43-year-old father killed in May 24 incident
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A contractor-owned fighter jet that crashed near Nellis Air Force Base last month experienced a flap issue, prompting the pilot to eject, but he did not survive, a preliminary report released Friday from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.
The jet, a Mirage F-1, was owned by Draken International, a military contractor based in Florida. It crashed on May 24, killing the pilot, Nicholas Hunter Hamilton, 43, of Las Vegas. Friends and family remembered Hamilton as a beloved husband and father of two.
The report indicates the plane was returning to Nellis, not taking off, as was first reported in May.
While returning from an exercise, Hamilton reported experiencing trouble with the jet’s flaps while making the final turn into the arrival flight path, the report said.
Hamilton ejected from the jet but did not survive. This detail was first reported in Friday’s report.
The jet crashed about a mile-and-a-half from the end of one of Nellis’ runways, the report said, causing a fire.
The Mirage F-1 was first manufactured in France in the 1970s. The jet involved was built in 1982, according to FAA records.
A final report from the NTSB could take one to two years to complete.