MCKINNEY, Texas - Cadet Tim Barber, 18, and his father Gregory are dead after a single-engine plane they were flying in was involved in a collision in McKinney, TX Saturday afternoon.
A friend of the elder Barber told ABC affiliate WFAA the two had just taken off from a county airport when another plane struck its tail. He says the two will be sorely missed in the community.
“He was an excellent and very experienced pilot,” said Keith Clifton. “These guys are the glue that holds communities together. It's a big lost but at the same time we'll carry it forward.”
Tim Barber had just entered the Air Force Academy after graduating high school as salutatorian last summer. Gregory Barber, 55, was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel
Witnesses said smoke filled the air as the planes crashed to the ground.
“It was horrifying watching those two planes coming out of the sky,” said Rodney Livermore. “You know they couldn't do anything or they would have pulled up.”
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The pilot of the second plane also died in the crash.
The Air Force Academy released the following statement on Monday:
"This is a tragedy for the Barbers and for those of us in their Air Force family. Our thoughts are with them as well as with their friends and loved ones. This is profoundly sad news for all of us at the Air Force Academy. We stand ready to support Cadet Barber's family and also have resources at the ready to help cadets and staff to weather our loss."