Air Show Accidents Claim Three Lives
Todd Green on his first wing walk with Kyle Franklin. Courtesy Franklin’s Flying Circus.
From left to right: Bryan Jensen, Kevin Kimball, Mirco Pecorari, Jim Taylor.
August 23, 2011 – Bryan Jensen, best known for flying his Pitts Model 12 dubbed The Beast, was lost when he impacted the ground during an air show in Kansas City August 20. On the same day in England Red Arrows pilot Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging died after trying to eject at a low altitude after breaking formation and calling a mayday. The next day at Selfridge Air Force base near Detroit, Michigan, wing walker Todd Green fell during an aircraft helicopter mid-air transfer.
“I'm ready for this year to be over! I lost three good airshow friends this weekend,” Kyle Franklin wrote in a Facebook post. Franklin had just recently returned to air show performing after the death of his wife, Amanda, following an air show accident earlier this year. “My sympathies go out to all their families and friends. I know it's of little comfort but they were doing what they loved. God speed my friends.”
Jensen, 50, began flying when he was just 13 and had logged more than 23,000 hours of flight time. In addition to moonlighting as an air show pilot in his Model 12, Jensen flew 747s for Delta Airlines.
Jensen was at AirVenture 2011, his airplane proudly displayed in front of the IAC's Vicki Cruse Pavilion during the week. While there, IAC volunteer Jim Taylor assembled a model of The Beast and displayed it next to its full-scale inspiration. Along with Jim Taylor and his models, EAA snapped a photo of Jensen with his airplane; its builder, Kevin Kimball; and Mirco Pecorari, who designed the paint scheme.
Green, son of air show legend Eddie “The Grip” Green, was attempting to transfer from a Stearman flown by John Mohr to the skid of a helicopter above, flown by Roger Buis. The maneuver is the signature portion of the act. Green grabbed for the helicopter skid before he fell approximately 200 feet. He was transported to a nearby hospital but it was confirmed that he died from injuries sustained from the fall.
Memorial services are planned Thursday (August 25) for both Bryan Jensen and Todd Green.
The KC Aviation Expo and Air Show has established a scholarship in Bryan Jensen’s memory. To make a contribution, send a check to Mid-America Youth Aviation Association, P.O. Box 681118, Kansas City, Missouri 64168-1118, or call the KC Air Show offices at 816-289-7218.
The Todd Green Memorial Fund has been established to assist the college education of Todd’s son, Tyler Goff. Contributions can be sent to Eddie Green, 11070 McGregor Road, Pinckney, Michigan 48169.