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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Amanda Franklin's Obituary

Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin, 25, of Neosho, MO., passed away at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, on May 27, 2011, due to complications from burns received in an aviation accident.

Amanda was born on March 14, 1986 in Springdale, AR., 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 multi-engine and tail wheel pilot; she became proficient in over 15 different types of airplanes.

As a little girl, Amanda traveled with her father Bobby to airshows across the country. It was there that she was first exposed to airshow 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 airshow 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 multi-family airshow business that their fathers left behind. Amanda had managed the brothers’ airshow sponsors and bookings since 2005. She became Matt’s full-time announcer in 2007 and Kyle’s full-time wingwalker in 2009.

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 Two 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 airshows to pursue their dreams of becoming a pilot and to never let anyone hold them back. She was a member of the Arkansas ninety-nines, a group of women pilots that dates back to the nineteen thirties. Amanda made a huge impact in a short amount of time on millions of aviation patrons, airshow 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, MO., mother Jeanie Younkin of Fayetteville, AR, brother and sister-in-law Matt and Michelle Younkin and niece Kimberly of Siloam Springs, AR, grandfather Jim Younkin and his wife Ada of Fayetteville AR, and extended family, all of Fayetteville AR, mother-in-law Audean Stroud and her husband Steve of Ruidoso, NM, and the Franklin extended family. She was 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 will be held 10:00 Tuesday, June 7 at the First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, AR. Interment will follow at the Fairview Memorial Gardens Cemetery also in Fayetteville. There will be a reception at the Fayetteville Country Club to follow. An online RSVP is requested for those wanting to attend the reception, please go to for more information.

In lieu of flowers, Amanda would insist that you donate to your local ASPCA, Humane Society, or Animal Shelter.


  1. As a long time and frequent spectator at air shows, I have been following this blog hoping for the best and am so sad to read this news. Amanda did what she loved, and she like her father, thrilled, entertained and gave joy to many.


  2. So true, Lance. Amanda lived her life to the fullest, impacted many lives, and loved well. Quite an accomplishment in 25 short years!