An Air Force Academy cadet and his veteran father died Saturday in a fiery plane collision over Texas.
According to news from the academy, the collision happened midair Saturday close to McKinney, Texas, while Cadet 4th Class Timothy Barber was on leave. He was flying with his father, Greg Barber, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, The Colorado Springs Gazette reports.
Both were on Christmas break.
“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,” academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said in a statement. “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.”
Barber family spokesman Keith Clifton said that although Greg Barber was a proficient pilot, no aircraft can fly without its tail.
“He was an extremely accomplished pilot,” Clifton said. “It’s an accident. They call it that for a reason. “A plane just won’t fly without his tail. He got clipped by the other plane. It’s a tragedy for everyone on that.”
“He just started at the academy and ended his first semester there,” Clifton said, referring to Timothy. “He wanted to be a pilot as well.”
The CBS affiliate in Dallas reported that eyewitnesses said one of the planes clipped the other, a Cessna, and took off its tail.
Since the local airport is small, there is no traffic control tower.
One other person died in the crash, who was in the other private plane. That person has not yet been identified.
The National Transportation Safety Board has started an investigation to try and get to the bottom of how the crash occurred.
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