A 26-year-old Málaga man died on October 11 when the powered glider he was piloting crash-landed at El Trapiche airfield in Vélez-Málaga. His 25-year-old German passenger was seriously injured.
The aircraft took off in fine weather shortly after midday but the pilot contacted the control tower moments after take-off. He said he was feeling dizzy and was reportedly somewhat incoherent. Witnesses said the plane climbed to around 500 metres before spiralling downward and landing close to the hangars.
The pilot is reported to have died on the spot, while his passenger was pulled from the wreckage suffering multiple fractures. He was rushed to hospital in Málaga.
The aircraft, registered in France but based at El Trapiche, was a powered glider which had a small engine used only for take-off. It had a seat at the front for the pilot, while the passenger was seated immediately behind.
As a formal investigation opened, experts suggested that it could not have been a mechanical fault as the craft would be expected to glide once launched. It was also confirmed that the pilot “had a lot of experience and authorisation to fly,” and the initial conclusion has been that he had been taken ill and lost control.
The busy private airfield at El Trapiche is managed by the Real Aeroclub de Málaga. The last fatal accident there was in January 2017 when two people died when the ultralight in which they were traveling crashed and caught fire in an avocado plantation next to the runway.