UPDATE (October 30, 2012)

Poland denies explosives found on wreck of crashed jet

UPDATE (June 1, 2010)

The 41-page full transcript (PL & RU) covers approximately the last 40 minutes of conversation, between 10:02:48,6 and 10:41:05,4 as noted in the flight data recorder.

ST: 118,975, Polish Air Force 101, thank you, good day.
D: Bye.
2P: You’re supposed to say, “Do swidanija”.
ST: Well, I don’t know, is it “Do swidaija”, or…
2P: Or how?
ST: I wouldn’t agree…
2P: “Dobroje ranieco”.
2P: Say that, we’ll see if he gets it (laughter).
2P: Dobroje ranieco.

2P: No, I can see the ground… I can see something… It may not be a tragedy…
2P: Do you have something to write with?
ST: Yes, I do.
2P: So? Let’s start getting ready.

B/I: Can I have the air pressure and temperature too?
ST: How should I know (incomp.)?
2P: I don’t know. No, tell them the temperature. Coooooooold. (laughter).
A: (incomprehensible)
A: (incomprehensible)
2P: Coooooooold.

D: Polish Air Force 1-0-1, for information at 06:11 Smolensk visibility 400 meters fog.

KVS: Not looking good, there’s fog, it’s unknown whether we’ll land.
B/P: Yeah? (incomprehensible)
A: And if we don’t land, then what?
KVS: We’ll leave.
A: (incomprehensible)
A: What information do we have (incomprehensible) to Warsaw?
A: Around 7.
A: How much fuel?
2P: We have about 13-12.5 tonnes.
A: (incomprehensible)
2P: We’ll make it!

D: PLPH-2-0-1, there is fog at Korsaż, visibility 400 metres.

D: There is fog at Korsaż, visibility 400 metres.

KVS: Temperature and air pressure, please.
044: We greet you warmly. You know what, speaking honestly, it’s a bitch down here. Visibility is about 400 metres and in our view the bases are below 50 metres, thick.
D: The temperature (incomp.), air pressure 7-45. 7-4-5, the landing conditions are nonexistent.
KVS: Thank you, if it’s possible we’ll try to approach, but if not, if the weather’s bad, we’ll circle around.
2P: Have you landed yet?
044: Yeah, we managed to land at the last minute. But speaking frankly, you can definitely try. There are two APMs, they made a gate, so you can try, but… If you’re unable by the second attempt, I advise you to try, for example Moscow, or somewhere [else].

2P: According to them, it’s about 400 visibility, 50 metres base.
A: How much?
A: 400 metres visibility, 50 metres base (incomp.)
A: (incomprehensible)
2P: No, they made it.
2P: He also said, that the fog (incomp.)
A: (incomprehensible)
KVS: Mr. director, there’s fog…
KVS: At the moment, in the present conditions, we won’t be able to set down.
KVS: We’ll try to approach, we’ll make one attempt, but most likely nothing will come of it.
KVS: If it turns out that (incomp.), what should we do?
KVS: We don’t have enough fuel for this (incomp.).
A: Well, then we have a problem… {director Kazana}
KVS: We can hang around for half an hour and fly to the reserve.
A: What reserve?
KVS: Minsk or Witebsk.

KVS: Ask Artur, if the clouds are thick.
2P: I don’t know if they’ll be there, that… If they’re still there.
2P: Ok, I’ll transfer.
2P: Artur, are you there?
A: (incomprehensible)
044: I’m Remek.
2P: Oh, Remuś, ask Artur, whether… Or maybe you know, are those clouds thick?
A: (incomprehensible)
A: (incomprehensible)
2P: How many?
KVS: 9-9, hold.
2P: 9-9.
A: (incomprehensible)
044: About 400-500 metres.
ST: Stay on course?
KVS: No.
ST: About 400-500 metres.
2P: But is that the thickness?
A: Visible.
044: Are you there?
2P: But is the thickness of the clouds 400-500 metres??
044: As far as I remember, at 500 metres we were still above the clouds.
2P: Ah… At 500 metres [you were] above the clouds… Good, good, thanks.
044: Ah… One more thing… The APMs are about 200 metres from the edge of the runway.
2P: Thanks.
2P: The APMs are there.
2P: 200 metres from the edge of the runway.
KVS: Ask if the Russians have landed yet.
2P: Have the Russians landed yet?
A: (incomprehensible)
022: They approached twice and I think they flew somewhere else.
2P: Ok, I understand, thanks.
2P: Did you hear that?
KVS: Great.

KVS: Korsaz, Polish 101, holding 1500.
D: Ahh… Polish 1-0-1, according to pressure 7-4-5, descend 500.
KVS: According to pressure 7-4-5, descending 500.

A: At the moment, there’s no decision from the president about what to do next. {director Kazana}

KVS: We’re making our approach. In case of a failed approach, we ascend on autopilot.

Signal at F=500 Hz.
A: 6.
D: PLF (incomp.) 500 copy?
KVS: We’ve descended 500 metres.
D: 500 metres, have you landed at a military airport before?
KVS: Flaps 15.
A: Lit.
KVS: Yes, of course.
D: Reflectors on the left, on the right, at the start of the runway.
KVS: Understood.
B/P: Captain, board ready for landing.
KVS: Thank you.

044: Arek, the visibility is now 200.
KVS: Flaps.
A: (incomprehensible)
KVS: Thank you.

Signal at F=845 Hz. Pursuing further.

D: 4 and on course.

ST: 200.
KVS: On.
ST: 150.
D: 2 and on course.
A: 100 metres.
ST: 100.
ST: 100.
(2P): In the norm.
ST: 90.
ST: 80.
2P: We’re aborting.
Signal at F=400 Hz. (Unsafe altitude).
ST: 60.
ST: 50.
D: Horizon 101.
ST: 40.
ST: 30.
D: Altitude control, horizon.
ST: 20.
Signal at F=400 Hz. ABSU.
Signal at F=800 Hz. Close lead.
Signal at F=400 Hz. ABSU.
Signal at F=400 Hz. ABSU.
Sound of hitting trees.
2P: F*cking hell!
D: Abort to second approach!
A: Screaming F*ckkkkkkkkkkkk…..

LB Comments:  No proof Russian ATC warned the pilot they were below the glide slope 1500 meters out. 

Actual weather observations incorrectly reported to the pilot by Russian ATC and wrong barometric pressure was given twice in the transcripts. 745mm Hg (29.33 inches Hg) was given.

In an actual recording that was leaked and is not in the above transcript, another incorrect barometric reading was given (744mm Hg 29.29 inches) and visibility with 8km haze.  The actual observation was 30.29 inces Hg and can be heard in the below video:

DNA analyses confirm number of Smolensk plane crash victims – 96

Moscow. 96 people died in the plane crash close to Smolensk in which Polish President Lech Kaczynski died, a Russian healthcare ministry official confirmed before RIA Novosti, citing the results of the DNA analyses. “We confirm the initial information – 96 people died.”

TU-154 of Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed close to the city of Smolensk on April 10 in the morning while making an attempt to land in poor visibility caused by fog. There were 88 passengers and eight crew members aboard.

FOCUS News Agency

Found all the BOR guns

Chief Military Prosecutor Colonel Christopher Parulski said he managed to find all the guns being supplied to the Government Protection Bureau officers. It is about seven weapons, part of which is preserved in good condition. Were also found magazines of ammunition, some broken during the crash.

Colonel Parulski added that Russian prosecutors have done a ballistic weapons expert, to exclude the possibility that a weapon was used before the crash. Their results will be included in the report of the committee to investigate the causes of the disaster…

Representatives of the prosecutor – asked whether the time has come to start to impugn the most extreme assumptions, such as electromagnetic pulse attack, missile attack, or placing a device for locking the steering gear, the Attorney General Andrew Seremet said that “some of the arguments are in themselves such a degree of fantasy that reasonable it denies the people themselves. ”

But if they disagree with the proposition imposing hypotheses investigators, this would mean a disclosure, which the material available to investigators, and this is not recommended – at the same time reserved…



The first stage of work on the Tu-154 completed

TVN24 (English Translation)

Experts from the Technical Committee on Aviation interstate (MAK), examining the disaster Presidential Tu-154 aircraft have completed the first phase of work on the scheme of air accidents. Currently, discussions are translated into Polish pilots.

Are also still continue work on processing information from the registrars. – Conducted a timing (overlapping in time) flight data and audio data read from the on-board recorders – said the representative of MAK.

The Commission also announced that it has received fragments of radio and navigational equipment found in a broken machine. They are used to further research. Committee on Aviation submitted also carriers of information, which pilots call the land registered with the tower at the airport in Smolensk.

According to representatives of the MAK, Russian and Polish experts continue to work on a logging crew interviews. Bilateral started the translation of recorded interviews with the assistance of qualified interpreters.

In addition, experts took the calculation and determination of the trajectory of the aircraft. Also started to register documents and records generated by the various technical committees. MAK stresses that all the work of the Technical Commission are carried out in close cooperation with specialists from the Polish side.



Who’s to blame? Technika, pogoda, ludzie… Tech, weather, people …

Experts finish reading black boxes found at the scene

DziennikPolski (English Translation)(Emphasis Mine)

They confirm that the pilots received a warning of bad weather conditions. At the same time securing the loading of the Tu 154, whose analysis will be crucial to determining the cause of the disaster in Smolensk.

What is striking: the pilots had one, a dramatic situation, fully aware that weather conditions are extremely unfavorable, and such information is already getting to 20, 40 kilometer before landing – said yesterday a reporter RMF FM Krzysztof Pakulski military prosecutor, who at the scene operates on behalf of the Polish prosecutor’s office (along with Russian investigators.)

Similar statements by Polish prosecutors yesterday before the two airport workers in Smolensk: the controller and the flight director, who contacted the crew of the aircraft. As argued, in their view it was not the conditions for landing and is reborn in our pilots.

One of them, Paul Pliusin, said earlier in an interview with a journalist of Russian Life News website that the Polish crew had problems with the Russian language and suggested that the Polish crew land on a backup airport. Pilots had to respond that they have enough fuel.

They wanted to make a landing approach, and if they do not succeed, fly to the aerodrome. As argued at some point the Poles fell silent. Longer respond to his word. In his view, the problem could be the language of administration and the precise approach landing.

He is surprised of that suggestion and can not be reconciled with them.  Colonel Bartosz Stroiński, who was in Smolensk the past Wednesday with Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and piloted the plane along with the Captain.

– I think that is – I do not know what to call it – fake.

April 7 was not the slightest problem of language, I was commander of the crew, and the second pilot was Arek Protasiuk, of blessed memory, unfortunately.

He conducted correspondence with the approach to landing.  There were not any problems – he said in an interview with a reporter RMF FM…





Some See Kaczynski Running for President

WSJ – By Marcin Sobczyk

The death of President Lech Kaczynski changed the political landscape in Poland and left the conservative opposition with very few choices in the presidential election originally expected during the second half of the year. Now, the most obvious choice is to nominate the conservative leader, the president’s identical twin brother, Jaroslaw, for president in a snap election set for June 20.

Because of the political calendar, parties must choose their candidates by next Monday and they must register their candidates with 1,000 votes. For a large party, it’s easy to do this quickly, but the clock is ticking, putting the selection process for the conservative candidate into emergency mode.

The death of the president in a plane crash was unimaginable for the country, but it must have been even more unthinkable for his brother, whose mother is also very ill. Everyone in Poland, from news media to cab drivers, is asking this question: Has the tragedy broken the conservative leader? Or will he see it as his obligation to fill his brother’s shoes and run for president?

… Jaroslaw Kaczynski has not yet declared his candidacy, and a declaration could change the polls still. Because of the sensitive circumstances and his strong leadership style, it will ultimately be his personal decision.

In the meantime, his party colleagues, in numerous remarks to local media over the past days, are sending a very strong message that Kaczynski should be the party’s candidate for president…]



Russian Court Ordered to Hear Appeal in Katyn Case

New York Times (Reuters)

A Russian human rights group said Wednesday that it had cleared an initial hurdle in its legal fight to declassify documents about a 1940 massacre of Polish officers by Soviet troops that still causes tensions between Russia and Poland.

Russia’s Supreme Court ordered the Moscow City Court to consider an appeal in which a rights group, Memorial, sought to force the authorities to declassify a 2004 decision by military prosecutors to drop an investigation into the massacre in the Katyn forest. A Memorial leader, Yan Rachinsky, said the ruling could lead to a court decision to open up secret documents providing details about the killings of thousands of Polish officers there. Poland also wants the documents declassified.

Longstanding tensions between Russia and Poland have shown signs of easing after the death of the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and 95 others on April 10 in a plane crash en route to a commemoration ceremony at Katyn. Polish leaders have expressed deep gratitude for the Russian response, including the formal military sendoff for Mr. Kaczynski’s body.



Poland buries soldier beside president

Gulf Times – AFP/Warsaw

Poland’s top soldier was laid to  rest yesterday, more than a week after he died in an air crash in  Russia along with president Lech Kaczynski and scores of senior  political and military officials.

General Franciszek Gagor — chief of the Polish general staff  and once tipped for Nato’s top uniformed post — was buried with  honours at a Warsaw military cemetery among past Polish soldiers,  resistance fighters and public figures.

Gagor, 58, was among the 96 people killed when Poland’s  presidential jet crashed on April 10 near Smolensk, western Russia.  There were no survivors. The delegation was heading to a 70th anniversary memorial  ceremony in the nearby Katyn forest for thousands of captured Polish  officers slain by the Soviets during World War II. Gagor began his military career in 1973 when Poland was part of  the post-war Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.

He served in UN operations, and four years after the communist  regime’s 1989 collapse became commander of Polish peacekeeping  forces.

Gagor played a key role in the drive to enter Nato. He ran the  military’s foreign policy department from 1996 until Poland was  among the first ex-communist states admitted to the trans-Atlantic  alliance in 1999.

He commanded UN troops in Iraq and Syria in 2003 to 2004, and  was then Poland’s envoy at Nato’s Brussels headquarters until 2006.

That year he was named chief the general staff — the top job in  a country’s armed forces, with overall control of land, naval and  air forces.

In 2007, Gagor ran to be chairman of Nato’s military committee,  the top uniformed post in the alliance which now has 28 members  after three waves of expansion into the ex-communist bloc.

He was the first officer from a former Warsaw Pact nation to  seek the job.

Seen as a favourite, he eventually lost to Italian Admiral  Giampaolo Di Paola in a vote among fellow commanders.

Among the other top brass killed in the April 10 crash were  Poland’s army, air force, navy and special forces commanders. The other military victims included the commander of foreign  deployments such as in Afghanistan, Warsaw’s garrison chief, four  senior chaplains and Kaczynski’s army physician.


NATO Biographies General Franciszek Gagor

Admiral James Stavridis The Loss of a Great Friend



Exiled Polish leader kept the faith

RYSZARD KACZOROWSKI – STATESMAN 26-11-1919 – 10-4-2010

RYSZARD Kaczorowski, who was Poland’s last president-in-exile, serving from 1989 to 1990, died in the air crash near Smolensk in Russia that claimed the lives of many of the country’s political, social and military elite. He was 90.

His was a story of enduring belief in an apparently hopeless cause. Of the governments-in-exile that found refuge in London during World War II, Poland’s was unique in continuing for several decades.

The son of a railwayman, Kaczorowski was born in Bialystok, eastern Poland. He went to a commercial school, joined the Scouts and worked for a wine merchant. When Poland was divided and overrun in 1939 as a result of the Soviet-Nazi non-aggression pact, Bialystok was occupied by the Soviets.

Kaczorowski continued clandestine activities with the Scouts and his anti-Soviet activities were uncovered by the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB. In May 1941 he was sentenced to death, later commuted to 10 years’ hard labour at the Kolyma gulag in Siberia.

Kaczorowski was released after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 and enlisted in the pro-Soviet Polish forces under the command of General Wiadysiaw Anders. Allowed out of Russia, these troops came under British command and formed the greater part of Anders’s Second Polish Corps, which would distinguish itself in the Italian campaign.

The 1943 discovery by the Germans of thousands of executed Polish officers in Katyn and the Polish government-in-exile’s request that the Red Cross investigate led Stalin to break relations with the Polish government in London. In 1945, recognition of the government-in-exile was withdrawn by the West and given to the Soviet-imposed government in Warsaw, leading to a succession of presidents-in-exile.

Polish forces under British command were disbanded in 1947, but they remained loyal to the government-in-exile. Most chose a life in exile; many, including Kaczorowski, settled in Britain but were isolated. They were not even invited to take part in London’s victory parade in May 1946.

By the time of the Korean War (1950-53), it was clear that there would be no return to power. The government continued on a shoestring, its ministers often holding down menial jobs: Warsaw’s rulers vilified this government, and British authorities shunned its presence.

Kaczorowski worked in an accounting firm and became chief scout of the emigre Polish Scouting Union that nurtured the children and grandchildren of exiles. He served as minister of home affairs before his short tenure as president-in-exile.

When, in 1990, Lech Walesa was elected president of Poland, he chose to succeed not from Poland’s last communist leader, General Jaruzelski, but from the government-in-exile in London.

Kaczorowski returned to Poland for the first time in almost 50 years on December 22, 1990, and, in Warsaw’s rebuilt Royal Castle, handed over his presidential insignia of office. With that, the government-in-exile had completed its task.

Over the next 20 years, Kaczorowski often visited Poland from his home in Willesden, north-west London. His wife, Karolina, two daughters and five grandchildren survive him.


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Obama’s Sunday Golf Game May Cost Him Polish American Vote

Victor Erofeyev: The Past, the Present and the Future of Katyn