Three identified in midair collision over McKinney involving two small planes

Three dead in mid-air collision over McKinney on Saturday
Three dead in mid-air collision over McKinney on Saturday Courtesy

A retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and his 18-year-old son, himself attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., both of Farmersville, were among the three people who died in the two-plane collision over McKinney Saturday.

Gregory Barber, 55, and his son, Tim Barber, were two of the victims, a family friend confirmed for WFAA television. The Federal Aviation Administration said the accident occurred about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Keith Clifton, a longtime friend and business partner, told the television station that the Barber’s had just taken off from Aero Country airport and was entering the first turn when his single-engine aircraft was struck in the tail. The plane crashed into the southbound lanes of Custer Road, according to the report.

“He was an excellent and very experienced pilot,” Clifton told WFAA. “Just wonderful people, the glue that holds communities together.”

The elder Barber was a scout master in Collin County with Boy Scouts of America for decades, Clifton said. He said Tim Barber was an Eagle Scout, having entered the Air Force Academy after graduating as salutatorian from Farmersville High School in 2016.

Family friends told WFAA that the pilot of the other aircraft was Robert Navar, 48, of Frisco.

The midair crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Lynn Lunsford, an FAA spokesman, said neither aircraft was in contact with air traffic control at the time, and both were flying under visual flight rules.

Motorists were asked by McKinney police to avoid the area of Custer Road and Virginia Parkway while they worked the plane crash.

Chad Bloemker, a motorist driving north on Custer Road, told a WFAA reporter that he saw one plane come down nose-first. WFAA credits Bloemker with shooting the video in the above tweet. The planes were flying low and crashed in a densely populated area, according to WFAA reporting.

One of the planes crashed in a storage facility near a Home Depot parking lot, according to published reports.

Staff writer Sandra Baker contributed to this report.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3