With me getting my PPL about 6 months ago, the first 10 hours or so consisted of flying in and out of my home airport, Sabadell (LELL). It was a lot of fun taking my friends out for a flight, showing them this amazing hobby that is General Aviation.
While there's plenty of amazing scenery around Barcelona to see from above, it did get a bit repetitive. Doing the same flight along the Costa Brava coast or flying past Montserrat is amazing for a while, but you do get a routine, knowing the area like the back of your hand and every ramp area at the airport.
So it was time to go out and explore some more airports - and La Seu D'Urgell was high up on that list. While I have done a low pass at LESU during my PPL training, this was really only going to be the second time flying into an uncontrolled airfield.
As such, I ended up reading and re-reading the AIP documents, including the VAC and PDC charts to make sure I'd know exactly the procedures.
The VAC was relatively straight forward and was in line with the low pass I had done with my instructor in the past, so I felt quite comfortable about it. Nonetheless, I actually rewatched the video of that lesson that I had recorded in the past - double checking the procedures and calls I had in mind for this flight.
However, as I never landed there, I also checked the PDC so that I'd be familiar with the layout of the stands on the ground at LESU as well as how to park on the various stands. This came in very handy as when the AFIS asked me to park on stand 11, at which point I immediately knew where it was and how to orient the plane, ultimately decreasing my load as a pilot.
The flight up until that point was quite uneventful, even if a bit bumpy, but the scenery was spectacular, as was the approach. The only thing were 2 NOTAMs. One for a change of frequency at LESU and one new restricted area for hot air balloons around Lleida, resulting in our flight path being a bit longer.
Once on the ground at LESU and having parked the plane, finding the operations office to pay the landing fees was quite easy. Just followed the signs for Ops. At the fence, rang the doorbell and then got let up to the first floor to pay the fees (they accept cards!). All in all, everyone I met at the airport was super friendly - asking how I enjoyed the approach, etc.
The restaurant also has a nice little terrace with view of the apron and the mountains. While I only ended up having some water, next time I'll definitely have to check out their food too!
I'll definitely visit La Seu D'Urgell again soon, spending a bit more time on the ground than the 30 minutes or so that I had this time around.
If you're a new pilot just like myself, I'd definitely encourage you to explore the other airfields around you - it's an awesome feeling landing somewhere new! And if you don't feel comfortable on your own venturing out, just create a post on Aviators.co and potentially find another pilot who's happy to join you on the trip!