used in some aircraft today.
Franklin's wife, a wing walker, died from injuries she suffered as a result of an accident at an air show in Brownsville, Texas two years ago.
The two gave an interview to 2 news when they performed at the Dayton Air Show in July 2010, just a year before their crash.
Investigators determined the cause of their crash was mechanical failure. However, it was the fire that followed that seriously burned Kyle and Amanda. Franklin told 2 NEWS he respects the work of the National Transportation Safety Board and can't speculate about what went wrong Saturday. I spoke with him by phone.
Franklin said he has great faith in the NTSB. "They look at, that's one reason these findings take so long. They start from day one between video, eyewitnesses and then they take the wreckage and and look over everything, make sure they're looking at mechanical failure and everything, make sure the pilot was in good condition and all these different things, so that's one reason why it takes so long for them to prepare their accident report because they meticulously go through everything," Franklin told 2 NEWS.
As a result of Franklin's crash, he came up with the "Amanda Switch" named after his late wife. The device was designed to lessen the chance that fire would follow a crash. Franklin worked not only with the FAA on its development but with Jane Wicker as well, the wing walker who was killed on Saturday.
Franklin explained it this way, "When an engine comes to a stop or in a sudden impact situation the switch will disconnect any pumps that are running, any electrical pumps that are running on the airplane to hopefully prevent a fire."
It's too soon to know if WIcker's plane had an "Amanda Switch" or if it would have made a difference in the accident. The NTSB told me what is left of Wicker's plane will eventually be released to the owner, but for now the wreckage remains at the Dayton International airport.
"Once we find out what the cause was with Jane's we'll look at how, if there's anything we can do to try to hopefully never have this happen again," expressed Franklin.
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