Pilot communication probed in McKinney crash

Plane Crash Victims

MCKINNEY, Texas - The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board may have a preliminary report on the midair crash here complete by early next week.

On Tuesday, the remains of both planes were removed from Collin County to a secure hangar at an undisclosed location in North Texas for further analysis.

While that grim work continues, those closest to the three men who died are sharing their stories.

Robert Navar of Frisco was piloting the plane that crashed into a storage facility.

Three longtime friends sat down with WFAA to talk about the buddy they first met when they pledged in the same business fraternity at The University of Texas at Austin back in the early 90's..

"When I first met him I thought he was the most interesting man alive," John Alday said.

John Alday said his friend Bob was already a pilot while he was still a teenager.

Alday along with Dean Sutliffe were in the same pledge class with Navar and stayed close in the succeeding years.

"You think of him and you just see that bright smile," Sutliffe said.

Former fraternity brother Gene Pilkington is a Frisco firefighter now, so when two planes collided in McKinney and Navar's wife called him saying she couldn't reach her husband, Pilkington responded.

"To go out there and see the planes and just with hope that it's not Bob and then just getting the realization that maybe it is, it was just devastating," Pilkington said.

Investigators this week will try and put together as many pieces of information to come up with a picture of what took place in the moments before the crash.

Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel Gregory "Spanky" Barber, 55 and his son Tim, 18, a freshman at the Air Force Academy, perished in the other plane that crashed in the southbound lanes of Custer Road, just east of Aero Country Airport.

ABC News senior aviation analyst John Nance says the information sought will include how and if the pilots were communicating.

"Were the two pilots talking to each other or was somebody not talking because of a radio that had been turned off or whatever other reason," Nance said.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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