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Author Topic: Follow Up thread on Polish Airforce One Crash outside Smolensk
Blayne Bradley

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Quoted from elsewhere by from what I can tell is a political active Pole with a deep interest in his country's military.


Recently, the Russian Interstate Aviation Comittee (a body charged with regulation of Russian aviation and investigation of accidents) published a report concerning the accident. It is a 180+ page document analyzing the causes of the accident.

Should anyone be insane enough to want to read the entire document, it can be found Here ., at the website of the comittee in question.

However, the basic conclusions can be summarized thusly (I can't quote the document since it has been secured from copying for some strange reason):

1. The immediate cause of the accident was the failure of the crew to decide to divert in a timely fashion.

2. The contributing causes were:

- Lack of preparation during planning phases of the visit: an alternate airport was listed in the flight plan, but was NOT prepared for receiving a head of state from a logistical standpoint. Also, the flight departed Warsaw later than anticipated due to the Presidential Office insistence to delay the takeoff, thus leaving little spare time in case of unforeseen delays, and contributing to pressure felt by the crew to land at any cost

- Lack of compliance to standard operating procedures: there were numerous violations done by the crew, especially egrerious in light of the poor weather conditions

- The head of the Polish Air Force was present in the cockpit, which might've contributed towards pressuring the crew to land. (As an aside, Polish aviation experts noted that it was his duty to order the crew to divert in these weather conditions ; He said nothing)

- Flying with an engaged autopilot well below the minimum altitude for such

- Late start of final descent, resulting in increased descent speed and the inability to recover the aircraft in time

3. The systematic causes were listed as serious shortcomings in the organization of flight operations and crew training


Now, there's been some interesting developments about that report: the media went into a frenzy, and the right-wing opposition leader (and brother of the late president Kaczynski) said it was "making a mockery of Poland".

The more meritocratic Polish side had a few problems as well: notably, there's also evidence that errors have been made by the flight controllers at the airfield, and they have a problem with the statement that Gen. Błasik (the commander in chief of the air force) has 0.6 promile of alcohol in his blood, though I find it hard to believe the medical results would be so obviously falsified.

However, the crux of the report is sound, which of course miffs Jaroslaw Kaczynski to no end. When independent Polish aviation experts came out to say the same thing, Jaroslaw Kaczynski commented that had he been Prime Minister, he'd have "special services investigate that clique from certain aviation magazines".

Tusk had refused to comment until the Polish side publishes their report.

Well that's interesting to say the least.

Some more info:


Of concern here:

- The Polish crew had not passed recurrency training on the simulator for that airplane.

- The pilot in command had not flown the Tu-154 in meteorological instrument conditions over 5 months. The international minimum standard for instrument flight, if I recall correctly, is three approaches every 3 months. He hadn't flown an NBD approach since 2009, so needless to say he wasn't current on that procedure either. His skills were rusty. On the upside, the navigator had flown a Tu-154 just barely within the past 3 months, but he probably wasn't the guy actually flying the landing.

- The alternate airport was, apparently, closed at the time of the flight. This is remarkably poor flight planning.

- There were unauthorized people in the cockpit during the landing, that is, people who weren't official crew. This is against current practices which say, basically, only essential people in the cockpit and only business-related speaking during landing (called "sterile cockpit" in English) to minimize the possibility of distractions. Needless to say, this is even more crucial in bad weather than in good. Again, this is something taught in primary flight school these days. This rule was instituted as a response to several very bad accidents. Shame on them, they knew better.

- At the minimum altitude for a visual check of the runway the crew were not, actually, cleared for landing by ATC and the airplane crew did not report seeing the runway. In English, this is called "decision height" because it's your last point to decide whether to land or go elsewhere. If you can't see the runway you need to go elsewhere. This is a very basic concept in flying.

- There is also some stuff in there in regards to a steeper than normal glide slope and greater than usual rate of descent. Either the pilots are inexcusably sloppy for instrument pilots, or they did it deliberately. Typically, this is a pattern seen in pilots trying to see a runway in weather conditions below minimum for a safe landing. Sometimes you get away with it, which is probably the case with the landing just prior to the accident. Sometimes you slam into the ground and die. For the latter reason, this sort of thing is strongly discouraged. In fact, if you're caught doing it by human authorities there are substantial penalties. If you're caught by the laws of physics the penalty is, of course, even greater.

Interesting, also seems the Polish dude posting these in question is a pilot.
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Week-Dead Possum
Member # 11917

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Just a note, on the language side of things, as far as Iīm aware everyone involved in aircraft operations must be proficient in English and must use that as the operational language to eliminate any confusion regarding terminology. So donīt be *that* surprised that all the materials coming out about this were probably generated in English. Iīm not sure how far that rule goes, however. I donīt know if pilots are required to speak English in the cockpit, but considering data is collected from flight recorders during operation, I wouldnīt be surprised.
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