Warsaw Business Journal
The National Public Prosecutor’s Office is trying to determine whether Russian authorities made some minor repairs to the runway landing systems at the Smolensk airport following the plane crash on the morning of April 10.
According to eyewitness accounts, after the crash – in which President Lech Kacyński and 95 others lost their lives – airport personnel were seen changing light bulbs on runway lights close to the airport, suggesting that at the time of the attempted landing the lights were broken.
Colonel Zbigniew Rzepa, from the Chief Military Prosecutor’s office, told PAP that the office is investigating reports that just before the arrival of the Polish and Russian Prime Ministers following the crash, light bulbs were changed and electricity cables were laid down.
On the day of the crash a heavy fog surrounded the airport leading to average visibility of around 400 meters.
The Moscow Times – By Nina Khrushcheva
… Suspicions and disagreements between Poland and Russia date back to the 16th century, when Poland was the far greater power. Indeed, the Grand Duchy of Moscow was a backwater. Across the centuries, there have been wars, started by both sides, and partitions of Poland executed by the Russians, followed by attempts at “Russification,” with the Russian Christian Orthodox Empire trying to control the “deceptive,” West European-oriented Catholic Poland.
Then there was the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, which the Poles refused to join, and Marshal Jozef Pilsudski’s miraculous victory over the Red Army at the gates of Warsaw in 1920. Throughout most of the interwar years, Poland and the nascent Soviet regime had their daggers drawn.
When Stalin signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany in 1939, it gave him an opportunity to invade Poland. The Katyn massacre was a direct result, with Stalin ordering the mass murder of Poland’s elite in order to decapitate Polish society and thus make it more pliable.
Although the Nazi-Soviet pact did not last long — Germany invaded Russia in 1941 —there was no way out for Poland. With Adolf Hitler’s defeat, it once again became part of the Russian sphere, this time of Soviet Russia.
But Poland never stopped striding — and striking — for independence. The rise of the Solidarity independence movement in the 1980s was the earliest and most severe blow to the stagnating Soviet system. The Polish-born Pope John Paul II crystallized the anti-Communist “threat” that Poland now posed to the Soviet Union. The pope’s call for religious freedom around the world, including in socialist countries, rubbed the atheistic Soviets — and Orthodox Russians — the wrong way.
Indeed, throughout the 20th century, animosity between Poland and Russia remained at fever pitch, manifested not only in politics but also culturally. This, of course, continued an old pattern, too. Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol and Fyodor Dostoyevsky were all suspicious of the Poles, calling them “cold,” “distant” and “manipulative.” They saw Poland as always on the side of the West, rather than standing with its Slavic brothers. Indeed, Pushkin’s friendship with Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz ended in acrimony over the 1830 Polish insurrection against tsarist rule.
In fact, this animosity ran so deep that when both countries were no longer Communist and Russia was looking to replace its Nov. 7 Bolshevik Revolution holiday, it came up with Nov. 4, the anniversary of the Russian boyars’ victory in 1612 over Polish King Sigismund’s short-lived occupation of Moscow.
Now there is talk, in both Warsaw and Moscow, that the second tragedy of Katyn might usher in a new era in bilateral relations. Perhaps so, but as the Polish essayist Stanislaw Jerzy Lec said: “You can close your eyes to reality, but not to memories.”
The President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus has fiercely criticized EU officials for not turning out for president Lech Kaczynski’s funeral.
“The fact that Canada’s Prime Minister or Australia’s Governor-General did not attend the funeral [of the Polish presidential couple] is fairly understandable. But it is absolutely unforgivable that some European leaders and officials from Brussels did not come to the funeral”, Klaus told the Czech Radio. “It is a proof that solidarity within the EU is just an empty word,” added the Czech President.
Dozens of foreign delegations attended the funeral of Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria in the historic city of Krakow and remembered the tragic accident in which numerous Polish officials and military commanders died.
Among those who announced their participation in the burial ceremony but cancelled their visit due to volcanic ash cloud which made it impossible for them to fly were the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy.
The only representative of the EU offices at the funeral was a Polish politician Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament.
The Czech Republic paid tribute to the victims of the presidential plane’s crash near Smolensk by introducing two days of national mourning.
The Morung Express – Adam Chmielewski and Denis Dutton
Yet after the initial shock has been registered, behind the scenes everyone is asking an unavoidable question: what were the causes of a crash which has beheaded the Polish state? It seems clear that there was no particular problem with the plane. True, this Russian-made TU-154 was older than comparable Boeing or Airbus craft, and had flown in the service of the Polish government since 1972; but it was carefully serviced and in good condition.
Moreover, the military airport at Smolensk – which is opened only for special occasions – had safely organised the arrival of Poland’s prime minister Donald Tusk on 7 April 2010 to attend a ceremony with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, in what became a moving and symbolic step towards Polish-Russian reconciliation…
In the foggy conditions of 10 April 2010, a diversion of the Polish plane to Moscow or Minsk (Belarus) would have been reasonable – though such a decision would have meant an arrival at Katyn very late for the scheduled ceremony. At present, however, any speculation that in this case there was pressure on the pilot to disregard advice not to land in Smolensk remains just that; it must be hoped that the plane’s black-boxes tell the whole story.
The poignancy of this moment in Polish history is accentuated by both the reputation its flyers and the precedence of tragedy. The Polish pilots of Britain’s famous Royal Air Force Division 303 won great renown for their extraordinary role in combating the Luftwaffe’s air-raids during the pivotal battle of Britain in 1940.
The experience is the source of a popular saying that Polish pilots are so good that could fly onto a barn-door. The image seemed borne out by an incident in December 2003 in which a brave and experienced pilot’s expert handling of a helicopter-crash saved the life of the former prime minister Leszek Miller.
But on 23 January 2008, the crash of a reliable Spanish-made military plane (CASA C-295M) while approaching an airfield in the northwest Polish town of Miroslawiec did result in the Polish state suffering a terrible loss of life. All twenty people on board died: four crew and sixteen high-ranking officers of the Polish air force (who were returning from a conference devoted to air-traffic security).
The judgment must be that Polish officialdom has not learned the lesson of this recent tragedy. Indeed, there is a suggestion of grave irresponsibility surrounding this ill-fated trip. The fact that so many people of senior rank were loaded onto a single plane created evident risks and ignored the procedural rule that the president should not travel with others who occupy high state positions…
*** INTERNET SPECULATION ***
Author of the film “Smolensk KILLED after the disaster” Original Link: Polish
ORIGINAL SOURCE ??? Wolne Media.net (Polish)
*** SINGLE SOURCED – NOT CONFIRMED ***
Wolne Media Portal: Czech company terminated our server. Powodu nie podano. Reason not given.
ANDREI MENDIEREJ, the man who filmed the video after the fall of the aircraft at Smolensk, which killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski, was allegedly killed, according to some Polish portals. However, shortly after publication of this information portal Wolne Polish media and denied the information stating that the death only “internet rumors”. “It seems that information about the death Andreija Mendiereja just internet rumors. We apologize for publishing false information,” said Wolne Media.
Original Link (Polish)
Dziennik.pl (English Translation)
In the near future is unlikely to explain the causes of the disaster of Smolensk – said at a press conference, Attorney General Andrew Seremet. Investigators contend that any publication of the evidence depends on the consent “of the host interrogation”, ie Russia.
At this stage, are taken into account all the causes of the disaster established versions of Smolensk: none of them is neither parent nor none is thrown away – gave Col. Zbigniew Drozdowski of the accident investigation MON.
At Tuesday’s press conference also informed that within a few days, has come to an end in Poland, the ongoing analysis of flight recorder Polish Tupolev Tu-154M, so called. Three black box.
The father Regional Military Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw as part of their investigations have questioned such As the crew of the aircraft 40, which landed on April 10 in the Smolensk disaster shortly before the presidential plane.
Although we have participated in legal proceedings in Smolensk, then they constitute evidence in criminal proceedings by the Russian side, and without her consent, we can not publish the contents of evidence – said on Tuesday the head of the PSF in Warsaw Col. Ireneusz Szeląg.
Penny said during a press conference in Warsaw that the activities conducted during the Russian side released a Polish prosecutors file materials, possible participation in the hearing of witnesses – the staff responsible for managing the flight, and an eyewitness to the disaster. “What’s more opportunity to ask specific questions to us” – stated Szeląg.
Military District Attorney also announced that the Polish side in Smolensk worked a total of four military prosecutors, the five officers of the Military Police, and three officers of the ABW.
On Tuesday at a press conference stated that the explanation of the causes of tragedy by the Defense aviation accidents can take, and the administration of unproven hypotheses may violate the victims of the disaster. Called on the media for restraint in their assessments.
The deputy head of the Military District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, Colonel Richard Filipowicz reported that the investigation in Poland so far interviewed about 50 people, including airmen from the 36th Special Air Transport Regiment, members of the crews of aircraft that have landed in Smolensk, and the Government Protection Bureau officers.
Explanation of the reasons the government plane that crashed near Smolensk, will require painstaking work and may take some time – gave the Attorney General Andrew Seremet.
Seremet reminded that the “host” is a Russian investigation and prosecution are at its disposal are all the evidence. “The Russian side is the friendliness and willingness of cooperation” – assured Seremet.
Explaining the tragedy involved in the prosecution of the two countries. District Military Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, conducts its own investigation into the crash near Smolensk, where on April 10 killed 96 people, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife. Prosecutor has already requested Russia to “all relevant evidence” secured by the Russian side – said Seremet.
Excerpt of the rules:
“Antenna near a marker beacon should be located on the continuation of the axial line of the runway at a distance of 850-1200 meters from the runway threshold of the approach and the displacement of less than ± 75 m away from the centreline of the runway.
The antenna far-marker beacon should be located on the continuation of the center line of the runway at a distance of 4000 ± 200 meters from the runway threshold of the approach and the displacement of not more than 75 meters away from the centreline of the runway.”
But the long-range (outer) NDB in the North is located at 6 km …
Fog and stress added to the confusion …
“The correct rate of descent” in this case is somewhat different from “traditional”, “victim of automatism”.
That’s all the “false glide path”, favourite local trolls …
Descending to the correct height, waiting for the signal passing inner NDB.
And it is not coming …
Feverishly look out in the fog for the runway – there is none.
The navigator starts counting on the altimeter – 100,100, 100 …
It is in this place (2 km) opposite side of the ravine.
Stress, hair standing on their necks – you cannot change the laws of physics …
At a distance of 1700 meters go lower still in disarray.
Hear the cries of the dispatcher.
Finally, everyone understands. There is still 1500m to the threshold …
Well, about this point begins the diagram by the distinguished Aml …
The outer NDB with marker in Poland is usually 4 km from the threshold, and the inner NDB with marker – 1 km. It has been confirmed, that the outer NDB in Smoleńsk, due to terrain situation was 6 km from the threshold. (Which is quite common in Russia.)
If you assume the 2,6 deg glide-path the 2 km error in distance would result in 90 m altitude difference at the 1 km NDB, which corresponds approximately to the altitude deficiency the accident aircraft experienced at this point.
The pilots, assuming outer NDB at 4 km and following the normal glide path were 100m lower then they should be. Continuing with the angle of 2,6 deg they were still 2 km from the runway, at the moment, when they expected threshold, and at 1 km from the runway already below the runway level…
Fits the fact known until now quite well. The lowest line in this diagram corresponds to 2.66 deg from 6 km NDB. It’s 0m QFE point is exactly 2km back from the touchdown point 300m down the runway. Plausible? Anyone?
Posted by Ptkay @ pprune.org:
There are three possibilities on the procedure they were shooting:
1/- A GCA approach, which would confirm the initial Russian controller who said that ” they stopped acknowledging my messages and they lost altitude very quickly…” required vis is 1000 m.
2/- A very unusual procedure – apparently quite common in the ex-soviet world – in which, the pilots would use two NDBs for the alignment on centerline, while being talked down by a ground operator. I have never heard of that method until to-day, and it seems to me quite dangerous as the pilot has to deal with two mental pictures – one from his instruments on a visual cue, another from a needed “materialisation” of some height orders from the ground (aural / visual cues ). Required vis is 1200 m.
3/- A dual NDB approach. The problem with this letdown is the absence of a glide slope information ; everything is done by stopwatch, down to an MDH of some 200m / 600 ft.
Contrarily to what some may think, the lateral precision of that approach is very good (the deviation of some 45 m at 1500 m from the threshold amount to a precision of less than 2° (and Yes, on that sort of approach, that’s “smack on the centerline” ! )
Another image I would have liked to see is a cockpit view of that approach, especially at the point where they started that strange “dive”…was there a visual clue that made them think they were closer to the runway ( and too high, of course ) ?
What makes this subject even more puzzling is that the airfield was in all intents and purposes closed, and the GCA would only have been a “battlefield apparatus” with very little in terms of set procedures for a given airstrip. It could only work on a fixed-for-all type of utilization.
All the above to just say that nothing could have therefore allowed them to even initiate an approach with publicly reported visibilities below 1000 meters. The Poles have said that they will publish the prelim on Thursday.
Source: Posted on airliners.net
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