A Mirage F1 aircraft owned by Draken International crashed just outside Nellis Air Force Base, near Las Vegas, Nevada shortly after takeoff. The pilot was killed.
The aircraft N575EM used to be operated by the Ejército del Aire (EdA, Spanish Air Force) with serial C.14-72 crashed in the accident that took place at approximately 14:30 LT on Monday, May 24, 2021.
An investigation into the cause of the accident has started.
Draken released a statement following the accident that said, “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”.
Here is the official statement from Nellis AFB:
A contracted aircraft that took off from Nellis Air Force Base crashed at approximately 2:30 p.m. May 24 outside the southern edge of the base.
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.
Please see below a statement from our partners at Draken US on today’s aircraft incident:
“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 men and women of Team Nellis send our deepest condolences to the teammates, friends, and family of our Draken wingman.
The pilot’s identity has not yet been released. No other personnel was on board. Multiple federal and local first responders are on the scene. The NTSB is investigating the incident.
Draken International is contracted by the US Air Force to provide adversary air support and operates a number of aircraft out of Nellis AFB.
As of 2020, Draken is reported to be operating (at least) 22 French-built Mirage F1s, including 21 single-engine, single-seat F1M aircraft, and a single Mirage F1BM two-seat variant. The aircraft were purchased mostly from the Spanish Air Force.
It has also been recently reported that Draken purchased an additional “25 Jordanian Mirage F1s, including two ex-Qatari two-seaters, one of which had previously flown with the EdA as CE.14C-85” according to an April 14, 2021 story published on AirInternational.com.