On a day like any other day in March, having recently completed my ATPL theory exams, I decided to take a visual flight from Cuatro Vientos (Madrid) to the Mutxamel aerodrome in Alicante with a Piper pa28 and two trusted colleagues. The departure was around 10 am local time with good weather conditions. I am currently in the process of IR/MEP and CPL.
The flight was to accumulate flight hours as a requirement for the CPL, also called “time building” in visual flight rules. Afterwards, we continued our route passing through Albacete until we started the approach.
After a smooth crossing and a subsequent safe landing, a small disturbance caused the plane to go off the runway on one side until it came to a standstill. It was a few seconds after touchdown that I noticed something was wrong. As we tried to maintain the runway axis, the plane went sideways uncontrollably, until it came off and stopped. We reacted quickly and tried our best to stop the plane on our own, but the plane didn’t stop until it hit a mound of earth. When we came to a complete stop, we cut off, shut down all systems and exited.
After this event, the feelings were pretty bad. My thoughts were focused on the possible consequences in all aspects, as well as the responsibilities that would fall on me. It was at this point, when a companion reminded me of the option to call Sepla before making any reports or anything like that. I had become a member of Sepla not long ago. It was Javier Martín Chico, director of the Technical Department, who took the call and, with Nerea’s help, they gave me guidelines on how to deal with the steps to be taken over the next few hours. Their advice did not only cover technical aspects, helping me with the reports that had to be filled in. They also gave me psychological help. After a moment like this, one feels quite lost and scared. However, after talking to Sepla I managed to feel calmer and relieved, knowing that there is someone supporting me in this situation. Even though I was just an associate, the help I received was more than enough and even though I had no legal cover as an associate, they offered to help me without any problem. I recommend anyone who is training as a pilot or being a pilot to become a member/associate, as an unfortunate situation can happen to anyone. Having that support on your side will be appreciated.