When he’s flying, Kyle Franklin can’t see the faces of people on the ground. But reactions from the crowd are why he’s up there.

The stunt pilot, who learned to fly at age 8, will bring his custom-built biplane, called “Dracula,” to the Pikes Peak Regional Air Show this weekend.

“I love that people get such a thrill from watching it,” Franklin said. “They’re like, ‘This is the craziest thing we have ever seen.’ That’s what makes me want to continue to do this.”

Franklin’s Dracula is just one act participating in the third iteration of the air show, which was last held in 2017 .

With the theme “Jets and Warbirds,” the two-day event will feature more than 40 aircraft — from modern planes to classic warbirds — to see in action. The show also includes the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor Demonstration team, a KidZone and the “Rise Above” exhibit about the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the country’s first black military pilots and fought in WWII.

Fort Carson will show its Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, and flying demonstrations include the F-22A Raptor, the Air Force’s fifth-generation stealth tactical fighter aircraft, which can reach 1,200 mph.

It’s a combination of sights fit for fans of the history of flight as well as those who love “the rumbling roar” of flying machines, says John Henry, show spokesman.

“There’s a lot to be fascinated by,” he said. “People are always fascinated by aircraft and the history of it all. The biggest element is it’s just great fun. It’s completely entertaining for virtually any age.”

Franklin knows that firsthand. He has been around air shows his whole life and has taken over his father’s business, called Franklin’s Flying Circus. His grandfather was also a stunt pilot.

Franklin describes his high-energy aerobatics show with Dracula as having “lots of smoke, lots of noise, lots of tumbles.”

“If you love flying and love planes like I do, it’s a good show,” he said.

Proceeds from the air show go toward the National Museum of World War II Aviation, the 4th Infantry Division Museum at Fort Carson and the Peterson Air Force Base Air and Space Museum.

Amanda Hancock, The Gazette,


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