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Military plane from Las Vegas area base crashes after takeoff, pilot killed

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Posted at 6:17 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 22:21:44-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nellis Air Force Base officials confirm that a contractor-operated aircraft from the base has crashed near Cheyenne Avenue and Nellis Boulevard in Las Vegas, killing the pilot.

The aircraft, which National Transportation Safety Board officials have identified as a Dassault Aviation Mirage F-1, took off from the base around 2:30 p.m. today and crashed shortly after.

According to authorities, the aircraft was owned, operated, and piloted by Draken US, a Florida-based company contracted to provide adversary air support to Nellis Air Force Base.

Nellis Air Force Base is a training base that uses both military-owned and contractor-owned aircraft for simulations and training.

Draken's website says they provide, "Instructors with recent front-line experience provide high-speed, realistic training for the defense of land-based and sea-based assets."

“Draken has received news of a downed aircraft out of Nellis AFB and the tragic loss of one of our pilots. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people and families affected by this event. We are doing everything in our power to assist them in this time of need, and we are working closely with federal, state and local authorities. Draken US is also cooperating with investigating agencies to determine what led to this tragic accident,” said Draken US.

The pilot’s identity has not yet been released at this time, and no one else was aboard the aircraft.

Multiple federal and local first responders are on the scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

According to Retired Brigadier General Robert Novotny, who was Commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base until Nov. 2020, "We've contracted with multiple companies around the United States to provide additional services, training platforms to train against."

Jason Dinant at KTNV first reported this story.