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LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – Military officials and local police say an aircraft has crashed in a desert area near Nellis Air Force Base after the pilot ejected with minor injuries.

An official says a veteran pilot had just completed an exercise with a military weapons school at Nellis when he ejected as the plane went down near North Sloan Lane and East Ann Road around 7:40 a.m. Thursday, less than a mile from the northern end of Nellis’ runways.

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.

The man who has more than two decades of fighter pilot experience was alone in the A-4 Skyhawk, a fixed wing single-engine aircraft built in 1970 and a fighter jet model used by the military in the Vietnam era, opposite Nellis’ weapons school trainees early Thursday.

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 was briefly hospitalized with minor injuries before being released Thursday afternoon.


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