January 3, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Photo credit Larry Raulston. Courtesy of Franklin's Flying Circus & Airshow.
After nine long years of work, Kyle Franklin of Franklin’s Flying Circus is unveiling a new aircraft in the fleet, a Demon-1 Biplane named Dracula, just in time for the 2013 airshow season. Franklin finished building Dracula and started the engine on Nov. 16.
Dracula was an aircraft Franklin and his father started working on back in 2004. “It’s a one-of-a-kind aircraft that looks a lot like the Waco Mystery Ship that has been in my family for more than 45 years,” he said. “ Dracula is 20 percent smaller than the Waco. I wanted something that had the look and sound of the old-time barnstormer aircraft that also featured the modern accessories of newer aircraft.”
The aircraft flies beautifully, said Franklin. “It has a new lightweight propeller by MT that is 80 pounds lighter than the old prop. We have the very first direct port, fuel injected 985 Pratt & Whitney engine,” he said. “We can do more gyroscopic and tumbling maneuvers, plus we still have the smoke, the noise and the look of yesteryear.”
Dracula makes its debut at the Balloon & SkyFest in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., April 6 and 7. “I did that show last year and it’s a great show that’s right before Sun ’n Fun,” he said. “It gives me time to learn to fly the aircraft and see its capabilities.”
The new Dracula show will keep with the Franklin tradition, he said. “It will have the smoke and noise, along with a Dracula theme, including my costume,” he said. “My character is Vacul. The show will have hard-pounding music and a Hollywood flair. It’s everything people like to see at an airshow.” See Dracula’s 2013 schedule.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
Prolific helicopter manufacturer Robinson saw lower sales in 2014 on weak global demand, but a new engine deal and some aircraft options indicate a strong future.
Declaring this “a time for disruptors,” flamboyant MD Helicopters owner Lynn Tilton vowed to keep her storied company moving forward into her second decade of ownership.
Bell Helicopter put a new engine in its 407, got a larger payload, and upgraded avionics. It attracted a new customer.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>