NTSB: In Crash Near Nellis Air Force Base, A Jet Pilot Had An Emergency And Ejected

LAS VEGAS — According to federal accident investigators, a civilian pilot died when a Dassault Mirage F-1 crashed last month at Nellis Air Force Base reported a flying emergency and ejected seconds before the plane fell to the ground and exploded into flames.

The National Transportation Safety Board said that no one on the ground was wounded in the May 24 disaster in northeast Las Vegas, where a witness said he saw the aircraft approach low near a runway before “dropping out of the sky” while the pilot bailed.

Pilot Nicholas Hunter Hamilton, 43, of Las Vegas, was not identified in the preliminary NTSB investigation, nor were there any specifics regarding his death. In a few months, the final report should be ready.

Hamilton worked for Draken International, a military contractor that provides tactical aircraft and pilots for combat training at Nellis and other locations, after retiring from the US Air Force after 20 years as a fighter pilot.

Hamilton was returning to the base after weapons school support flights over the huge Nevada Test and Training Range when he crashed.

According to the NTSB investigation, when he approached Nellis, he reported a “flap issue” and subsequently declared an emergency.

The plane flew too close to the runway and crashed into two backyards approximately 1 1/2 miles (2.4 kilometers) away.

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