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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin

March 14, 1986 – May 27, 2011

Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin, 25, of Neosho, Missouri, passed away at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, on May 27, 2011, due to complications from burns received in an aviation accident. Amanda was born on March 14, 1986, in Springdale, Arkansas, to Jeanie and the late Bobby Younkin. She was a very accomplished gymnast, musician, animal welfare advocate, and aviation enthusiast. After learning to fly at the age of 16, Amanda became an accomplished multiengine and tailwheel pilot; she became proficient in over 15 different types of airplanes.

As a little girl, Amanda traveled with her father, Bobby, to air shows across the country. It was in these venues that she was first exposed to air show wingwalking and met the future love of her life, wingwalker Kyle Franklin. She and Kyle started dating on May 22, 2004. The couple traveled the air show circuit with their fathers as Kyle continued his wingwalking career. They were married on October 18, 2005, and along with her brother Matt, took over the multifamily air show business that their fathers left behind. Amanda had managed the brothers’ air show sponsors and bookings since 2005. She became Matt’s full-time announcer in 2007 and Kyle’s full-time wingwalker in 2009.

Watch EAA’s tribute video to Amanda Franklin below.

Amanda was patriotic and had the utmost respect for those who put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect our freedom. She joined the Commemorative Air Force and also participated for several years in a World War II style pinup calendar to help preserve the heritage of our country’s fallen heroes. Amanda was also a huge supporter of women in aviation. As one herself, she coached and encouraged young girls that she spoke with at air shows to pursue their dreams of becoming a pilot and to never let anyone hold them back. She was a member of the Arkansas chapter of the Ninety-Nines, a group of women pilots that dates back to the 1930s. 

Amanda made a huge impact in a short amount of time on millions of aviation patrons, air show fans, and humanity in general. She inspired millions from the young to the young at heart with her amazing wingwalking feats, charming personality, and calendar girl smile. She will be sorely missed by countless people the world over.

She is survived by her husband, Kyle Franklin of Neosho, Missouri, mother Jeanie Younkin of Fayetteville, Arizona, brother and sister-in-law Matt and Michelle Younkin and niece Kimberly of Siloam Springs, Arizona, grandfather Jim Younkin and his wife, Ada, and extended family, all of Fayetteville, Arkansas, mother-in-law Audean Stroud and her husband, Steve, of Ruidoso, New Mexico, and the Franklin extended family. She is also survived by her “four-legged children,” Rocky, Rambo, Marvin, and Peggy. In addition to grandparents, Amanda was preceded in death by her father, Bobby Younkin, and father-in-law Jimmy Franklin.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, June 7, at the First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Interment followed at the Fairview Memorial Gardens Cemetery, also in Fayetteville.

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