Aircraft crashes near Nellis

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Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Rachel Loftis

At approximately 7:40 a.m., PDT, Aug. 18, a civilian contractor aircraft supporting 57th Wing operations crashed on public land adjacent to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The crash site was less than a mile from the north end of the Nellis’ runway.

The aircraft was a Draken International A-4 Skyhawk.

An official says a veteran pilot had just completed an exercise with a military weapons school at an Air Force base near Las Vegas when he ejected as the plane went down.

Draken International’s Scott Poteet said the pilot had just finished a combat training exercise that typically lasts about an hour and a half when he self-ejected as he was returning to Nellis Air Force Base.

The man who has more than two decades of fighter pilot experience was alone in a Skyhawk jet opposite Nellis’ weapons school trainees early Aug. 18.

Draken pilots are civilian contractors who role-play with the trainees by pretending to be enemy pilots.

Poteet said the six-month weapons school is akin to “getting your Ph.D in flying.”

The pilot is receiving medical treatment for minor injuries.

In September 2015, Draken International was awarded a U.S. Air Force contract to provide adversary support.  Flying the industry’s most advanced Douglas A-4K Skyhawk and Aero Vodochody L-159E ALCA fighter jets, Draken is able to replicate numerous types of threat aircraft.