Black boxes reveal two landing attempts, not four

Contrary to initial reports, an examination of the Tu-154’s black box flight recorders revealed that the crew made two, not four attempts at landing

Three black boxes have been recovered from the wreck of the presidential plane which crashed in Smolensk on Saturday. Two flight recorders have already been examined, the third will be sent to Moscow today for examination.

“We’ve got two recorders: a voice recorder and a flight parameters recorder. The Aviation Committee in Moscow has examined them and will soon publish a report on what happened on board of the plane just before the crash,” said Col. Zbigniew Rzepa, who, along with five Russian experts, is investigating the black boxes in Moscow.

Rzepa added that the boxes are slightly damaged but only on the surface. The recordings are intact, which means that the reconstruction of pilots’ conversations with the air traffic controllers will be fairly easy.

The initial examination of the two black boxes showed that the crew had been advised not to land but ignored the warning and made two attempts to land. The flight recordings also reveal that Polish pilots, who communicated with the air traffic controllers in English and Russian, did not report any technical problems with the craft. The pilots also contacted the crew of two other planes which were in the vicinity.

Today the committee will examine the conversations recorded in the pilots’ cabin.

### end update ###

…Instead of diverting, as advised, the pilot of the 20- year-old plane tried and failed to land at least once, before clipping trees and plunging into a forest.

Air traffic controllers watched their screens with growing unease as the Soviet-era Tupolev descended into the fog that hung like a shroud over the military airfield at Smolensk in western Russia.

The controllers had already issued several warnings not to attempt a landing because of the danger posed by visibility close to zero. They wanted the plane to divert to Moscow or Minsk, the Belarus capital.

But the plane carrying a Polish presidential delegation to commemorate the Soviet massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn forest seven decades ago came in to land regardless.

“At a distance of 2.5km [1.5 miles] the head of air traffic control ascertained that the crew had increased the speed of the descent,” said Alexander Alyoshin, of the Russian air force.

“The head of the air traffic control group gave a command to the crew to put the aircraft into the horizontal position and when the crew did not implement this order, several times gave orders to divert to an alternative airport.

“Despite this, the crew continued the descent. Unfortunately this ended in tragedy.”

Russia Today and other television stations reported that even before the first attempt to land, the pilot had been dumping fuel — indicating some form of mechanical problem — so by the fourth attempt there was no alternative but to put the aircraft down…

Original Report –  Times Online

Smolensk Air Base

QNH vs QFE Altitude?

‘Russia engineered air crash that killed President Kaczynski,’ claims Polish MP

Daily Mail UK

The Russian government prevented the Polish president’s plane from landing four times to divert him from a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, according to an MP.

Artur Gorski said the Russians ‘came up with some dubious reasons’ that the aircraft couldn’t land because they feared President Leck Kaczynski’s presence would overshadow a similar event hosted by the Russian prime minister a few days before.

And their alleged plan ended in disaster when the Polish pilots made one final and disastrous attempt to land, killing Mr Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others on board the plane.

‘One version of events says that the plane approached the airport four times, because every time the Russians refused it permission to land – they wanted to send the plane with the president to an airport in Moscow or Minsk,’ Mr Gorski claimed in an interview published in the newspaper Nasz Dziennik.

‘They came up with some dubious reasons: that there was fog over the airport, and that the navigation system didn’t work as it was under renovation, and that airport had a short landing strip.’…]

President Kaczynski’s last speech

Below is the text of the speech which Lech Kaczynski, who died on Saturday, was going to deliver at the 70th anniversary ceremony of the Katyn massacre.

“Dear Representatives of the Katyn Families. Ladies and Gentlemen. In April 1940 over twenty-one thousand Polish prisoners from the NKVD camps and prisons were killed. The genocide was committed at Stalin’s will and at the Soviet Union’s highest authority’s command.

The alliance between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact and the Soviet attack on Poland on 17 September 1939 reached a terrifying climax in the Katyn massacre. Not only in the Katyn forest, but also in Tver, Kcharkiv and other known, and unknown, execution sites citizens of the Second Republic of Poland, people who formed the foundation of our statehood, who adamantly served the motherland, were killed.

At the same time families of the murdered and thousands of citizens of the eastern territory of the pre-war Poland were sent into exile deep into the Soviet Union, where their indescribable suffering marked the path of the Polish Golgotha of the East.

The most tragic station on that path was Katyn. Polish officers, priests, officials, police officers, border and prison guards were killed without a trial or sentence. They fell victims to an unspeakable war. Their murder was a violation of the rights and conventions of the civilized world. Their dignity as soldiers, Poles and people, was insulted. Pits of death were supposed to hide the bodies of the murdered and the truth about the crime for ever.

The world was supposed to never find out. The families of the victims were deprived of the right to mourn publicly, to proudly commemorate their relatives. Ground covered the traces of crime and the lie was supposed to erase it from people’s memory.

An attempt to hide the truth about Katyn – a result of a decision taken by those who masterminded the crime – became one of the foundations of the communists’ policy in an after-war Poland: a founding lie of the People’s Republic of Poland.

It was the time when people had to pay a high price for knowing and remembering the truth about Katyn. However, the relatives of the murdered and other courageous people kept the memory, defended it and passed it on to next generations of Poles. They managed to preserve the memory of Katyn in the times of communism and spread it in the times of free and independent Poland. Therefore, we owe respect and gratitude to all of them, especially to the Katyn Families. On behalf of the Polish state, I offer sincere thanks to you, that by defending the memory of your relatives you managed to save a highly important dimension of our Polish consciousness and identity.

Katyn became a painful wound of Polish history, which poisoned relations between Poles and Russians for decades. Let’s make the Katyn wound finally heal and cicatrize. We are already on the way to do it. We, Poles, appreciate what Russians have done in the past years. We should follow the path which brings our nations closer, we should not stop or go back.

All circumstances of the Katyn crime need to be investigated and revealed. It is important that innocence of the victims is officially confirmed and that all files concerning the crime are open so that the Katyn lie could disappear for ever. We demand it, first of all, for the sake of the memory of the victims and respect for their families’ suffering. We also demand it in the name of common values, which are necessary to form a foundation of trust and partnership between the neighbouring nations in the whole Europe.

Let’s pay homage to the murdered and pray upon their bodies. Glory to the Heroes! Hail their memory!” (mg)

Official List of persons whose names appeared on the list of on-board the presidential plane from Warsaw to Smolensk:

Mr. Lech Kaczynski, Polish President

Mrs. Maria Kaczynska wife of Polish President


1st Mr Ryszard Kaczorowski, former president of Poland in Exile

2nd Mr. Krzysztof Putra

3rd Sejm Marshal Mr. Jerzy Szmajdzinski

4th Sejm Marshal Krystyna Bochenek Deputy Senate

5th BAHR Jerzy Ambassador of the Russian Federation

6th Mr. Wladyslaw STASIAK Chief Presidential Chancellery

7th Mr. Aleksander Szczyglo Head of the

8th National Security Mr. Jacek Sasin Secretary of State, Deputy Head of the Presidential Chancellery

9th Mr. Paul WYPYCH Secretary of State in the President’s Chancellery

10th Mariusz Handzlik Undersecretary of State at the Presidential Chancellery

11th Mr. Andrzej Kremer, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the

12th Mr. Stanisław Komorowski, Undersecretary of State in the

13th MON Mr. Tomasz Merta Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Culture

14th Gen. Francis Gągor Chief of General Staff of the Polish Army

15th Mr Andrew CARRIER Secretary ROPWiM

16th Mr. Maciej Plazynski President of the Association “Polish Community”

17 Mariusz KAZANA MFA Diplomatic Protocol Director


1st Mr. Leszek Deptuła deputy to the Sejm

2nd Mr. Gregory Dolniak deputy to the Sejm

3rd Ms. Grazyna Gęsicka MP in the

4th Sejm Mr. Przemyslaw Gosiewski deputy to the

5th Sejm Mr. Sebastian KARPINIUK deputy to the Sejm

6th Ms. Izabela Jaruga – Nowacka Member of Parliament of the Republic of Poland

7th Mr. Zbigniew Wassermann deputy to the Sejm

8th Ms. Alexander Natallia – WORLD Member of Parliament

10th RP Mr. Arkadiusz Rybicki deputy to the Sejm

11th Jolanta Szymanek – Deresz Member of Parliament

12th RP Wiesław WATER deputy to the Sejm

13th Mr. Edward Wojtas deputy to the Sejm

14th Janina FETLIŃSKA Senator

15th RP Mr. Stanislaw ZAJAC Senator RP


1st Mr. Janusz Kochanowski, the Ombudsman

2nd Mr Sławomir Skrzypek, President of the Polish National Bank

3rd Janusz Kurtyka President of the Institute of National Remembrance

4th Janusz Krupski Director of the Office for War Veterans and Repressed Persons

REPRESENTATIVES Churches and Religious Affairs

1st Fr. Bp. Maj.-Gen. Tadeusz Ploski Ordinary

2nd Polish Army Archbishop Brig. Miron Chodakowski Orthodox Polish Army

3rd Ordinary Fr. Col. Adam Pilch Evangelical Chaplaincy

4th Field Fr. Lt. Col. John OSIŃSKI Ordinariate of the Polish Army


1st Mr. Edward Duchnowski Secretary General of the Union of Soviet persecutions

2nd Fr. Monsignor Bronislaw Gostomski

3rd Fr. Joseph Joniec Parafiada

4th President of the Association Fr. Zdzislaw KING Chaplain Warsaw Katyn Families 1987-2007

5th Fr. Andrew Kwasnik Chaplain

6th Federation of Katyn Families Pan Tadeusz LUTOBORSKI

7th Bozena Łojek President of the Polish Foundation Katyn

8th Mr. Stefan Melaka Katyn Committee Chairman

9th Mr. Stanisław Mikke Vice ROPWiM

10th Mrs. Bronislaw Orawiec – Löffler

11th Ms. Catherine Piskorska

12th Mr Andrew SARIUSZ – SKĄPSKI President Federation of Katyn Families

13th Mr Wojciech SEWERYN

14th Mr. Leszek Solski

15th Ms. Teresa Walewska – PRZYJAŁKOWSKA Foundation “Golgotha of the East”

16 Ms. Gabriela

17th Zych Ewa Bąkowska granddaughter Brig. Mieczyslaw Smorawinski

18th Mrs. Maria Borowska

19th Mr. Bartosz



1st Gen. Bronislaw KWIATKOWSKI Operational Commander Armed Forces

2nd Gen. pil. Andrew Błasik Polish Air Force Commander,

3rd Maj.-Gen. Tadeusz BUK Commander of Land Forces of Poland

4th Maj.-Gen. Vladimir POTASIŃSKI Commander RP

5th Special Forces Vice Admiral Andrzej Karweta Commander Navy

6th Brig. Kazimierz GILARSKI Commander Training Centre

Lech Kaczyński

Lech Aleksander Kaczyński (Polish pronunciation: [ˈlɛx alɛˈksandɛr kaˈtʂɨɲskʲi] ( listen); 18 June 1949 – 10 April 2010) was the President of the Republic of Poland from 2005 to 2010, a politician of the party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice, PiS). Kaczyński served as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until 22 December 2005, the day before his presidential inauguration. He was the identical twin brother of the former Prime Minister of Poland and current Chairman of the Law and Justice party, Jarosław Kaczyński.

On 10 April 2010, he and his wife Maria Kaczyńska died when a Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 crashed while attempting to land at Smolensk-North airport in Russia. There were no survivors on the plane, which was carrying senior Polish government officials on a trip to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.

Kaczyński was born in Żoliborz, Warsaw, the son of Rajmund (an engineer who served as a soldier of the Armia Krajowa in World War II and a veteran of the Warsaw Uprising) and Jadwiga (a philologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences). As a child, he starred in a 1962 Polish film, The Two Who Stole the Moon (Polish title O dwóch takich, co ukradli księżyc) with his twin brother Jarosław.

Lech Kaczyński was a graduate of law and administration of Warsaw University. In 1980 he was awarded his PhD by Gdańsk University. In 1990 he had his habilitation in labour and employment law. He later assumed professorial positions at Gdańsk University and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.

In the 1970s Lech Kaczyński was an activist in the pro-democratic anti-Communist movement in Poland, Workers’ Defence Committee, as well as the Independent Trade Union movement. In August 1980, he became an adviser to the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee in the Gdańsk Shipyard and the Solidarity movement. During the martial law introduced by the communists in December, 1981, he was interned as an anti-socialist element. After his release from internment, he returned to trade union activities, becoming a member of the underground Solidarity.

When Solidarity was legalized again in the late 1980s, Lech Kaczyński was an active adviser of Lech Wałęsa and his Komitet Obywatelski Solidarność in 1988. From February to April, 1989, he participated in Polish Round Table talks.

Kaczyński was elected a senator in the elections of June 1989, and became the vice-chairman of Solidarity trade union NSZZ Solidarność. In the 1991 parliamentary election, he was elected to the parliament as a non-party member. He was, however, supported by the electoral committee Center Civic Alliance, closely related but not identical to the political party Porozumienie Centrum (Center Agreement) led by his brother. He was also the main adviser and supporter of Lech Wałęsa when the latter was elected President of Poland in December 1990. Wałęsa nominated Kaczyński to be the Security Minister in the Presidential Chancellery but fired him in 1992 due to a conflict concerning Jan Olszewski‘s government.

Lech Kaczyński was the President of the Supreme Chamber of Control (Najwyższa Izba Kontroli, NIK) from February 1992 to May 1995 and later Minister of Justice and Attorney General in Jerzy Buzek‘s government from June 2000 until his dismissal in July 2001. During this time he was very popular because of his strong stance against corruption

He was married to economist Maria Kaczyńska from 1978[24] until their deaths. They had one daughter, Maria.

Source Wiki

First Lady returns to Poland

The plane containing First Lady Maria Kaczyńska’s coffin has arrived in Warsaw.

The CASA military aircraft touched down at 10.40 CET at Warsaw’s military airport and the coffin, draped in the Polish flag, was met by Marta Kaczynska, daughter of the Lech Kaczynski and First Lady Maria and the late president’s twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

At Moscow’s Domodedovo airport a farewell ceremony was attended by the First Lady’s brother, Konrad Mackiewicz, Polish ambassador to Moscow Jerzy Bahr, ministers in the Presidential Chancellery Andrzej Duda and Bozena Borys and representatives from the Russian Government.

Maria Kaczynska’s body was identified yesterday from an inscription on the wedding ring given to her by her late husband, Lech Kaczynski.

Her immediate family are waiting at Warsaw’s military airport to greet the coffin.

The body of Mary Kaczyńska will be transported to the Presidential Palace where it will be laid to rest alongside her husband.

CNN Video (Crash Site Unprotected)

Press Release of Senator Lugar

Lugar statement and resolution honoring Poland President

Monday, April 12, 2010

U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar made the following statement for today’s Congressional Record as he introduced a resolution Honoring the lives of President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others who perished on April 10, 2010, in a plane crash while en route to memorialize those Polish officers, officials, and civilians who were massacred by the Soviet Union 70 years ago.


Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, I rise to honor the lives of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others who perished in a plane crash on April 10, 2010. President Kaczynski was a steadfast supporter of advancing freedom and prosperity in Poland and throughout Central and Eastern Europe and was a close friend of the United States. It is with tragic irony that this devastation has occurred at a time of solemn remembrance of the massacre of Polish officers and civilians in the Katyn Forest and elsewhere 70 years ago. Together with the Polish nation and friends of Poland worldwide, I mourn this unbelievably tragic loss. With these sentiments in mind, I am introducing this resolution honoring the lives of President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others who perished on April 10, 2010 in a plane crash while en route to memorialize those Polish officers, officials, and civilians who were massacred by the Soviet Union 70 years ago.

The resolution reads:


Honoring the lives of President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others who perished on April 10, 2010, in a plane crash while en route to memorialize those Polish officers, officials, and civilians who were massacred by the Soviet Union 70 years ago.


Mr. LUGAR submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on.

Honoring the lives of President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others who perished on April 10, 2010, in a plane crash while en route to memorialize those Polish officers, officials, and civilians who were massacred by the Soviet Union 70 years ago.

Whereas, on April 10, 2010, the President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and a cadre of current and former Polish statesmen, family members, and others departed Warsaw by plane to the Russian region of Smolensk;

Whereas the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to hold a ceremony in solemn remembrance of the more than 22,000 Polish military officers, police officers, judges, other government officials, and civilians who were executed by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, 70 years ago, between April 3 and the end of May 1940;

Whereas more than 14,500 Polish victims have been documented at 3 sites in Katyn (in present day Belarus), in Miednoye (in present day Russia), and in Kharkiv (in present day Ukraine), while the remains of an estimated 7,000 Polish victims have yet to be precisely located;

Whereas the Soviet Union failed to acknowledge responsibility for the massacres until President Mikhail Gorbachev’s statement on April 13, 1990;

Whereas, on April 7, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin became the first Russian or Soviet leader to join Polish officials in commemorating the anniversary of the murders;

Whereas the plane carrying the Polish delegation on April 10, 2010, crashed in Smolensk, tragically killing all 96 persons on board, including President Kaczynski, his wife, and other current and former Polish statesmen;

Whereas President Kaczynski was a steadfast proponent of consolidating freedom and prosperity in Poland and advancing them throughout Central and Eastern Europe and was a close friend of the United States of America; and

Whereas the deep friendship between the Governments and people of Poland and the United States is grounded in our mutual respect, shared values, and common priorities on nuclear nonproliferation, counterterrorism, human rights, regional cooperation in Eastern Europe, democratization, and international development: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) recognizes the terrible tragedy that tookplace on April 10, 2010, when an aircraft carrying a delegation of current and former Polish officials, family members, and others crashed en route from Warsaw to Smolensk to memorialize the 1940 massacres, killing all 96 passengers;

(2) honors the life and legacy of the late President of Poland Lech Kaczynski and the lives and legacies of all Poles who perished in the plane crash on April 10, 2010;

(3) honors the lives and legacies of the more than 22,000 Polish government officials, military officers, and civilians who were executed by the NKVD70 years ago, between April and May 1940;

(4) expresses deep sympathy for the surviving family members of those who perished at the hands of the NKVD in 1940 and for the surviving family members of those who perished in the tragic plane crash of April 10, 2010;

(5) supports the people of Poland as they restore leadership in the institutions of the Government of Poland that were impacted by the crash of April 10, 2010; and

(6) requests that the Secretary of the Senate transmit an enrolled copy of this resolution to the Ambassador of Poland to the United States.

# # #


Polish military use QFE and heights in meters ?

Instruments in the cockpit Tutki in miles and feet ?

The pilots decided: Landing!

Pilots run out of 10-15 m height – say about the disaster in Smolensk Korocznin Alexei, a former fighter pilot and the chief power engineer Siewiernyj airport. Everything indicates that the master Presidential Tu-154 itself decided to land

Gazeta – Marcin Wojciechowski, Smoleńsk (English Translation)

Tu-154 flew from Warsaw to Smolensk on the rate of 8 thousand. m. 50 km from the airport, which for nearly 10 minutes before landing, the crew informed the control tower that the Smolensk is dense fog. It was suggested that flew up at the airport in Minsk, possibly in Moscow.

– The pilots were eager to land, which repeated a few times on the radio. Speculation that someone they have forced to seem to me to be without foundation – said the airport worker who knows the content of the conversations with the tower crew.

In accordance with the provisions of the commander alone decides whether to land, and does not need to consult with anyone – even if the board is the head of state. Was it so in this case, we do not know. On board were the Chief of General Staff of the army and head of the Air Force. Did the pilot consulted with them, it is not known. The Russians have already informed that the cause of the disaster was certainly not fault the machine.

Tower in Smolensk, which is half the military airport, half civilian, is entitled to teach anything civilian planes, and treated as such, the flight journey president. – Maybe they just something to suggest – says General Alexander Aloszyn, deputy head of staff of Russia’s air force. Therefore, the auditors accepted the decision of Polish pilots, though half an hour before the crash sent to Moscow, Il-96 military wiozącego to Katyn officers of the Russian Federal Protection Service (equivalent to BOR).

Inspectors from the airport talking with pilots in Russian, but as he told us one of the military experts, it’s extraordinary. Our pilots are familiar with and English, and Russian.

Presidential plane circled the airport three times, but experts think it is nothing extraordinary. – The pilots in this way become acquainted with the topography, or designate a correct course, which stores the autopilot – Korocznin says. It helps them and then help guide the machine on the belt, adjust the flight manual.

The problem that day was a thick fog. Hour and a half earlier in the Smolensk government land Yak-40 with journalists. – Fog then has been much less – says the airport staff. Before landing, the airplane became the president of extremely small and dense. – I think the pilots should definitely not be approached for landing in such conditions – the correspondent adds.

Despite the mist, everything went well for a distance of about 1.5 km from the airport. Then the plane for a very reduced level, touching the mast radar station and the first batch of trees. The pilots tried to deduce the machine, but failed, because it has already begun to disintegrate. Touched by another tree at a height of several meters and fell to the ground. – The pilots had to be excellent professionals – says Korocznin. – Reducing the machine smoothly, even to the nearest jeweler. They just ran out of height. If they flew 10-15 m above the landing would be successful. Their skill is also evidence that the machine crashed down right away, not collapsed immediately and not broken, but it cracked like a piece.

According Korocznina there was no deviation from the trajectory of nearly 150 m left, as stated, inter alia, Minister of Russia Sergei Shoigu emergency. – It’s a collision with the trees – explains Korocznin. The pilot probably tried to pick up the machine, claiming the right wing, and so blown off to the left, but already falling, and not in flight. – The plane was flying a good course. Pilots were the masters. The problem is that they should not land in the fog – Korocznin stresses.

Yesterday it was possible to enter the crash site. Hidden away all the human remains and personal effects, by which the victims are identified. Were just some of the elements of an aircraft which studied in detail by experts throughout the day. They are scattered over a kilometer in length. The work also involves specialists from Polish.

Rescuers describe every item in detail and pack in special bags. Among the personal items are books on Katyn, which they were carrying with them flying at the Saturday ceremony, credit cards, cell phones, documents, etc. This helps to identify the bodies, which are either torn apart or burned. He carefully collected the clothes of the victims, uniforms.

Black Box Tu-154 are already tested in Moscow. Russian experts do not want them to move without the presence of Polish specialists to avoid any suspicion that something may be hidden. – Cooperation with the Russian side is very well arranged. We really appreciate the heart and help in all areas – said Ambassador Jerzy Bahr.

Jak leciał Jak-40

Half hours by plane landed in Smolensk President Government Yakovlev Yak-40, thirteen journalists on board, among whom I was. The flight began with the adventures. Even before the launch in Warsaw, the pilots discovered the flaw and decided to change the machine. We had to get out of it, even though we were already buckling seat belts. I thought it exhausted the limit of the air of unpleasant events that day.

As 40 approached for landing in Smolensk without complications. Fog was less than half an hour later, but it was. I had the impression that the plane lands rapidly from a great height. In the end nothing could be seen, because we flew completely in the clouds. Just before the runway it became clear the plane and gently struck the wheels on the ground. After leaving the aircraft, the pilots were happy.

Airport workers in Smolensk told me yesterday that the landing-40 What was not so perfect, but it is easier to control when the weather is difficult, because it is lighter. In addition, famous for the possibility of gliding in the air, even in the event of engine failure. Machine five times heavier – as Tu-154 – is much more difficult to pilot.

The Polish accident: circumstances

… Smolensk airport has no precision approach aids, and meteorological observations provided there do not meet ICAO specifications. For example they can provide estimated visibility from the control tower, but not runway visual range. There were no special arrangements made for the presidential flight, according to our sources.

Three days earlier (7 April) the same aircraft had flown the identical trip carrying the Polish Prime Minster, so the crew of the presidential flght should not have faced any unknowns…

…When it closed as a military base in October 2009, Smolensk Severny had surveillance radar and a Russian RSPB beacon, almost identical to the western military aid TACAN (tactical air navigation), which operates in an overlapping frequency band. RSPB, like the civilian VOR/DME, offers bearing and range from the beacon, but slightly more accurately than its civil counterpart. It is still, however, not a precision approach aid.

The status of the RSPB and the airport surveillance radar on that day is not known at present, but if surveillance radar were available the crew could have been provided with non-precision lateral and range guidance on the approach to the runway, which in this case was runway 26. Reports suggest that ATC was providing vectoring guidance, but what kind is not clear…

Related Links:

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Additional Photos – Crash Site

Michelle Malkin: Prayers for Poland

The crew, who perished before help HaitiOriginal Link

Altimeter Setting – Use of Radio Altimeter (Airbus) (PDF)

Flight Global: Crashed Tu-154’s engines were operational before impact

Gregory Pietruczuk Silver Cross of Merit

Tu-154 – a bone of contention

New Pics – Clipped Trees – Airport

VFR enroute chart. (Russia) UKL-6: Bryansk, Smolensk, Vyazma (Zip file w/jpg)

Times Online: Grieving twin may decide to step into Polish President’s shoes

Wash Times:  As Poland mourns, leaders ponder new election

NYT: Poland’s Unity Is Disrupted by Plans for President’s Interment

Global Post: Why the Polish plane crash is called “Katyn 2”