Pilot Killed in Draken Mirage F1 Crash Near Nellis AFB

Draken Mirage F1 crash
File photo of a Draken Mirage F1. (Image credit: Draken International)

Private Contract Threat Simulation Mirage F1 Aircraft Went Down After Take Off Outside Base.

A Mirage F1 aircraft owned by Draken International crashed just outside Nellis Air Force Base, near Las Vegas, Nevada. One person, the pilot, is reported dead in the accident. A report published on TheHill.com says the aircraft, “crashed after taking off from Las Vegas’s Nellis Air Force Base on Monday, killing the pilot.” The accident took place at approximately 14:30 LT on Monday, May 24, 2021.

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”.

Draken is a private contract threat simulation and tactical training support company headquartered in Lakeland, Florida at the Lakeland Linder International Airport. The company also maintains a facility at Nellis AFB, where they conduct contract services for the U.S. Air Force, including the 57th Adversary Tactics Group also based at Nellis.

The registration of the aircraft involved in the incident has not been disclosed yet. Some reports mention N575EM, others N565EM.

Draken Mirage F1 crash
A file photo of one of Draken’s Mirage F1s from their Facebook page. (Image credit: Draken International)

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. The report went on to say that, “A large stock of spare parts and engines was also acquired”.

The Dassault Mirage F1 first flew 54 years ago in December of 1966. The aircraft was a successor to the popular delta-wing Mirage multi-role combat aircraft. The F1 has flown in service with at least sixteen countries in both Air Forces and private threat simulation companies. It has seen extensive operational combat service and is regarded as a highly successful combat aircraft.

Earlier this year on February 25, 2021, a two-seat Mirage F1B operated by ATAC crashed at Tyndall AFB in Florida. The aircraft was involved in threat simulation for F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II aircraft. Two crew members were injured in the accident, but there were no fatalities.

About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.