Photos: Franklin’s Flying Circus Through the Years

Air show performer Kyle Franklin is an extraordinary aviator in his own right, but his flying roots span three generations.

As Franklin's Family Circus neared its 50th anniversary Flying magazine featured Kyle, who continues the legacy of his father, Jimmy, and grandfather Zip.

Kyle learned to fly at 8 years old and went on to become the youngest professional wing walker at the age of 17, when he first climbed atop the family's Waco UPF-7, Mystery Ship. Today he performs in airshows with his highly customized biplane, Dracula.

Learn the history of this flying family in the photos below.

Zip Franklin in front of what was the world’s only 1929 Doyle Special (O-3 Oriole) powered by a Chevrolair D-4 Martin 333 engine with modifications. This was Zip’s first airplane as well as the first aircraft ever made by Doyle Aero. Zip bought the airplane for $325 in 1936, the year this photo was taken. Courtesy Kyle Franklin
Airshow performer Jimmy Franklin pulls his newly modified Waco UPF-7 that sports a Pratt & Whitney R-985. In 1977, when this photo was taken, the airplane was known as the Jolly Roger but would later become the Mystery Ship. Courtesy Kyle Franklin
Third-generation airshow performer Kyle Franklin in his Demon-1 Franklin Aircraft, Dracula. Jon Whittle
The three generations of Franklin's Flying Circus pose for a photo in the 1970s. Courtesy Kyle Franklin
Kyle Franklin says he built Dracula in the memory of his wife, Amanda, and his father, both of whom died tragically. Jon Whittle
Kyle stands on the wings of his father's plane at 6 years old. Courtesy Kyle Franklin
Jimmy and Kyle Franklin in their airshow outfits in 1999. Courtesy Kyle Franklin
Kyle Franklin now has his own airshow routine in Dracula. Jon Whittle
A young Kyle Franklin watches his dad, Jimmy. Courtesy Kyle Franklin
Kyle Franklin flies the Waco Mystery Ship with Amanda Younkin-Franklin on the wing in a routine called "Pirated Skies." The Mystery Ship, beloved by both Jimmy and Kyle, was damaged in 2011 and is currently being repaired. Courtesy Kyle Franklin
Kyle Franklin continues the legacy of Franklin's Flying Circus in Dracula. Jon Whittle
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