If you saw a drunk man running to a plane at an air show, what would you do? Well, if the “drunk” man is epic aerial acrobat Kyle Franklin, you sit back and prepare to witness the show of a lifetime.
Franklin is a member of the Franklin Family Flying Circus, an act started decades ago by Franklin’s father, Jimmy. As part of his portfolio of aerial stunts, he has what’s known as the “Wing-Tip Draggin’ Comedy Act.”
Franklin is probably more adept at explaining it than I am: “This one-of-a kind wild and crazy comedy act puts Kyle Franklin as Ben Whabnaski, the annoying drunk who wants his airplane ride that was promised to him,” Franklin says on his website.
“Much different from your typical flying farmer routine, this routine will get everyone on their feet and roaring with laughter. The effort and skill Kyle displays is amazing to say the least. Most pilots only put a wingtip on the ground during ground loops.
“Kyle Franklin does it for fun so often, that his cub (Piper PA-18 Supercub, the airplane Franklin is flying) needs skid plates taped on the wingtips! This is truly a show stealing act.”
And a plane-stealing act, too, by the looks of things! I wonder how many people were fooled into thinking that Franklin really was a dangerous drunk rushing headlong toward a plane and then getting it into the air. This video was originally posted to Vimeo five years ago, but from what we can tell from Franklin’s website, he’s still doing the act.
Of course, an act like this requires massive amounts of skill, and that’s clearly apparent from the prowess Franklin demonstrates. Just because Kyle was stone sober doesn’t mean there wasn’t any danger in what he was doing. According to Flying, the Franklin Family Flying Circus has borne the loss of both Kyle’s father and wife in air accidents.
That hasn’t stopped Kyle, though. “There was never a doubt in my mind if I would ever fly again, and I refused to let the Franklin name retire from the industry with a tragedy,” Franklin said.
And with talent like this, thank God he didn’t.
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