Pilot killed in crash near Nellis Air Force Base is identified as a military contractor

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Nicholas Hamilton with his two sons. Photo provided

Las Vegas Sun

A pilot killed in a crash Monday near Nellis Air Force Base has been identified as Nicholas Hunter Hamilton, 43, of Las Vegas, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

Hamilton flew for Draken US, a military contractor that provides “adversary support” to play the part of enemy aircraft for training purposes. The company, which has planes based at Nellis, employs former U.S. military pilots.

Hamilton was flying a Dassault Aviation Mirage F-1 fighter jet when he went down in a residential neighborhood just south of the runways at Nellis, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Hamilton was the only person aboard the single-engine French-made jet. There were no reports of injuries on the ground.

“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,” said a statement issued by Draken through the Air Force.

The plane crashed into the yard of a home in the 2200 block of Christy Lane, just east of Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, authorities said.

Neighbors reported hearing the crash, which sent a large plume of black smoke into the sky.

“They fly 24/7 in this area, and they are always flying really low. They always look like they are so low,” neighbor Eugenia Brackeen said.

Nellis hosts periodic training exercises where U.S. and allied pilots conduct mock battles over a restricted military reserve in central Nevada that is half the size of the state of New Jersey.

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