MCKINNEY -- Two communities are mourning the loss of three people after two small planes collided mid-air over McKinney Saturday.

Gregory Barber, 55, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and his son 18-year old Tim Barber of Farmersville were two of the victims who died.

Gregory and Tim Barber 
Gregory and Tim Barber 

Longtime friend and business partner Keith Clifton says Barber had just taken off from Aero Country Airport on Saturday 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.

"He was an excellent and very experienced pilot," Clifton told News 8. "Just wonderful people, the glue that holds communities together."

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

Family friends confirmed to News 8 that the pilot of the other aircraft was Robert Navar, 48, of Frisco.

Remnants of Navar's aircraft was removed from a storage facility by the National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday.

Additional NTSB investigators are expected to be on the ground in McKinney on Monday, according to the agency.


The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the crash happened near Aero Country Airport, in the 500 block of North Custer Road near Virginia, just after 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

"Both aircraft were flying under Visual Flight Rules and were not in contact with air traffic control at the time of the collision," Lynn Lunsford with the FAA said. McKinney police described the scene as "widespread".

WFAA viewer Chad Bloemker sent us this video from the scene:

  • Go here if you can't see the video

Bloemker tells WFAA he was driving north on Custer Road when he saw the two planes collide. One of them came down spiraling nose-first, he said. He said the planes were flying low to the ground, and they crashed in a very populated area. Witnesses say one of the planes crashed in the parking lot of a Home Depot.%INLINE%

By 6 p.m. the fire from the plane in the video had been put out by crews, Bloemker said.

Police are asking people to stay away from Custer and Virginia as they investigate. The FAA is on scene investigating and is coordinating with the National Transportation Safety Board. %INLINE%

Check back for more on this developing story.