Second generation airshow pilot Kyle Franklin was awarded the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship during an annual ceremony on Tuesday evening of EAA AirVenture 2017 in Oshkosh, WI.
The Bill Barber Award for Showmanship began in 1986, and is awarded to air show performers or teams that have demonstrated great skill and showmanship. World Airshow News magazine and the friends and family of the late Bill Barber present the award annually.
Kyle is now in his 20th year of performing in airshows. He got his start in the industry by wingwalking on his late father’s Waco biplane at age 17 – the youngest ever. He’s also known for being the first jet biplane wingwalker, creating his popular pirate-themed act “Pirated Skies,” and performing the motorcycle to airplane transfer act.
Today, Franklin flies his popular “Dracula” biplane performances and Super Cub comedy act at airshows across the nation. He performed his “stolen” Cub act twice during the week at AirVenture, and took one of our cameras along for a harrowing ride on Tuesday. Thanks to Chris Desmond for the help with the footage!
We also filmed Kyle’s act from the ground, where you can really see how much skill he has as he throws the aircraft all over the sky (and sometimes the ground) while remaining in complete control.
While accepting the award, Kyle remembered those who he grew up with in the airshow industry, including his parents and his late wife Amanda Franklin, and thanked them for their help in getting him to where he is today.
Kyle joins his father, Jimmy Franklin who was awarded with the award in 1989. Kyle and Jimmy are the second father and son to receive the Bill Barber Award. Bobby Younkin (2004) and his son Matt (2012) were the first.