Quality Fly Statement on the Accidental Crash of One of Its Planes

It is with the deepest regrets we announce that on February 6, 2019 a plane carrying a Quality Fly student and instructor crashed in the Quijorna Municipal area after colliding with an Ultra Light aircraft.  Unfortunately, both passengers of the plane were killed.

Our heartfelt condolences are extended to the families of those who perished in this accident.  Both the instructor and student were highly regarded at Quality Fly, and they will be profoundly missed by our students and staff.

Whenever one experiences a profound tragedy like this, the first thing that comes to mind is “Was there anything we could have done to prevent this?”  At Quality Fly, we strive to make sure that our students are ready to climb into the cockpit before they are allowed to do so and that our equipment is modern and flawlessly maintained.  But an accident like this makes you re-evaluate everything you do to keep your students and instructors safe.

While the investigation of the accident is still ongoing, it appears that this was one of those unfortunate situations where there did not appear to be any equipment failure or pilot error from the standpoint of our student or instructor; it was a matter of the other vehicle being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Unfortunately, deadly accidents do happen with airline travel.  Due to necessarily high standards of training and system maintenance within the industry, the chances of a fatal incident are much lower than those associated with car travel.  Nonetheless, sometimes the very unlikely occurs with the worst possible consequences.

This is the case with many, if not most, accidents for at least one of the parties involved.  You could be the best and most cautious driver in the world driving a brand new car, and if a driver in the opposite lane slams right into your car at the last minute, there is nothing you can do about it.  If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident, you probably understand this.  The same principles apply with air travel — sometimes accidents just happen through no fault of one party to the crash.

In the interest of full transparency, we would like to provide some more details for our current and prospective students, as we know some people will have questions about what happened and how we have responded to this tragedy.

Below is a link to the preliminary findings of the Spanish agency in charge of the investigation:

https://www.fomento.gob.es/organos-colegiados/ciaiac/investigacion/2019/a-005-2019.

We have translated the text into English for your convenience:

“On Wednesday, February 6, 2019, the TECNAM P-2002-JF aircraft, with EC-NAM registration, had taken off from Cuatro Vientos Airport (Madrid) at 09.23 hours with an instructor and a pilot student on board for a flight double command instruction.

At approximately 10:10 am, this aircraft collided in the air with a trike pendular ULM Safari GTBI Fun 18, with registration EC-CC3, which ten minutes earlier had taken off from the ultralight field of Villanueva de la Cañada.

The EC-NAM aircraft fell to the ground in an attitude and almost vertical trajectory and after the impact there was no fire. The pilot of the ULM EC-CC3 managed to regain control of the flight after the impact and managed to land on a road.

The place of the impact of the aircraft on the ground is located 1 NM southeast of Quijorna (Madrid), 2,200 meters southwest of the ultralight field of Villanueva de la Cañada and 22 km northwest of Cuatro Vientos airport.

The EC-NAM plane’s crew died and the plane was destroyed. The pilot of the ULM EC-CC3 suffered minor injuries to his left hand. The ULM suffered minor damage to the front pivot of the trike and to the lower braces on the left side of the pendular wing.”

The accident happened in a new aircraft, recently reviewed by maintenance in accordance with EASA regulations.  There is no evidence of any sort of equipment failure.  The accident occurred during perfect flying conditions with good weather, no clouds, nearly calm winds, and visibility extending more than 10 kilometers.  Our instructor was experienced, and our craft was flying in the proper airspace authorized for training, and Ultra Light aircraft are supposed to avoid such airspace and give right of way to any powered aircraft.

Questions have been raised by some of our instructors and colleagues about the height at which the ultralight was flying and whether it well exceeded the 500 foot ceiling for that type of craft.  However, Quality Fly does not want to speculate at this point and will collaborate as fully as possible with official investigators to get to the bottom of what exactly happened.

Quality Fly is waiting for the final conclusions of the investigation into the accident.  To the extent we learn more about their findings as the official investigation is concluded, we will update this page in the future as appropriate.

If even the smallest gap in the safety regulations is identified following the investigation, Quality Fly commits to work with the regulators to ensure that even higher standards are required to hopefully deter such accidents from happening in the future.

Quality Fly’s Commitment to Safety

Safety is priority number one at Quality Fly, and we would like to detail some of the initiatives that our school has implemented ensure the safety of our instructors and students:

Quality Fly has invested well over one million euros over the last two years to renew the fleet, and all old aircrafts are being sold.

We work only with the most prestigious licensed maintenance providers for each aircraft brand we own.  That would be Aerum (http://aerum.es/en/) for our Cessna planes and Aeroiber (http://aeroiber.es) for our Tecnam planes.

Our maintenance policies are far stricter than what is currently required by EASA regulations.  Any small defect is highlighted and repaired before a craft is flown, even if such repair is not required for the aircraft to be considered airworthy.  We only accept perfect standard conditions for each of our planes before they are airborne.

We conduct regular safety meetings and trainings, and have instilled into staff a culture of fastidious commitment to aircraft quality reporting.  We expect our staff to report even the most minor potential risk with our equipment so that we can make an in-depth analysis to identify any potential failures so they can be promptly remedied.

You are never truly ready to receive the devastating news of such an accident. In an organization where a group of under a hundred colleagues work together every day, very close bonds are formed.  This news hit everybody very hard.

Our first duty was to support the families as much as possible emotionally and logistically, particularly with the foreign family of the student involved in the crash.  We also have cooperated with authorities to make sure all investigations can progress as much as needed, and we will continue to do so.  Quality Fly has also supported our current staff and students in the aftermath of this event.  Psychological support was offered to all students, both in group and individual sessions.

All instructors and students showed the maximum support to the families.  Experienced members of our team shared with us their prior experiences with such incidents, including a colleague that had been an important manager in Spanair at the time of the airline accident in 2008.  An Imán was made available for one of victims of Muslim origin, so the ceremony could happen in accordance with the family’s wishes.

Soon after the accident, the focus changed quickly.  A moto started filling the atmosphere: “throwing away your dreams does not bring things back.” Life had to continue.  Our students were aware of the perfect condition of the aircraft involved in the crash and comfortable that the proper training procedures were followed, but it would be normal for anyone to be a little hesitant to get back into the air after such a horrific event.

So, we eased everyone back into the normal routine.  The most experienced instructors started flying with the younger instructors. All students, including those flying solo, were offered flights with instructors until they felt comfortable flying on their own.

In a few weeks the school was operating normally again.

Nonetheless, the memory of our colleagues Imma and Khalid will always remain with us.

We would like to publicly thank the Red Cross specialized psychological support team which quickly responded to attend to the needs of the families and colleagues of the victims.

We would also like to thank the Police, Guardia Civil, local court, Danish embassy and all authorities involved for all their assistance in the aftermath of this horrible tragedy.  This included emotional support, help with necessary post accident processes, required documents, materials, expedited repatriation procedures, and being fully available for us no matter what the work schedule.

We want deeply thank all the persons that helped us so much during this trying time for our organization. Without them it would have been far harder.

If anyone has any questions or concerns about what happened, we invite anyone to reach out to us at +34 665-38-6173 or customer@qualityfly.com.

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