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Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 15:24
This time there were no journalists on board.
(Which was very common.)

There was not enough room for them in the Tu-154, so they were supposed to fly
the Yak-40, also from the same PAF unit.

They embarked, waited for an hour, then they were told, there is a technical problem
and another Yak-40 will be provided...

They eventually reached Smloleńsk 2 hours before the Tu-154 accident.

They reported, there was already fog over the airfield, but they landed without
incident.

andrasz
11th Apr 2010, 15:32
LOT phased out their TU5's in 1994, so simply their age precludes either of the pilots from having had any airline experience. However this same age precludes them from having been of the old school

wozzo
11th Apr 2010, 15:44
Link (Russian) (http://www.lifenews.ru/news/20288)

- Crew were suggested to divert, they decided to try one approach before diverting (enough fuel on board)
- During approach, crew didn't read back radio altimeter values (ATC speculates, that they had difficulties with speaking numbers in Russian)

Yeah
11th Apr 2010, 15:46
What's "bu**it" about that. I worked in ATC all my life and not once did any pilot ask me for permission to land.... and not once did I, or any controller I ever worked with, say "Permission granted..."


sorry, maybe I misanderstood you.
Did you say, that is normal for every polish pilots or what?

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 15:52
Andrasz, they were certainly not "old school",
but the top brass on board, as well as the President himself, were. :(

"Młody, ląduj"
"You young one, just land"

This is what a young officer hears from the older one, if he starts to complain...

You should know what a young soldier, new in the unit has to expect from the
older ones...

Certainly not respect and understanding.

Skyglider
11th Apr 2010, 15:54
HEATHROW DIRECTOR?

"Bu**it!!>>

What's "bu**it" about that. I worked in ATC all my life and not once did any pilot ask me for permission to land.... and not once did I, or any controller I ever worked with, say "Permission granted..."

What kind of planet are these people on??"

Your comment to "Yeah:ok:" just doesn't make any sense! You are both agreeing on the same thing here!

HD what planet are you on?

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
11th Apr 2010, 15:58
Yeah.. There is standard R/T phraseology, used worldwide. It's the sort of thing one reads in cheapo newspapers: "The pilot called for permission to land". That's not the way things work!

Someone suggested that the UK is different from "the Continent". In respect of what I said, it isn't, but reading this thread I'm very, very glad I live in the UK!!

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 16:02
Another aspect:

The young pilots, born 1974 were still having Russian language classes at school,
but after 1989 seldom had the opportunity to use it.

Older ones still used to have a lot to do with it during the common exercise
with other pilots of the block, Russian was the common language
of the Warsaw Pact.

Understanding problems with the ATC are probable...

peter we
11th Apr 2010, 16:06
Some of PPRuNe's corespondents might be guilty of assuming that the rules that applied in their air force applied to all.

Its worth bearing in mind that virtually none of the Polish who fought in Britain went back to the communist occupied country after the war. Any aircrew in Poland in the communist era would have been trained entirely by the Soviets during and after the war.

andrasz
11th Apr 2010, 16:08
HD/Skyglider,

Highly amusing to watch such misunderstandings develop, if only there weren't the sad background to it...

The quoted phraseology has nothing to do with aviation - that's how you would expect peple with Warsaw Pact military background to communicate. All of us who grew up with (and did experience firsthand) such terminology will recognise it instantly. Lucky you who dont.

Squealing Pig
11th Apr 2010, 16:09
Crews in the West not under pressure from top brass, I dont thinks so:-

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/65F3C701-0FE7-4086-80FA-EEF5242D2A13/0/maas94_01_bae_146_cc2_ze700_29jun94.pdf

http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/271099-prince-charles-prang-isle-islay-june-1995-a.html

Yeah
11th Apr 2010, 16:12
HEATHROW DIRECTOR
I tought that : "Cleared to land, runway XX" is standard in Europe.

fiddlair
11th Apr 2010, 16:35
Just a thought... Spent 14 years on TU-154, very reliable plane, any A or B aircraft supersedes only in two aspects: fuel consumption and best minima+autoland. Flown Airbuses and Boeings since then, Boeing is nice but I would fly a 154 instead - if I could get the same money I get on B. Having about 2000 hrs on a 154 is nothing, poor president should have arranged somebody else... Also without being perfect in Russian and (I guess) not having much experience flying QFE didn't help. Sometimes I wonder how so called professional pilots behave and see the world so ...unprofessionally in every aspect... sorry for this.

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 16:42
To put to rest the rumour of 4th approach read the interview:

-154 : LIFE | NEWS (http://www.lifenews.ru/news/20288)

or the poor translation:

Google Tłumacz (http://translate.google.pl/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lifenews.ru%2Fnews%2F20288&sl=ru&tl=en)

- How was your yesterday's conversation with the crew?
- They were asked to go to the alternate. Они отказались. They refused.

- You offer them?
- Yes.

- For what reason?
- Because the weather began to deteriorate.

- And what was the response?
- Answer: "I have enough fuel, I'll do one approach and go to the alternate aerodrome, if I will not land."

- And we had information that he was invited to land in other cities.
- It's me who also offered it to him.

- And why did he refuse?
- You had to ask him.

- Why they took such a decision? They began to curse, or may actively insisted on his point, that you could not change his mind?
- This was a decision the commander.

- What's next? He said that he would leave for another round and go to the alternate aerodrome, right?
- No, he said that if he will not manage to land, then goes to the alternate.


So it was clearly their first approach, not 4th, he just did 3 low holding rounds
before attempting to land.

rattler46
11th Apr 2010, 16:55
According the words of Russian Air Force Vicecommander gen. Aloshin it should've been a PAR approach. His description of cooperation between ATC and crew almost certainly indicates that kind of approach.Assuming for a moment this was correct (dont see a source) then DH/DA would have been where?

Rattler

jackharr
11th Apr 2010, 16:57
Squealing Pig:
"Crews in the West not under pressure from top brass, I dont thinks so:-

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/65F3C...00_29jun94.pdf (http://redirectingat.com/?id=42X487496&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mod.uk%2FNR%2Frdonlyres%2F65F3C701-0FE7-4086-80FA-EEF5242D2A13%2F0%2Fmaas94_01_bae_146_cc2_ze700_29jun94.pdf&sref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pprune.org%2Frumours-news%2F411701-polish-presidents-c-down-reports-14.html)

Prince Charles Prang in Isle of Islay - June 1995 (http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/271099-prince-charles-prang-isle-islay-june-1995-a.html)"

I didnt say that there is never any pressure but the captain should be strong enough to resist; if he doesnt, then I would question his suitability for the job.

I was a 146 training captain myself and there is no way that I would have allowed Charles to land in that situation. Indeed, I doubt that I would have been happy to land it myself given the prevailing conditions of wind and runway length. I would imagine that Charles himself would have understood that I was right, embarrassing as that might have been for him to be told that he just wasnt up to it. But I wouldnt be very competent at making small talk with civic dignitaries; everyone to his own

Jack

11Fan
11th Apr 2010, 16:59
I wonder how so called professional pilots behave and see the world so ...unprofessionally in every aspect... sorry for this.

fiddlair,

There is nothing to apologize for. Please remember that there are not just pilots on this website, there are other aviation professionals as well.

And then there are just others.

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 17:00
Rattler,

this is wrong, according to the interview with the ATC, quoted and linked above
he "couldn't command them, just recomend".

This is not my understanding of PAR. But I might be wrong.

On the other hand the ATC complains about problems with communication,
he expected them to respond to his "suggestion" with the altitude
read back, but they didn't.

He speculates, they had problems with pronouncing the numbers in Russian,
so they chose to stay silent and continued this first approach on their own...

With the "known result", as he put it... :(

rattler46
11th Apr 2010, 17:04
thx, Ptkay, confirms my doubts.

Rattler

3lite
11th Apr 2010, 17:05
<<Pilot-student (obviously following the CFI instructions)
or CFI: "Request permission to land runway xx"
FIS: "permission granted, you can land runway xx.">>

That sounds like the kind of R/T one reads in a comic. Do they really behave like that?

Not exacly. At some busy not controled GA airports You call FIS and ask for situation on the airport. FIS told you runway in use, circle pattern, how many planes is at the traffic pattern and ask you to call on a position like downwind or final... If you are on final You told to FIS - final full stop, or final t/g. Then FIS give you wind information and granted to land, what give you information that runway is clear. But it is only information for You. You don't have to following the instructions.

jsypilot
11th Apr 2010, 17:10
He speculates, they had problems with pronouncing the numbers in Russian,
so the chose to stay silent and continued this first approach on their own...


Isn't the internationally recognised language for ATC English?

Cosmo57
11th Apr 2010, 17:17
According to commander, total flight time he accumulated 1939 hr. He has no airline experience. They had very poor money for they job around 1000 Euro per month. They practice very rare. You can imagine how looks his motivation. PAR is not in use in Poland. Lighting system in Russian Runways is different! Plane is reliable good maintained but difficult see approaches Tu 154 on youtube.
Best Regards

ARRAKIS
11th Apr 2010, 17:17
Isn't the internationally recognised language for ATC English?
It seams, that not always and not everywhere.

Surprised that ATC was allowed to talk to the press.

Arrakis

captplaystation
11th Apr 2010, 17:21
Jeez, 2000hr command (or was it really 1939 TOTAL ? :eek: ) isn't much experience (and over so many years) to be flying VIP's around, you would be lucky to get a sniff at DEC in some locos with that command experience, & usual total required is minimum around 3500hrs. Goes to show
A- It wasn't such a great job if that was the most experience they could attract/keep (1000 a month , well, better use in Poland than the rest of Europe, but hardly a good wage,) did Mr President not mind /know he was being flown around by underpaid inexperienced pilots, or did he only care that they landed where he told them ?
B- These boys probably wanted & needed to keep the boss happy as they didn't have that much marketable experience, and on a fairly useless type, to go job hunting anywhere decent.

Bit of a bum deal really, having to shoot approaches in wx below minima /language problems/unfamiliar procedures PAR QFE etc etc, maybe we shouldn't be SO surprised at the outcome.

Whilst it has no influence on the tragic end, happy to hear it WASN'T the 4th approach at least.

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 17:25
Col Tomasz Pietrzyk, former commander of the Tu-154 Squadron
who left his position and the army in 2008 in protest against poor safety standards
in his unit commented today in an interview with the TVP 2:

1. Smolensk has no "western" navigation aids. No ILS, no VOR.
2. Smolensk is "difficult" in poor weather conditions.
3. Smolensk is similar to Mieroslawiec (where CASA crashed)
only "suggestions" form the ATC, so this confirms, it was PAR approach.
(Miroslawiec CASA tragic approach was PAR).
4. The ATC in Smolensk didn't declare the airfield "closed", they just
"suggested" alternate.
5. They did 4 holding circuits, not approaches, this was the first landing attempt...

He concluded:
"I will not speculate".

Massey1Bravo
11th Apr 2010, 17:31
Isn't the internationally recognised language for ATC English?

Bear in mind that it's a military VIP flight operating into a military airfield of a foreign country, one would expect a translator of some sort.

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 17:33
The resemblance to the CASA accident are striking... :eek:

Young pilots, seldom or never flying PAR, poor communication with ATC.

fiddlair
11th Apr 2010, 17:37
Having done a few par and sra approaches, I don't think it was a par... The controller supposed to talk during approach, but according to the site above he was asking for altitude with no answer - so he did not have radar of any kind. Forgot wich one is wich, during one approach the controller gives headings leading to final,then headings again on final, and order for descent to minima. During the other one the controller is talking down the ac, giving orders like turn left 2 degrees, rod 800, keep it and so on, continuously - that is the real military one. But these approaches need ground equipment, special radar .

Lon More
11th Apr 2010, 17:37
FWIW
Note: only applicable to Civil airfields, The military can do what they like,

In which languages does a licence holder need to demonstrate proficiency?

Amendment 164 to Annex 1 has introduced strengthened language proficiency requirements for flight crew members and air traffic controllers. The language proficiency requirements apply to any language used for radiotelephony communications in international operations. Therefore, pilots on international flights shall demonstrate language proficiency in either English or the language used by the station on the ground. Controllers working on stations serving designated airports and routes used by international air services shall demonstrate language proficiency in English as well as in any other language(s) used by the station on the ground.

For more information, please refer to Annex 1, Chapter 1, paragraph 1.2.9 and Attachment to Annex 1, and also to Annex 10, Volume II, Chapter 5. Please, also refer to the FAQ "Guidance on the evaluation of language proficiency".

jsypilot
11th Apr 2010, 17:38
The resemblance to the CASA accident are striking

Reading the report is a pure horror story and makes one shudder.

ASN Aircraft accident Casa C-295M 019 Miroslawiec AB (http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20080123-0)

Chris Scott
11th Apr 2010, 17:43
andrasz, Ptkay, and now 3lite,

You seem to have the best local knowledge on this thread thanks for your insights.

Any comments on the ideas I put in my post (http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-presidents-c-down-reports-10.html#post5627074), earlier today?


Ptkay,

"Suggestions" from ATC could involve a multitude of matters. It is true to say that a PAR approach involves "suggestions" (of both heading and rate of descent), but most pilots loosely regard them as instructions in the sense that you either follow them to the letter, or you don't accept the offer of the PAR approach in the first place. Or, if you have reached your minima, or are experiencing any other problem, you go around.

Is there yet any firm indication that a PAR (GCA) approach was available to this flight?

Chris

andrasz
11th Apr 2010, 17:43
jsypilot

It is, however it is just a 'recommendation' from ICAO, there are numerous exceptions. French ATC will regularly communicate in french with french aircraft - can be extremely annoying trying to keep situational awareness in the busy Paris area. Same for spanish ATC (in Spanish). In all cases it is a case of national pride vs. practicality and safety. Russian civilian ATC did change to English (even for local flights, an impressive feat, kudos to whoever managed to bang that through), but the military is Russian only. As it was a military airfield, Russian comms would be normal (and expected).

What I find very curious, and I'm sure intentional, is the very careful wording of any official information (including the interview with the controller, which I'm sure was officially sanctioned, and probably orchestrated). In all cases the words 'suggested' and 'recommended' are used when describing controller comms with the a/c(russian speakers, please help out, do you feel the same when reading it in russian ?), in stark contrast to the Russian procedures of ATC being in 'control' and giving commands & orders to aircraft. While in civilian ATC the rules have been relaxed to international norms, in military ATC I'm sure there is no change... Also during a PAR approach, the controller is in fact 'in control' of the aircraft. The pilot merely carries out controller instructions, as he has no means of verifying his position other than the controller's words. On such an approach the controllers words are an order, not a suggestion...

grebllaw123d
11th Apr 2010, 17:50
Quote:
He speculates, they had problems with pronouncing the numbers in Russian,
so the chose to stay silent and continued this first approach on their own...

If you are making a GCA you are expected to follow the instructions and remain silent unless otherwise instructed by the controller - it has been so since I started flying in the Air Force in 63.
So why give the information that they "chose to remain silent"? And the quote: "continued this first approach on their own..." - how can you fly a GCA on your own...?

I am really puzzled: Did the crew make a GCA or what?

Ultranomad
11th Apr 2010, 17:56
To clarify the confusion with the alleged four attempts at approach, this is merely a terminological blunder by the journalist who interviewed someone at the airport. The phrase as it first appeared in the press was something like "they crashed after the fourth approach". Anyone familiar with the Russian terminology would instantly recognize the error: in Russian (and a few other languages, possibly in Polish as well) the final turn in an aerodrome circuit is called the fourth turn. So, the interviewee merely said they crashed on final.

And yes, this aerodrome has neither ILS nor VOR, just two NDBs, PAR and RSBN (a Russian system similar to TACAN). The usual minimums for PAR approach in Russia are 100 m (330') decision height, 1000 to 1800 m visibility (sorry, don't have the exact data for Smolensk). Actual RVR at the time of the crash was about 500 m.

grebllaw123d, judging by the available information, they were monitored by PAR but it wasn't a proper GCA. This is, however, a mere conjecture. The typical Russian procedure for a non-precision approach is for the pilot to report passing FAP, LOM and LMM, stating the altitude. This is probably what the ATCO referred to when saying the crew stopped reporting the altitude.

brak
11th Apr 2010, 18:05
The interview with ATC isn't all that carefully worded but he is quite specific about not being able to "order" pilots, only recommend.


- And he started the landing which you prohibited?
- I could not prohibit it, I recommended that he should not do it!

- И пошел на ту посадку, которую вы ему запрещали?
- Я не мог запрещать, я ему рекомендовал, что ее не надо выполнять!

jsypilot
11th Apr 2010, 18:19
- And he started the landing which you prohibited?
- I could not prohibit it, I recommended that he should not do it!


If that report is to be believed then it doesn't sound much like PAR/GCA conditions.

Kulverstukas
11th Apr 2010, 18:24
andrasz

russian speakers, please help out, do you feel the same when reading it in russian ?

ATC sounds irritated

- How goes your yesterday's conversation with the crew?
- They were asked to go to the alternate. They refused.
- You offer them?
- Yes.
- For what reason?
- Because I watch the weather began to deteriorate.
- And what was the response?
- Answer: "I have enough fuel , I'll do one approach and will divert if i can't land."
- And we had information that he was offered alternative.
- I offered him also.
- And why did he refused?
- You may ask him.
- Why they make such a decision? They began to swear, or may be insisted, so you could not convince them?
- This was a decision of the commander.
- What's next? He said that he would make another attempt and then go to the alternate site, right?
- No, he said that if he can't land, then goes to the alternate.
- And what you do then?
- As I said before. Can't tell more.
- But what happened next? They switch off?
- No, why? He was on radio long enough.
- What are they talking about?
- What are the commands I gave - they give information in the begining, and then stop to give any information ...
- They stopped to listen to you?
- They must give a receipt, but they did not.
- And what a receipt?
- Height during the approach.
- They do not even give you information about the height of the plane?
- Yes.
- And what is the risk that they will not give a receipt?
- Wen they are on radio, they must give a receipt.
- Well, why they don't give this receipt?
- Well, how can I know? Because they are not fluent in Russian.
- Well, nobody among the crew speaks Russian?
- They were Russian-speaking, but numbers - it was quite difficult for them.
- So you did not have any information about altitude?
- No, I don't.
- So it turns out that he turned, attempted another approach, can't land, and then diverted to the alternate? Right?
- No, no, that wrong. One approach. Then he tried landing.
- Landing, which you forbidden him?
- I can't forbid him, I can only recommended him that it is not safe!

andrasz
11th Apr 2010, 18:42
Chris,

Your points are very valid, there are some extreme sensitivities involved. From what I see so far, the Russian side is uncommonly upfront with presenting any verified information as soon as it is available, I see a very clear desire to avoid any accusations of a cover-up. On the other side, there is also a keen desire to absolve themselves of any blame (controller interview, etc.), however a couple of posts back I have listed the three key questions, so far only the one regarding the number of approach attempts were answered (only one, not four as reported previously).

We still don't know what kind of approach was made - so far the released comms are at odds with a PAR approach, however a NDB approach in such conditions would have been illegal under any norms. I would also have expected a firm denial of an engine failure by now, yet the official Russian line is still that 'all possile causes are looked at'. However looking at the CNN footage, the first bits of wreckage are clearly flap parts, consistent with a tree strike scenario, an uncontained engine failure on go around seems very unlikely, and would surely have been picked up by Polish media if it were a plausible scenario.

I would expect that an independent third party involvement would not be in the interest of either of the parties. At present it seems that either the controller was not assertive enough (ie. he should have prohibited the approach, and waived the aircraft off to one of the alternates) or the pilot was too assertive in attempting an approach in conditions well below minima, in full awareness of this. The direct cause of the accident (whether the altimeter was set incorrectly, or there was pressure from some on-board VIPs) is pretty much irrelevant in the context of information that emerged so far, even making an approach was in breach of both russian and polish norms given the conditions. Someone will have egg on their faces, no matter what the final finding is.

From what we know now, it seems to be a sad case of 'get-there-itis', with both the pilot and the ground controller being aware of the importance of the event and the implications of a diversion, and reluctant to make the final call out that should have been the conclusion based on their profesional aviation background.

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 18:56
The quoted interview with ATC made it to Polish TV.
Now running live on TVN24.

Commented by Col. Tomasz Pietrzak:

"Old procedure based on NDB..."

"Not used in Poland since years."

"They could respond, but must not respond."

"This is not true, they didn't speak Russian, they were fluent."

"This was a military airfield, no ICAO, Russian spoken."

"They might have been too busy with the lookout, therefore not responding..."

"They were to the airfield before, last time on Wednesday
on "reconnaissance" flight..."

"Every celebration they landed there..."

"They knew the vicinity, terrain well..."

"They didn't try to land, they made a test approach..."

"...there was no holding, there was just one approach..."

"They hit the forest from the threshold, 50m off the line..."

"On the threshold three spot lights in flight path direction..."

"It was a visibility test approach..."

"It was not a mistake by ATC not to close the airfield..."

"Lets not talk about mistakes."

Interview ended.

johns7022
11th Apr 2010, 19:09
300 posts later I think this is what we MAY know....

If the plane was on an approach, probably crashed doing a circle to land
If the plane wasn't on an approach, probably crashed trying to find the runway...

Either way it smells of CFIT during the approach phase and might be one of those deals where they go just a little lower and lower trying to find the runway.

Hard to believe that aircraft didn't have a radar alt/EGWS....but all that could be ignored and or warnings turned off.

I also wonder about altimeter settings, if there is a diff between Poland and Russia....

The last but not to be disregarded possibility is sabotage...given why they plane was to be there, to basicaly get an apology from Stalinist era communists..

andrasz
11th Apr 2010, 19:13
johns7022

Welcome to the flying circus! Honestly, not trying to put you off, quite fresh here myself, but PLEASE read the previous 292 posts before making a 293rd.

protectthehornet
11th Apr 2010, 19:20
I haven't seen anything to make me think this was a ''circle to land'' approach.

Obscuring phemomena (scud, fog) at the end of the runway, coupled with a ''duck under'' to stay visual at the end of an approach...its tough that last few hundred feet.

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 19:21
Johns:


Either way it smells of CFIT during the approach phase and might be one of those deals where they go just a little lower and lower trying to find the runway.
Quite possible.

Hard to believe that aircraft didn't have a radar alt/EGWS....but all that could be ignored and or warnings turned off.
See CASA accident report linked above.
Rather impossible in this case, but see also the "valley" on approach path
discussion few posts before. EGWS reacted, but to fast, to late.

I also wonder about altimeter settings, if there is a diff between Poland and Russia....
ICAO, including Poland uses QNH, Russia and Russian trained military QFE.
When doing my training with ex military CFI, he insisted for QFE,
I had to rethink and learn flying QNH.

The last but not to be disregarded possibility is sabotage...given why they plane was to be there, to basicaly get an apology from Stalinist era communists..
Please, do not even mention such possibility. It would have been the ultimate
disaster in Polish-Russian relations.

Chronus
11th Apr 2010, 19:37
The captain of the a320 flight rnv 967 having so informed ATC got himself an immediate wheather improvement at Sochi.
Paragraph 1.18 of the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee Air Accident Investigation Commission`s report states:

Excessive mental set for landing at Sochi airport.
Conflict of motives.

This accident has some uncanny parallels and similarities to the tragic events of last Saturdays crash at Smolensk.

The full report of the Armenian a320 is at:

http://www.bea-fr.org/docspa/2006/ek-9060502/pdf/ek-9060502.pdf

TBSC
11th Apr 2010, 19:56
@Ptkay


"Old procedure based on NDB..."
"Not used in Poland since years."


E.g. KTW (intl) airport was without ILS for more than a year not so long ago.

dvv
11th Apr 2010, 19:57
Really?

4i4W8o2jc2g

(pardon the shoddy camera work)

6000PIC
11th Apr 2010, 20:00
Poland deserved to have their President and entourage flown by a professional , highly experienced and well paid flight crew operating a modern and well equipped aircraft into this sub-standard airport . Unfortunately , you get what you pay for. Hopefully in the future , policy will change , although I`m not sure it will.
To violate minimums and press on below a safe DH / DA / MDA in todays world with the lessons of the previous 60 years of modern aviation behind us is in the least , totally unprofessional , at the worst , it is criminal.
Handling a pressure situation and ensuring a safe outcome by following the rules and regulations is at the core of what we do as aviators. To allow the situation and others to push you beyond all common sense levels of safety is evidence of inexperience and will result in disasters such as this every time.

andrasz
11th Apr 2010, 20:05
T154 difficult?

A wise old Tu5 training captain once said" "a long final is the secret of long life!" :)

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 20:07
TBSC


E.g. KTW (intl) airport was without ILS for more than a year not so long ago.

So what?
In EPKT they used NDB but not PAR procedures?

TBSC
11th Apr 2010, 20:12
"Old procedure based on NDB, ... not used in Poland since years"

Both PAR and NDB are still used in Poland, that's all I wanted to say. Am I wrong?

racedo
11th Apr 2010, 20:15
Crash: Polish Air Force T154 at Smolensk on Apr 10th 2010, impacted trees on first approach (http://www.avherald.com/h?article=429ec5fa&opt=0)

Interesting in the data Aviation Herald is now showing.

Ptkay
11th Apr 2010, 20:18
I was typing when listening live to the interview with Col. Pietrzak.

What he was exactly saying was (afair):

"In Smolensk they use old military procedures, based on two NDB
(blizsha, dalsha) outer, inner ??, in combination with PAR,
not used and trained in Poland since years."

I don't have the interview in text form, so that's all I can say.

There are still a lot active NDBs in Poland.

frontlefthamster
11th Apr 2010, 20:19
A previous poster commented that people 'deserve' to fly on 'safe' aircraft with 'safe' systems and 'professional' crew, though he stopped short of saying that operations into sub-standard airports should be banned, even though there is comprehensive evidence that they should (forgive me, I'm paraphrasing).

While that's a lovely idea, the fact is that the public now believe that aviation is 'safe' enough (and why not, aviation has been shouting that at them for years) and this explains some of the horrific and unnecessary things that go on.

It would be lovely to think that a tragic and high profile accident like this would engender change, but it won't. We'd need loads more accidents, and many more grieving families, before we saw a worthwhile change. ('tombstone imperative' qv).

Sorry to be the harbinger of doom, but those are the facts (and I've been around long enough, and in enough places, to have worked them out for myself).

flh

ARRAKIS
11th Apr 2010, 20:21
Minor detail. It's Col. Pietrzak and not Pietrzyk.

Arrakis

dvv
11th Apr 2010, 20:25
Quote:
T154 difficult?
A wise old Tu5 training captain once said" "a long final is the secret of long life!"

Yeah. Try that, say, landing 08 at Innsbruck

andrasz
11th Apr 2010, 20:39
Try that, say, landing 08 at Innsbruck

I believe he never tried that. However he did try Hanoi in '72, approach instructions were "follow river North till wrecked railway bridge. continue heading 360 for 20 kms. establish visual contact with runway to the left, circle field and land at discretion"... He did live to a ripe age of 88, telling stories like that all the way...

"Irony introduces an element of humour which may make the criticism seem more polite and less aggressive, but understanding the subtlety of this usage requires second-order interpretation of the speaker's intentions" (Merriam-Webster) :)

akerosid
11th Apr 2010, 20:53
Here's a photo of the Tu-154M cockpit (the aircraft itself) on A.net:

Photos: Tupolev Tu-154M Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Poland---Air/Tupolev-Tu-154M/1221062/&sid=30f9f3a14820456f060a4e714f2fe868)

As you can see, it has significantly more modern technology than the standard Tu-154 cockpit:

Photos: Tupolev Tu-154B-2 Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Malev---Hungarian/Tupolev-Tu-154B-2/0013670/&sid=84ccf314c2d95bbd449ec03e8d21b5c5)

Of course, a (more) modern cockpit fit does not equal CAT III; we don't know what the Polish AF's procedures for low visibility landings are, or whether the acft equipped or crew trained for low visibility approaches.

As for the conspiracy theories about the Russians being involved in foul play, let's leave that kind of nonsense to the conspiracy theorists, some of whom still insist that the USN shot down TW 800. While many may not like Putin, there is a slight difference between him and Stalin ...

Yeah
11th Apr 2010, 21:06
Here's a photo of the Tu-154M cockpit (the aircraft itself) on A.net:

Photos: Tupolev Tu-154M Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net


This is photo from MAY 2007. In 2009/2010 this aircraft was moderated. I don't know full specs of modernisation, but I think, that they make some upgrades.

dvv
11th Apr 2010, 21:07
-M is a significant upgrade compared to -B, so to compare apples to (fresher) apples, see Photos: Tupolev Tu-154M Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Iran-Air-Tour/Tupolev-Tu-154M/1680136/M/)

peter we
11th Apr 2010, 21:11
A- It wasn't such a great job if that was the most experience they could attract/keep (1000 a month , well, better use in Poland than the rest of Europe, but hardly a

1000 euros a month is a good wage in Poland, its the level of pay in a corporate employer.

Poland deserved to have their President and entourage flown by a professional , highly experienced and well paid flight crew operating a modern and well equipped aircraft into this sub-standard airport . Unfortunately , you get what you pay for.

Well, thats a rather superficial attitude, pay me more and I will be better....

jcjeant
11th Apr 2010, 21:17
Hi,

It would be lovely to think that a tragic and high profile accident like this would engender change, but it won'tATC warned the pilot and suggested diversion.
Pilot in command take a other decision.
Crash occur.

A riddle:
to which the finger will be pointed ?
ATC ?
Lack of equipements on the airport ?
The pilot ?

Yeah
11th Apr 2010, 21:20
1000 euros a month is a good wage in Poland, its the level of pay in a corporate employer.


really? The national average salary in Poland (2008) was 3033 PLN = 755 EUR
do you think that is good salary for pilots who has responsibilty on a little higher level than taxi driver?

peter we
11th Apr 2010, 21:26
really? The national average salary in Poland (2008) was 3033 PLN = 755 EUR
do you think that is good salary for pilots who has responsibilty on a little higher level than taxi driver?

Its 30% above the national average and I don see how paying someone more money would make them a safer pilot. Military pay is always bad in any case, so why do people join the military?

fullforward
11th Apr 2010, 21:30
" Poland deserved to have their President and entourage flown by a professional , highly experienced and well paid flight crew operating a modern and well equipped aircraft into this sub-standard airport . Unfortunately , you get what you pay for. Hopefully in the future , policy will change , although I`m not sure it will.
To violate minimums and press on below a safe DH / DA / MDA in todays world with the lessons of the previous 60 years of modern aviation behind us is in the least , totally unprofessional , at the worst , it is criminal.
Handling a pressure situation and ensuring a safe outcome by following the rules and regulations is at the core of what we do as aviators. To allow the situation and others to push you beyond all common sense levels of safety is evidence of inexperience and will result in disasters such as this every time.":D
Straight to the point. The rest is endless and empty rubish.

Ultranomad
11th Apr 2010, 21:32
-M is a significant upgrade compared to -B,
It's a lot more than just an upgrade, the wing is totally different, and so it the aerodynamics.

falco01
11th Apr 2010, 21:40
Well, as much as I know about the investigation processes, and how deep they dig....the results/reports and analysis should not be 100% publicly available, if we consider the fact that one of the countries is under NATO flag, and other is not. Digging deeper - too much dirty loundry (of the military AF) for the whole world to see.

Even if any lessons will be learned, I'm not sure if much will change. Previous posters rightfully mentioned military AF mentality differences of the post Soviet block countries and those of Old Europe or equivalent. The fact is, the old system corrupts the young. I've seen both sides.

There's a lot of ignorance in the top brass for aviation safety (government level) in the post Soviet block countries. That pertains to both military and civilian aviation.

So after this, who would at the government level keep flying a/c with almost nonexistant air force supervisory authority (there are such in the old NATO countries with more developed AF)?:ugh: Too much national pride.

BTW, language (any language) profficiency requirements apply only to civil aviation. So, if the polish pilots had Level 4 in Russian, and Russian ATC had Level 4 in Plain Russian, that would be ok. English proficiency applies to aerodromes where Intl traffic operates. This was purely military airfield.

grizzled
11th Apr 2010, 21:55
fullforward...

You wrote, "the rest is endless and empty rubbish"

So... you have already confirmed that this crash resulted from an erroneous command decision by an under-paid and under-qualified pilot flying an unsafe aircarft. Sure could have used your amazing insight and investigative skills over the years.

Though I'm not Russian, nor Polish, I know MAK very well -- and I'm confident they will conduct a thorough and professional investigation, including having an in-depth look at the flight crews experience level and their decision making. Without benefit of your expertise they might even look at other factors such as:
Weather
Aircraft systems and equipment
Nav and approach aids (including PAR/GCA)
Human factors -- such as the one mentioned by Ptkay: ICAO, including Poland uses QNH, Russia and Russian trained military QFE. When doing my training with ex military CFI, he insisted for QFE, I had to rethink and learn flying QNH
Language issues

In the meantime, wanna tell us what happened to AF447?

grizz

6000PIC
11th Apr 2010, 22:25
Any flight that ends in a horrible crash with 100 % fatalities in conditions such as this - ACTUAL weather BELOW minimums is DEFINITELY the result of erroneous command decisions. This was not a remotely controlled aircraft - human beings allowed this to happen ! This BS about it " taking a lot of guts " to go around / divert is just that. It`s simple , we divert and go around all the time , the world over !!! The fact that the pilots were probably under paid and underqualified , well that`s an indictment that the Polish people will have to address. They shouldn`t have been that LOW in that POSITION in that visibility.

fullforward
12th Apr 2010, 01:11
Let's face some cold and hard facts of life: it's not the first and unfortunately not the last time that a perfectly sound aircraft is CFIT. Every single time it happened, human error (and frequently criminal), played the most important role. Simple like this, no rocket science.
Every time some poor bastards screw up like this the industry is affected as whole.
It's a stupid, easily avoidable tragedy by simply following rules as old as Aviation itself.
In the event of this investigation reveal (if ever) something diferent I'll humbly offer my face to be slapped.

HarryMann
12th Apr 2010, 01:58
Controller's statement sounds pretty straight and believable to me... stating the hard facts. Let's not put words nor ideas, nor motives into the equation... questioner was digging, controller answered what appears to be frankly.

No need to guess about that first approach to take a look-see - more facts will be arriving for quite some time, information incoming, beware....

grizzled
12th Apr 2010, 02:00
my God...

If several recent previous posts (not yours, HM) are any indication of the level of understanding of human behaviour and safety management in aircraft accidents, then it's no wonder so many professionals despair of pprune...

PJ2
12th Apr 2010, 04:12
grizzled;

Yes, the speculations which are clearly implausible are disappointing. It is preferable that if one does not know, one should stay silent and listen/read/think. The propensity to assume, postulate or just straight pronounce without comprehension is widespread. In a time when one can google and repeat "expertise", deep knowing does not seem to be a requirement for opening one's mouth. But there it is and always will be.

That observed, there are nevertheless a few posts which have focussed on important aspects of this sad, terrible accident. These are, (and this is NOT speculative, but merely a perception of what has been suggested thus far):

1. The notion of "pressure to land" directed towards the flight crew,

2. The kinds of approach aids available, if any, and whether they were used, or whether it was a PAR approach,

3. The exact nature of the weather, esp. vis.,

4. The nature of crew interaction (CRM), SOPs, which will only be available via the recorders,

5. The question of "mission-creep", related to point 1. By this I mean that decision-making path which leads to the 'next step' which leads to the next step etc which were all oriented towards landing rather than an intervention decision which may have broken the accident causal path; This kind of thinking slowly emerges as time pressure (and other pressures) enter the operational decision-making process. They spent a long period holding during which a number of aircraft ahead of the accident aircraft missed and diverted - these may or may not have been discussed and may or may not have factored in any decision to execute the approach.

6. The role of ATC especially in terms of weather information,

7. The role of language difficulties, if any,

8. The last might be the possibility of disorientation/loss of SA (somatogravic illusion, etc - Sochi, Bahrain) in the transition from instruments to visual references the runway especially if the visual environment was like a 'white dome' with little or no horizon.

There are others but it seems that a distillation of posts points to these issues.

All this is, of course, little consolation to the Polish people who have lost heads of state, government people and therefore both history and experience - another point raised in a few posts regarding the obvious question as to why they were all on one airplane.

I take seriously the views of those who clearly speak from experience regarding a historically strict and obedient chain of political, vice military, command which is a very different experience for those in North America.

PJ2

Sarcode2
12th Apr 2010, 04:51
Quote:
...the crew of the TU 154 were dumping fuel before the missed approaches...

Utter nonsense. You cannot dump fuel on a TU5. If the problem is not that serious, you circle above the airfield to burn off fuel, in any other case you go in overweight. After a 1.5h flight and only 80something pax o/b the a/c would have been well under MLW (80t) even if it was fuelled for the return journey.

Andrasz, I mean no disrespect, but do you have experience flying or training on a TU5? Your post on this forum is the only place on the web that I've read that a TU5 cannot dump fuel. I've appreciated reading your posts on this subject, and this assertion made me even more curious. Thank you!

grizzled
12th Apr 2010, 05:12
PJ2

As someone said long ago, "Thanks, I needed that."

Your post summarises the points that I was just too tired and frustrated to make. The last one is especially important for those of us "from the West" to understand without direct experience. Cultural differences -- in command protocols, training and philosphies, as well as major differences in the roles, responsibilites and attitudes of all the "players", including ATC of course, and even perhaps the PAX in this instance -- are a most interesting area of study in all human activity, including accident investigation and prevention.

Now, as Samual Pepys would say, "And so to bed..."

chuks
12th Apr 2010, 06:25
This looks like yet another accident where the "what" isn't very puzzling but the "why" will have to be explained by a careful investigation. That is to say that a (seemingly) serviceable aircraft was flown into the trees short of the runway after it was taken below the MDA in weather that was reported below minimums anyway.

It's always interesting how so many people have to rush to judgement on these accidents without any more in the way of facts to go on than the bare facts of the crash itself, using pure speculation or even fantasy. I haven't seen any of that in the papers or on TV here in Germany but plenty of that on this site for so-called professional pilots. That makes me wonder how many here are commenting based on their many hours of experience operating Microsoft Flight Simulator rather than on anything to do with flying at all, let alone flying outside the States or western Europe.

It is a big world and there are many different operating philosophies in use there, when you often can find people who think it perfectly reasonable to shoot an approach to "have a look" for themselves at the weather on the approach, with no communications whatsoever in English during this whole process. Should that be anathema? Let's see what the report says about this before we try to make a final judgement.

I was very interested to read an article in a German magazine that mainly was profiling some corporate big shot. (I think this was about the former head of Porsche, Mr Wiedeking, back when he was riding high just before his big fall.) Buried in there was a story about how his flight crew was the only one to make it into someplace for an important meeting when the weather was bad, when this was meant to be read as evidence of Mr Big Shot's force of personality and its ability to bend events to suit his wishes, not that he was some sort of suicidal jerk driven by hubris. Well, I guess not everyone looks at things from the point of view of a western-trained professional pilot, perhaps not even other professional pilots and certainly not success-driven top executives!

Sometimes our priorities are not taken as the over-riding ones, when that doesn't usually result in an accident. It can seem a very weak argument to put the imaginary and purely speculative avoidance of a accident against the bare fact of not making it into your destination, especially after a planeload of reporters has already landed safely ahead of you, as in this case. That fog can form in the blink of an eye, well...

I look forward to reading the final report, about a year from now, I guess. Wild guesses from the Flight Simulator brigade I can take or leave, on the other hand, as they fight it out among themselves over who has made the best one and who is the biggest turkey of the flock.

Wiatrak
12th Apr 2010, 06:34
Hello. I'm just read the article, and decided register to forum to post link to it. Something about the crew:

Google T?umacz (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80273,7760776,Zaloga__ktora_zginela__wczesniej_pomagala_Ha iti.html%3Fskad%3Drss&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.pl&twu=1&usg=ALkJrhhUsTUOLOJpOGZTkFgQbWW-JxIKEQ)

The original link for the proper spelling (not translated by Google) of their names:
Za?oga, ktra zgin??a, wcze?niej pomaga?a Haiti (http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80273,7760776,Zaloga__ktora_zginela__wczesniej_pomagala_Ha iti.html?skad=rss)

hetfield
12th Apr 2010, 06:48
Someone mentioned that QNH/QFE thing which , after 3 unsuccessful approaches, didn't make any sense to me.

But now as we know it was their 1st approach and with a relativ low experience up front this appears in a different light.

What elevation is that airport, what was the QFE/QNH ?

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 07:21
Hetfield

after 3 unsuccessful approaches, didn't make any sense to me.


There was ONE approach !!!

I thought we have cleared it long ago!

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 07:25
Sarcode2

No disrespect at all, a very valid question. I did not personally fly the Tu5, but do have ~10 years of experience operating the type. During most of that period I had access to all event & incident reports, so I am reasonably confident in my statement. The only qualifier is that we had a B-2 fleet, not the "M"s, however in this respect I am not aware of any change.

During one particular year we had a recurring issue with the oil filter sensors, with the filter blocked warning light coming on randomly on any engine, typically in high power setting situations (t/o). That warning was to be taken very seriously, as it could be a sign of metal grindings in the oil - a sign of imminent engine failure. Immediate shut-down of the affected engine and return to field was the procedure. If distance to landing was such and the a/c was above MLW, a low altitude, high drag configuration was selected to burn off as much fuel as possible (cruise consumption was ~7 tons per hour, with high drag/high power it was easily the double even on two engines, with such figures it does not take long to reach MLW, which was only 20t less than MTOW), however an overweight landing was permissible. Eventually all of the incidents were traced to harmonic vibrations fracturing one particular soldering in the sensor circuitry (which being a hairline crack, was practically undetectable, and only broke contact when vibration was near it's maximum), it was a major safety concern at the time because due to the frequency of events (1-2 every month) the crew got accustomed to the likelyhood that it is just another false alarm. I recall at least one disciplinary action after the crew only put the affected engine to idle to save on the lengthy paperwork required after an in-flight shutdown.

Mind you, neither the 737 or the 320 family has a fuel dumping system either. On most short / medium haul aircraft it is not necesary, as the MTOW/MLW difference is not great enough, and there is enough structural reserve to allow an overweight landing in an emergency.

hetfield
12th Apr 2010, 07:28
@ptkay

Please read my post.

But now as we know it was their 1st approachAt the time the discussion about QNH/QFE started talks were about 3 approaches.

Got it?

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 07:36
Fullforward;


Let's face some cold and hard facts of life: it's not the first and unfortunately not the last time that a perfectly sound aircraft is CFIT. Every single time it happened, human error (and frequently criminal), played the most important role. Simple like this, no rocket science.

This is hilarious, how sure you are, that it was "a perfectly sound aircraft".
Where did you get it from?
Did you complete the investigation???

What we know is that the pilot stopped communicating with ATC
and lost control (started flying to low) seconds before crash.

Did you really ask yourself why?

Maybe they were preoccupied wits some kind of technical problem,
steering, power?

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate...

They first of all tried to stay afloat, then chat with the ATC.

There are documented cases of uncontaminated engine failures
of the Soloviev engines in IL-62, Tu-154. first of all resulting
in loss of power and eventually loss of tail controls.
(I discussed it before with links and documents quoted.)

And probably the Tu-204 accident 3 weeks ago on approach to DME,
also equipped with Soloviev engines (not RR !!!) was caused by similar
problems.

ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev 204-100 RA-64011 Moskva-Domodedovo Airport (DME) (http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20100322-1)

A Tupolev 204-100 passenger jet, registered RA-64011, was destroyed when it crash-landed in a forest while on approach to Moskva-Domodedovo Airport (DME), Russia.

Weather reported about the time of the accident (23:34 UTC / 02:35 local):
UUDD 212330Z 16003MPS 0100 R14R/0450N R14L/0700U FG VV001 03/02Q1002 64290050 14290045 NOSIG= [Wind 160 degrees at 3 m/sec; 100 m visibility; vertical visibility 100 ft.; temperature 3 degrees C, dewpoint 2 degrees C; runway visual range for runway 14R: 450 m, Not changing significantly and for runway 14L: 700 m improving]

Sounds familiar ??

But it was ILS approach, native Russian crew, their home airfield.
They are also paid less than 1000 EUR, they certainly had "get-home-itis".

Fullforward, does it all mean, that the aircraft was "perfectly sound".

Your logic is stunning.

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 07:40
@ hetfield,
sorry, my fault.

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 07:50
Animation of the accident:

Plej - wideo rozrywka, polityka i sport. Nowe filmy ka?dego dnia. (http://plej.gazeta.pl/plej/0,0.html#film=105748_7760794)

dvv
12th Apr 2010, 07:51
Your post on this forum is the only place on the web that I've read that a TU5 cannot dump fuel.

I have a copy of the TU154M Flight Operations Manual in front of me, and there's not a peep about any fuel dumping capabilites. Instead, there's this section:

4.5.7.2. Полет в зоне ожидания с целью выработки топлива
(1) В случаях выполнения незапланированной посадки необходимо, если это
возможно в сложившейся ситуации, выработать топливо до максимально
допустимой посадочной массы для данного аэродрома.
[...]


Which basically says:

4.5.7.2. Holding in pattern to burn off fuel
(1) In case of an emergency landing, it is necessary, if the situation permits, to burn off fuel down to the [aircraft] maximum landing mass, acceptable for the [intended] aerodrome.
[...]

mary meagher
12th Apr 2010, 08:00
I've been following the thread from the start, and welcome pj's reasoned entry into the discussion. But I don't recall any reference to his mention that the President's plane "spent a long time holding during which a number of aircraft ahead of the accident aircraft missed and diverted....." could someone please give more details on other aircraft that saw sense and went elsewhere?

And Chuks mentions that "a planeload of reporters has already landed safely ahead of you" ...... increasing the pressure to have a go.

Destination down in fog, alternates down in fog, beautiful but deadly....

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 08:04
Ptkay,

With respect, I have to disagree here. At present we have absolutely no indication that a technical malfunction could have played part (and the same is true for the DME Tu 204). There were reports of wreckage found far away from the main impact site, but the CNN footage clearly shows flap parts and broken trees at that point, all in accordance with the initial statements from the investigating committee that the initial ground contact was hitting a lone tree, severing the wingtip.

At present unfortunately all KNOWN pieces of information point towards a perfectly sound airplane having been flown into the ground - something that happened before, and unfortunately as long as we have humans at the controls, will happen again.

As for the D-30K engines, indeed early on it did have a bad track record on the IL6, however I am not aware of any loss of control event on the TU5M due to an uncontained failure, and the world's rather large Il-76 fleet is also powered by that. Let's not bring the PS-90 (Tu-204) into the picture, that is an entirely different new design, no relation to the old D-30. We do know that the engines were also overhauled just a few months ago (actually 'rebuilt' is more the word, a D-30 overhaul involves the replacement of practically all moving parts).

I am still waiting for any credible reports on what kind of approach was flown, and whether ground control / the crew were within legal bounds in permitting / commencing the approach. As this was a Russian military field and a Polish airforce plane, we must keep in mind that 'legal' may have been very different from what would be so under EU airline ops standards.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
12th Apr 2010, 08:11
Come on guys, lots of us have been there haven't we?
Ever landed in well below minimums?
(Yes; Ops cock-up, divs disappeared, very experienced QFI flying, very experienced ex-Master Pilot in charge of ATC, committed to approach due to engine icing. Broke cloud about 80 ft.:eek:)
Ever had a senior rank lean on you to press on with an emergency as they had a meeting?
(Yes, but he accepted my decision not to)
Ever had a millionaire insist on you landing in below minimums?
(Yes, but he didn't accept decision not to, so I resigned :ugh:)

But the key facts are,
1) Everyone who made the safe decision is here to talk about it, but may not still have a job or a career (or house, family, etc, etc).
2) Lots of people who made the decision to press on are by luck (others) or judgement ( "you and me obviously, Darling" :ok: ) still here and have jobs.
3) Bad decision, luck runs out; well, it's probably going too happen to fast to hurt.

I vote we wait for the audio, but even then it may not record conversations between passengers and captain, or handwritten notes. In any case, I reckon the Tblisi incident, the President's attitude and the occasion would have weighed heavy on the Captain's mind. Any chance of a post from ex-Royal Flight types (or other national equivalents)?
My condolences to those affected.

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 08:14
Andrasz,

I am not saying, that it WAS the reason,
but that you cannot exclude this possibility
at this stage of investigation and jump to conclusions.

Thanks again for well informed and competent comments.

ErwinS
12th Apr 2010, 08:16
Mary

Three flights were to land at the Air Base in that period of time: the first was a Yakovlev YAK-40 carrying journalists accompanying Poland's president, which made a safe landing. The second was a Russian Ilyushin IL-76, which diverted after two unsuccessful approaches. The third was the presidential Tupolev TU-154M.

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 08:19
Andrasz


We do know that the engines were also overhauled just a few months ago (actually 'rebuilt' is more the word, a D-30 overhaul involves the replacement of practically all moving parts).


The Il-62 accident, at that time, also a national tragedy,
took place also shortly after main overhaul.

The overhauling mechanic did a wrong cut on the turbine shaft,
resulting in shaft shear, turbine overrun and uncontained destruction.

Again, just a possibility, not jumping to conclusions.

The tu-154 aircraft in this case was relatively low time, low cycles.

mirogster
12th Apr 2010, 08:22
About a half hour before Tu154 crash, russian FSB Il-96 was diverted to Moscow.

New facts (google translate) (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://wyborcza.pl/1,105743,7760745,Piloci_zdecydowali__Ladujemy.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&twu=1&usg=ALkJrhjqYn2iajrxVR7uTvUR8j59Oq5lYA)

hetfield
12th Apr 2010, 08:23
So anybody out here who knows the elevation of that airfield and QNH/QFE at time of accident?

thx

flox
12th Apr 2010, 08:31
After reading through most of the posts, it's surprising that QFE/QNH problem is mentioned only a few times and then quickly forgotten.

Even on the international airports in Russia ATC insist on QFE altitudes, and they are in meters. QNH is available on ATIS or on request but clearances are issued based on QFE altitudes. For crews not regularly flying in Russia it can all be confusing, especially if using NAV charts in feet based on QNH, with QFE altitudes in brackets and conversion tables to meters. And higher elevation airports have large difference between QNH and QFE which can translate into high altitude errors. Large enough that legal minimum by one is 10 ft under ground by the other.

As it is AF base, we don't know what type of charts were available. May be some nonstandard (read not normally used by the crew) type based on QFE and/or just meters. Add ATC communication in Russian with which the crew was not fully familiar, low visibility, ATC suggesting diversion and VIPs breathing down their necks and you may get some idea under what kind of pressure the crew was.

At the end of 80s Yugoslav AF AN-12 cargo plane crashed in Yerevan under similar conditions while flying aid for earthquake victims. The crew was used to QNH/feet while ATC used QFE/meters. Airport, which was at normal times just a local thing, was overloaded with aid flights from all over the world. ATC was speaking only Russian and hardly able to cope with the traffic. The aircraft crashed 2-3 km short of the runway.

Smolensk North airport is XUBS, elevation 820ft

chuks
12th Apr 2010, 08:32
Somewhere in all of this you can read that a planeload of reporters had landed ahead of the crash aircraft. Well, that is SOP; the press have to get there in good time to set up and film the VIP arrival.

Of course in the meantime the weather can deteriorate so that the later-arriving VIP aircraft might be unable (as here) to land, when you almost always have the rather stupid layman's question of "Well, they made it it, why couldn't you?" plus the farce of the news people being left with nothing to report except, uhh, nothing happening! "A Polish crew landed their VIP passengers at the wrong airport this morning, when they finally had to arrive by bus from Minsk while a bemused gaggle of reporters waited for them at the airport in Smolensk..."

One problem VIP crews are often faced with is that the VIPs want to travel at a time of their choosing, one that fits their busy schedules. The crew may well want them to leave much earlier to avoid weather problems but that is often just not an option and this is simply a fact of life.

There was a high-profile crash in the States not long ago when the accident chain started with the California pax arriving just that much too late to beat sunset at their daytime-only destination in the mountains of Colorado. Well, whoever heard of rich folks needing to show up on time for anything, even the setting of the Sun?

We would like to think that our own safety priorities are paramount but out here in the real world that is often not the case. I remember a trip when I saw a highly professional crew first fed a load of malarkey about just when we should show up for departure, with the PA telling them, "We are on the way to the airport now," as we were just tucking into dessert. So the crew had to chase a series of slots there.

Then once we really had arrived at the airport the leader of our little pack chose to show his clients his Alpha Male qualities by ripping a strip off the Captain for not handling our luggage! What, he should have been lurking outside the GA terminal like some Redcap?

Then the Captain was finally allowed to do his departure, probably tired and stressed, off a relatively short runway that was now in the dark, when any screw-ups with that would have been very much 100% his fault so that was okay I guess. Well, not with me but then I was not one of the VIPs!

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 08:38
...you cannot exclude this possibility...

Agree, and from the statements of the investigation commitee so far, it has not been ruled out yet (or we don't know about it). However there is nothing at the moment that would explicitely point towards such a possibility as likely.

Don't forget the poitics of the investigation (let's face it, in both Polish and Russian cultures, appropriating blame is as important - if not more so - as finding out what happened):

The Russian's interest is clearly to demonstrate that all navaids functioned properly, ground control did all the appropriate things, and the (Russian bulit) plane was technically sound. However if there is a choice, a technical problem on the aircraft would still be more 'favorable', as there the blame can possibly be shared with those who maintained and operated it.
The Poles interest is clearly the opposite, to demonstrate that the pilot made all the right choices, some unavoidable external factor caused the event.If you look at the opposing interests, probably a technical malfunction of the plane would leave the least red faces among the persons affected. Were that a likely case, I'm sure it would be already wide accross the press, even if in a speculative manner.

barrymah
12th Apr 2010, 08:42
>>About a half hour before Tu154 crash, russian FSB Il-96 was diverted to Moscow.<<
>>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).<<
Presumably Russian VIP security people?? Was Putin or someone of his ilk due to do the welcome? Putin turned up later anyway.

mirogster
12th Apr 2010, 08:44
It was purpose of that visit. Putin and polish President Mr Kaczynski supposed to be there. To commemorate polish POWs killed by NKVD during WW2.

mirogster
12th Apr 2010, 08:47
@ Andrasz #343
We are big boys and we know whassup. Why Putin and polish Prime Minister showed up short after the crash.

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 08:47
...it's surprising that QFE/QNH problem is mentioned only a few times and then quickly forgotten...

I don't think it is forgotten by those in the know, it is simply something we cannot really speculate on before the fdr/cvr data are known. I would not be surprised if it does turn out to be the direct cause. However the question that seems to interest most (myself included) are the events / decisions that allowed this approach to be commenced in the first place.

shazapis
12th Apr 2010, 08:52
Hello,

Just out of curiosity,

can anyone point to a specific civilian regulatory reference (either EASA or FAA) regarding the number of approaches a crew is allowed to conduct before they have to divert?

The only ones I can think about (I am actually a military pilot and not very familiar with civilian op specs) are the Approach ban and a number of fuel-related restrictions.

Any reply will be very appreciated.

Spiros Chazapis
Athens, Greece

chuks
12th Apr 2010, 09:17
Well, I think you will find that some operators may restrict you to something like 2 approaches before you are required to divert but that is about it, only a legal requirement in terms of adhering to your SOPs.

I know I have done up to 7 ILS approaches one right after the other (for re-validation purposes but an approach is an approach in legal terms) and, another time, something like 3 VORs as the weather, above minimums, improved to the point where we actually could spot the runway in time to make a stabilised approach and land so that I doubt there is any magic number in use.

Even with the reported weather below minimums there's a certain logic to "having a look" when that is tolerated or allowed. In this case if the MDA had been adhered to then that might have been a fairly benign decision, while going below MDA might well have proved fatal even if the weather had been at or above minimums. There is no absolute level of safety conferred simply by banning an approach; it is a bit more complicated than that, unfortunately.

peter we
12th Apr 2010, 09:22
It was purpose of that visit. Putin and polish President Mr Kaczynski supposed to be there. To commemorate polish POWs killed by NKVD during WW2.

Putin was not going to attend this ceremony. Tusk and Putin attended an ceremony a few days earlier (a first for a soviet/Russian premier).

This commemoration was for Poles only, which is why the President was attending it as he wasn't invited to the Russian/Polish ceremony due his anti-Russian attitude.

vanHorck
12th Apr 2010, 09:25
OOOOHHHH to the one from near Otterdam....

Are we starting the conspiracy theories here???


:ugh:

islandjumper
12th Apr 2010, 09:57
For the umpteenth time, let's try to keep the conspiracy nonsense out of this discussion.
On the whole, it's been very professional and informative, exactly as PPRUNE should be.

Pitch Up Authority
12th Apr 2010, 10:03
It has been reported by our media that (on an earlier state flight) the Polish President himself has ordered the PIC to start an approach into an airport that was basically closed.

Uncle Wiggily
12th Apr 2010, 10:09
When will Russia ATC join the rest of the planet and start working in QNH rather than QFE? I wouldn't at all be surprised to see this as an altimetry issue.

criss
12th Apr 2010, 10:22
AFAIK they already started to move to RVSM and ft in some place (2 FIRs), so maybe some day they will move to QNH. But it's not relevant, as this was not ATC.

BTW, Polish air bases still tend to use QFE and meters, so the crew shouldn't be that much surprised (although of course it doesn't exclude possibility of a mistake).

mirogster
12th Apr 2010, 10:22
Are we starting the conspiracy theories here???

Please show me such inclinations in my post. I was just trying to explain, why polish president was there.

747JJ
12th Apr 2010, 10:24
It is not just Russia that uses QFE instead of QNH. Many or most of the ex Soviet states and China are still using meters for flight levels and altitude as well as QFE. Don't know about North Korea but I suspect the same. While many countries use QNH and feet, the places I mentioned before are huge and overlap a comparatively large chunck of the world.

Chris Scott
12th Apr 2010, 10:27
Quote from andrasz [April 11/1842z; currently #288 (http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-government-tu154m-crash-15.html#post5627777)]
(1) "From what I see so far, the Russian side is uncommonly upfront with presenting any verified information as soon as it is available, I see a very clear desire to avoid any accusations of a cover-up. On the other side, there is also a keen desire to absolve themselves of any blame...
(2) ..."I would expect that an independent third party involvement would not be in the interest of either of the parties."


andrasz,

Thanks for your reply to my two posts [currently listed #[U]198 (http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-presidents-c-down-reports-10.html) & #281 (http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-government-tu154m-crash-15.html)] yesterday.

May I respectfully suggest an apparent inconsistency between your two statements, quoted above?

Going on yesterday's media coverage, the leaders of the two nations are united in the aftermath of this tragedy. But, with the Russians apparently calling the shots in the investigation (correct me if I'm wrong on that), I wonder how much longer this harmony will exist. Would the Polish public accept an early finding that the flight crew were entirely to blame, a finding that seems already to have been pre-empted by the statements of Russian officials?

A backlash in Poland is a strong possibility. That is why consideration should have been given to calling in a third-party investigation team as early as possible, preferably even before Russians (or Poles) started sifting the wreckage, and retrieving the recorders. Of course, the latter sounds a utopian concept in the real world. Sad to say that today, the third day, it is almost certainly too late.

Chris

CAPTAINNIC
12th Apr 2010, 10:29
..of what i gathered from the newspapers if those facts are true, i think this specific case is quite obvious:

* fog: 400 metres visibility
* non precision approach = weather below minimum
* not following atc instructions
* captain too weak to follow rules and regulations

i also wonder why a pilot with LESS than 2000 hours total time flies such a big aircraft as captain with all those VIPs...

Yeah
12th Apr 2010, 10:34
i also wonder why a pilot with LESS than 2000 hours total time flies such a big aircraft as captain with all those VIPs...

my condolences to poland..

It isn't low experiance like for polish soldier. It isn't thesame flying as in airline (6 days of flyin and 4 days off). I've heard that this aircraft (101) has a TT 5XXX hours since new.

ARRAKIS
12th Apr 2010, 10:41
i also wonder why a pilot with LESS than 2000 hours total time flies such a big aircraft as captain with all those VIPs...



The plane itself, manufactured in 1990, had slightly above 5400h and the II pilot around 3500h. We are not talking about an airline.



Arrakis

criss
12th Apr 2010, 10:45
Mind you that while their hours might seem low, they did many sectors, as they flew practice IFR patterns and approaches almost every day, and many short flights like EPWA-EPGD and back (25-30 mins) or even shorter ones from Warsaw to nearby air force base, so they shot lots of approaches.

wessel_words
12th Apr 2010, 10:52
Pitch Up Authority

"It has been reported by our media that (on an earlier state flight) the Polish President himself has ordered the PIC to start an approach into an airport that was basically closed."

If that is the case and I had been the Captain I would have asked the person who gave the order , to fly the damned thing himself, next trip! You see I am thankfully a civilian trained pilot and therefore would have no hesitation to answer such an order with a counter order.

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 10:54
Chris,

May I respectfully suggest an apparent inconsistency between your two statements...

There certainly is an inconsistency, not in the statement but in the desires. However that inconsistency disappears if the evidence indeed does point towards piloting error being the primary cause.

Judgement pretty much hinges on whether the permission for, and the commencement of the approach were within legal bounds. Whatever the finding will be, the commission is walking on pretty thin ice, no wonder Putin is in charge...

Wessel Words

I believe on that particular flight that was exactly what the crew did - it is reporetd that the P. wanted to have the crew fired afterwards. We do not know whether it was the same crew as the accident flight, or a different one.

ExSp33db1rd
12th Apr 2010, 10:54
i also wonder why a pilot with LESS than 2000 hours total time flies such a big aircraft as captain with all those VIPs...

What has the status of the passengers got to do with the qualification of the crew ? Either they are capable to be in command of an aeroplane or not - even if it is freight that they are carrying. Do they perform less professionally when positioning an empty aeroplane back to base ?

I once announced to those in the pub who chose to listen, that I had just go back fhome after flying a freighter. I was asked when I was going to be promoted to flying passengers ? I retorted that I chose to fly the freighters whenever I could, freight doesn't answer back when one has to divert due weather.

Chris Scott
12th Apr 2010, 11:12
andrasz,

Thanks, but I think the fact that "Putin is in charge" of a Commission that you say is "on thin ice" is likely to magnify the problem I refer to.

Chris

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 11:31
Chris, I think we're in full agreement there.

hasta.la.vista
12th Apr 2010, 11:38
I've just read the news in Polish newsportal that third recorder was found. Of course it was referred as a "black box" so don't know what recorder it actaually is. Does the TU154M have more than a single FDR and CVR?

CargoOne
12th Apr 2010, 11:59
Few observations:

1. QFE/QNH is one of the areas for concern.

2. Polish Air Force TU154 pilots have little chance to get more hours other than on "live" VIP flights. Some training for sure, but you can't expect they will do a few thousands of hours on training flights. None of East European airlines operating TU154 for quite some time now, so it is next to impossible to arrange pilots to fly commercially to get more experience. However, I would say crew experience was more or less in line with other military crews flying heavy transport like C130/C17/C5/IL76/AN124.

3. Other areas to look at are rules and procedures. Polish Air Force aircraft flying into Russian military airfield controlled by military ATC. I'm pretty sure that rules were bended and corners were cut to make it happen in a first place. I don't belive that PAF crew went though the approapriate training at Russian Air Force and completed some tests/exams to become officially qualified to fly into russian military airfields. Most probably they received a short briefing, not more, and got some information from older comrades who were flying in Soviet times. Quite possibly a mismatch in understanding of procedures between crew & ATC played its role, add a less-than-fluent language knowledge.

CargoOne
12th Apr 2010, 12:01
hasta.la.vista

Could be QAR (Quick Access Recorder), but not sure if PAF have them fitted.

ARRAKIS
12th Apr 2010, 12:02
We do not know whether it was the same crew as the accident flight, or a different one.


We know. It wasn't the same crew.

Arrakis

Tonden
12th Apr 2010, 12:12
Just listened to an interview on Polish radio (TOK FM) with an "aviation expert" Michal Fiszer, who gives another version of the approach.

According to his current knowledge 2 approaches were flown: first to "have a look" (agreed with ATC) and then the fatal one.

Tonden

Pitch Up Authority
12th Apr 2010, 12:13
I refuse to believe that this crew was not familiar with OFE / QNH operations nor that there was anything wrong with the plane that crippled it in such a way that prevented the crew from making a normal approach.

I believe it is more reasonable to believe the reasonable and that is that the crew was under a lot of pressure from behind.

We all know that on a NP let down it is crucial to make a rough crosscheck between Baro and Radio altimeter.

captplaystation
12th Apr 2010, 12:14
Perhaps I am being thick here but, assuming they had set the correct number of Hpa given by ATC there was no danger associated with believing they had set QNH when in fact it was QFE, if they descended to elevation plus minima 830 & 330 = 1160 thinking it was QNH, they would have been 1160 above the airfield, not much chance to get the lights , but equally no chance to hit the ground.
What would have killed them would be descending to a minima (330 MDH?) based on QFE thinking it related to QNH (and having set it as a QNH MDA and having set QNH if one was given, which I doubt) .
This of course would require total absence of thought concerning the field elevation.
I think they will have operated enough in soviet bloc countries to be familiar with QNH/QFE/Metres Feet confusion, but well, under pressure I guess anything is possible.

lpokijuhyt
12th Apr 2010, 12:23
ummm.... I believe the QFE at the airport was 0 feet

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 12:30
hasta.la.vista

I believe the third recording is the ATC tapes. On the russian PM website there is a transcript of a discussion of the 11th, they clearly discuss three recordings, the retrieved ATC tapes, and the CVR/FDR recovered from the wreckage. The first one was already listened two and "confirms no technical problems, and that the crew was advised of the weather conditions". The other two are being de-cyphered now, in the presence of the Polish team and the public prosecutors.

CAPTAINNIC
12th Apr 2010, 12:33
question to the russian/ QFE experienced pilots:


on those airports: do you use QFE ( so landing with 0 feet on alt) or ask for QNH?

what is in your opinion the best way?

i think the easiest thing would be if all airports worldwide have the same standards: QNH :-)

hetfield
12th Apr 2010, 12:46
ummm.... I believe the QFE at the airport was 0 feet

And I believe you are in the wrong forum.

ARRAKIS
12th Apr 2010, 12:55
Perhaps I am being thick here but, assuming they had set the correct number of Hpa given by ATC there was no danger associated with believing they had set QNH when in fact it was QFE,

Or it could be the opposite.
But those are all just guesses.
We now, that visibility was below minimal and as for now, almost sure, no technical problems. It would mean CFIT. Now, what were the causes? Weather. That's for sure. What else?

On the russian PM website there is a transcript of a discussion of the 11th,
Andrasz, link please.

Arrakis

Gloom_PL
12th Apr 2010, 13:06
We now, that visibility was below minimal and as for now, almost sure, no technical problems. It would mean CFIT. Now, what were the causes? Weather. That's for sure. What else?


I believe pressure could be counted as well. Doesn't matter if someone walked in and asked for, or not. It is definitely contributing factor at least.

Adam

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 13:15
Prime Minister of the Russian Federation - Events - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrives in Smolensk in the morning and holds a meeting on the crash of the Polish president?s airplane (http://www.premier.gov.ru/eng/events/news/10190/)

Pitch Up Authority
12th Apr 2010, 13:19
It is no secret that the Kaczynski brothers are known for their temperament, sometimes things are very obvious.

In this time and age crews are very familiar with CFIT. The lessons from the past have been learned. They were simply not applied.

It is very reasonable to examine the fact that pressure on the crew from the back was a factor in this accident.

I fear that we will never find out why.

lomapaseo
12th Apr 2010, 13:29
Going on yesterday's media coverage, the leaders of the two nations are united in the aftermath of this tragedy. But, with the Russians apparently calling the shots in the investigation (correct me if I'm wrong on that), I wonder how much longer this harmony will exist. Would the Polish public accept an early finding that the flight crew were entirely to blame, a finding that seems already to have been pre-empted by the statements of Russian officials?

A backlash in Poland is a strong possibility. That is why consideration should have been given to calling in a third-party investigation team as early as possible, preferably even before Russians (or Poles) started sifting the wreckage, and retrieving the recorders. Of course, the latter sounds a utopian concept in the real world. Sad to say that today, the third day, it is almost certainly too late.


Predicting the response to an investigation before the investigation has been completed is speculative and serves no purpose.

The investigators will call for outside help if and when they need it and certainly have no need for purely political observations. I'm quite sure that Putin is not calling the shots, but only monitoring what gets released.

If there is any controversy in the findings then look for this among the investigators and not what's made up by outside speculations.

As always in an air accident investigation, blame is not the objective although it may be manufactured in the minds of the public.

ARRAKIS
12th Apr 2010, 13:31
Andrasz, thank you.

Another question.
What type of radalt there is on Tu-154M? RV-5? RV-7?

What about the DH signalling when the landing gear is extended?

Arrakis

kingofbongo
12th Apr 2010, 13:34
Hi. I've been reading this tread since very beginning. I'm not a pro, I am just interested in general aviation and technical stuff. I just thought I register here to help you clarify some doubts you've been having regarding the info available in Polish media.
You've been asking what is the third recorder that has just been found.
Well, according to Polish media, they all say that the 3rd recorder registers "podwyższone" flight parameters. The problem is "podwyższone" doesn't seem to be a technical term but rather some sort of miss-translated Russian/technical jargon. The word "podwyższone" literally stands for "elevated", but it may also mean improved/refined/extended/advanced... Maybe that will point you in the right direction.

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 13:41
Arrakis

I'm afraid no idea, those times I was in ops, never flew them other than as pax or jump seat rider, also we had B-2's not M's. On the B-2 at least, there were no automatic callouts, that was the task of the PNF. But that may have changed with the M.

DVV, you might know ?

yaw_damper
12th Apr 2010, 13:56
We had 12 TU154-B2, the only catastrofic accident was in a training flight. They took-off with an engine to idle and at 200ft the instructor moved to idle the second engine. The mistake was completed when, ending the conversation with APP CONTROL, moved the flap lever to UP position. This meant beginning the leading edge to withdraw and they fall out of the sky.
The second accident happened in Africa when the captain despite the F/O & MEC calls for GO AROUND continued descending until water contact. ILS/LOC was wrongfully showing "On LOC" all around the circle due to ground equipment mafunction. The plane was split in three but only one passenger died by hart arrest.
In 20 years of flight no other incident major or minor was registered. Technically, sensitive to hydraulic systems, I feel myself entitled to say that this air-plane is extremely solid, reliable and provided that the crew is performing the right manoeuvres all should be OK. TU54M is even better.
In 1986 Russians halted LOT aircrafts due to suspicions that the limits were exceeded in operation as the initial cause of IL62 engine failure and catastrophe near WAW. That crew was flying from near Gdansk to WAW with engine failure/explosion and hydraulic limitations passing over at least 2 air-force strips. Would you do otherwise instead? Me myself I would risk a crash landing on a 2500m strip with a crippled plane instead of flying near an hour with smoke and when in the rear, the fire broke-out, the PAX were moving in front bringing her out of control at only 4NM from RWY33 THR. In simulator trainings a Russian trainer said with fire you have 4 SAFE minutes, after that anything could happen. It was a tremendous tragedy anyway.
Now back to the point, fact is that descending below DH without POSITIVE CONTACT is out of my flying culture.
Its true that eastern leaders may be bossy but, even if this is the last mission nobody, no way, in no circumstances should determine anybody to challenge the worst nightmare of all.
Its easy from a stool before the fireplace to judge but, some things should be asked.
1. The crew should be the best in the country. They should be very well trained. The TYPE IS NO LONGER IN USE AT THE NATIONAL FLAGLINE. Where did they trained themselves in order to be sharply fit for this unusual duty? Did they made the usual pre-mission flight to that unusual destination? (NOBODY was to reach old Hong Kong A/P without a simulator session at least).
2. The language of flight control was... ???
3. The QNH vs. QFE. In USSR they used largely QFE.
In the stress and specific conditions any little thing is important. They say that an error ignored becomes a mistake, ignored becomes a dangerous instance very near the cause of a tragedy.
Now the pure and simple question stands:
What could determine a good pilot to take-off when the destination is closed or forecasted to be closed at the time of arrival?
WHY DESCEND BELOW DH?
In official flights, the responsible of the presidential staff maintaining liaison with crew asked straightly:
CAN YOU DO IT? If we said YES it meant that the mission was to be completed IN FULL SAFETY. And one of the condition was to take ENOUGH FUEL. Question:
The fuel quantity was a factor?
The soviet controllers I know were very bossy if they said NO it meant no! What if at the last try they didnt lighted RWY lights, to determine crew to go to another field?

brak
12th Apr 2010, 14:04
In the "Landing the 154M" video automatic callouts are heard in the background.

kingofbongo
12th Apr 2010, 14:11
Did they made the usual pre-mission flight to that unusual destination?Allegedly. Yes. The crew had been there last Wednesday and they knew the airport (been there on many occasions before) and they were fluently speaking Russian.
This information was provided by the commander of the military unit the crew served in during an interview in Polish TV (TVN24).

ARRAKIS
12th Apr 2010, 14:12
http://images35.fotosik.pl/137/80d20cb6049de9d1med.jpg (http://www.fotosik.pl)

Smolensk-North approach topography.

Arrakis

gums
12th Apr 2010, 14:17
Salute!

I don't know all of "yaw damper" 's background, but I like his/her thoughts. I flew several planes with "yaw dampers", heh heh.

Never flew the heavies, but somewhere we were taught and also learned that pilot-in-command means just that - "in command".

The sequence of events that led to the crash is classical. One small thing, then another thing and pretty soon you're flying into a box canyon and recovery is impossible.

Somehow I feel that undue pressure was placed upon the crew to land at any cost. Sure enough, the "cost" was loss of the plane and all aboard. I can tell all that if I had grave doubts about making a safe landing I would have told the big kahuna that if he wanted to land, then when I shake the stick, you've got it.

Terrible tale here, and I think the CVR will reveal more than we want to hear about the decision-making and "outside" influence upon the crew.
\end of rant,

Gums sends...

criss
12th Apr 2010, 14:27
In 1986 Russians halted LOT aircrafts due to suspicions that the limits were exceeded in operation as the initial cause of IL62 engine failure and catastrophe near WAW. That crew was flying from near Gdansk to WAW with engine failure/explosion and hydraulic limitations passing over at least 2 air-force strips. Would you do otherwise instead? Me myself I would risk a crash landing on a 2500m strip with a crippled plane instead of flying near an hour with smoke and when in the rear, the fire broke-out, the PAX were moving in front bringing her out of control at only 4NM from RWY33 THR. In simulator trainings a Russian trainer said with fire you have 4 SAFE minutes, after that anything could happen. It was a tremendous tragedy anyway.

Horse beaten to death. Nice to analyse when you know the outcome and all causes; crew of that Il62 didn't know they had a fire. Also, with such statements, you should first get your facts right. The Kabaty forest disaster was in 87, so how could the Russians halt the LOT fleet in 86 due to it? And they were not flying for almost an hour with a problem, as the entire flight took less than an hour. Also, all this "Russian trainer" thing is nonsense - how can you land an overweight troubled a/c in 4 minutes, starting from around FL300? Too bad you weren't flying that plane, with all your easy answers, maybe they all would be still alive today? BS.

And BTW, what does it have to do with this thread?

PS. "Turning off the rwy lights to make the crew go somewhere else"? Are you insane?

kingofbongo
12th Apr 2010, 14:29
This article (http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80269,7760745,Piloci_zdecydowali__Ladujemy.html)
quotes an employee of the Smolensk airport, Mr. Alexiey Korochnin,a jet fighter pilot and chief electric engineer of the Seviernyi airport.
This is an interesting part of the above article:
Despite the fog everything proceeded ok until ca. 1.5 km before the airstrip. At that point the plane lost too much altitude and clipped the radiolocator tower and hit first trees. Pilots tired to save the aircraft but they failed and the aircraft already started falling apart. It hit trees again several meters above the ground and then crashed down. 'Pilots must had been top professionals' says Mr. Korochnin. They were reducing altitude very smoothly, almost with horological precision. They were only a few meters too low. Had they been flying some 10-15 m higher, they would manage to land safely. Their skills are also confirmed by the fact that the plane did not fall down all at once and it didn't fall apart immediately and didn't explode, but it was kind of falling apart piece by piece.
According to Mr. Korochnin, the plane did not deviate from the glidepath by as much as 150 m to the left, as it was reported by the Russian Minister Mr. Siergiey Shoygu. 'That was the result of the plane collision with trees' explains Mr. Korochnin. Pilot apparently tried to pull up the aircraft, lifting its right wing and this is why it deviated to the left but it all happened while the plane was already falling down, not during its flight. 'The plane was on the correct course. Pilots were very skillful. The problem was they should not attempt to land in that fog anyway' suggests Mr. Korochnin.

Baron rouge
12th Apr 2010, 14:55
Pressure from the VIP in the back, is more relevant when you know the chief of the polish Air Force was on booard and as an ex-fighter pilot, he did not have that culture of "obey by the rules" displayed by all the airline pilots telling here they would, never ever have bent to such a pressure.

Anyhow, if as I think it was the case, we will never know the truth, as it is much better for those who rule the world to put the blame solely on a mere low rank officer.

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 15:27
It happened before
It has been reported by our media that (on an earlier state flight) the Polish President himself has ordered the PIC to start an approach into an airport that was basically closed.

It's not only possible, but well documented fact, mentioned here before.

The President ordered PIC to land in a war zone near Tibilisi, although the
flight plan was for another safe destination.
The PIC refused, was later, after returning attacked by the President
for insubordination and pressure was made on the military to fire him.
Instead, the Minister of Defence rewarded the pilot with a medal (silver)
for bravery and maintaining his integrity and standard in face of unusual situation.

ARRAKIS
12th Apr 2010, 15:47
Ptkay, Medal of Honour has a very distinctive meaning in the US, especially for military personel. The PIC in question did get a medal, awarded in peacetime, which has nothing to do with THE Medal of Honour.

Arrakis

Wojtus
12th Apr 2010, 15:47
Well, according to Polish media, they all say that the 3rd recorder registers "podwyższone" flight parameters. The problem is "podwyższone" doesn't seem to be a technical term but rather some sort of miss-translated Russian/technical jargon. The word "podwyższone" literally stands for "elevated", but it may also mean improved/refined/extended/advanced... Maybe that will point you in the right direction.
I believe it's for "exceeded", so it fits QAR definition.

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 15:49
Gloom PL


I believe pressure could be counted as well. Doesn't matter if someone walked in and asked for, or not. It is definitely contributing factor at least.


It is not only probable, but almost sure.
Nobody was walking into the cockpit,
the captain was walking to the back.
The CVR will show nothing.

There are few facts, which make the pressure scenario possible:

1. In an interview with the former President Lech Wałesa, he confirmed,
that it was a common practice, that in case of possible delays, diversions,
the captain was coming to the Presidents cabin and they were discussing
the possible options and solutions, with the Presiden and his aids
before the decision was made.
He didn't say, that the decisions were made by anybody else but the captain,
but nevertheless...

2. They were circling at least 3 times over the airfield, allegedly to "take a look",
but most probably to have time to make the, mentioned above, "walk to the back".
The decision was, as I assume and speculate, to, at least,
"have a try" before diverting...

3. As mentioned before on this thread, the late President, (as well as his twin brother)
were well known for their temperament. Also their normal attitude was:
"failure is not an option."

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 15:49
Hungarian media now quoting Andrzej Seremet, chief prosecutor of Poland, saying that after the initial listening to the CVR, "at this stage of the investigation there is no evidence for any pressure exerted on the pilots to land". It is also said that experts are continuing to analyse the background noise on the CVR to establish wether the "pilots were influenced in any way" (translate officialspeak - was there anyone else in the cockpit?).

Any of our friends in Poland in a position to provide any more details on the CVR contents ?

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 15:51
Arrakis,

you are right, thanks for correcting me, already edited.

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 15:54
andrasz, our posts crossed, check mine:

'...the CVR will show nothing..."

Chris Scott
12th Apr 2010, 15:54
Quote from lomapaseo:
(1) "Predicting the response to an investigation before the investigation has been completed is speculative and serves no purpose..."
(2) "...If there is any controversy in the findings then look for this among the investigators and not what's made up by outside speculations.
(3) "As always in an air accident investigation, blame is not the objective although it may be manufactured in the minds of the public."


For once, lomapaseo, I think you are missing the point. Did you have a chance to read my original [U]post (http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-government-tu154m-crash-10.html) of yesterday morning (Florida time)? The problem facing any investigation involving controversy is that not only must it be competent, thorough, and unbiased: it must be seen to be so; particularly in this case, where the historic national sensitivities can hardly be exaggerated. Perhaps these are not as well understood west of the Pond?

So my answers to your points are:
(1) The countries and personnel should be selected and assembled with care, with due consideration for the credibility of their reports, both to the industry and the public.
(2) As a retired pro, I would love to be able to agree with you...
(3) You are preaching to the converted, but we are talking about an investigation reporting to a Commission of Inquiry; led by an arch-politician, former president, current prime minister, and former intelligence officer of ONE of the two countries. What is "manufactured in the minds of the public" is likely to be all the greater for that.

You also wrote:
"The investigators will call for outside help if and when they need it and certainly have no need for purely political observations. I'm quite sure that Putin is not calling the shots, but only monitoring what gets released."
[unquote]

Doubts have been expressed, apparently even by Lech Walesa, that the captain of a Polish military aircraft had real autonomy of decision. In your world and mine, any Accident Inspector worth his/her salt would stand up to political pressure if, say, President Obama had started a presidential commission of inquiry. Perhaps we should ask some of our Eastern European forum-ites whether this ideal is credible in their part of the world.

Investigators calling "for outside help if and when they need it" makes sense normally, but would not help if there were any room for suspicion that the evidence (e.g., recordings) might have been tampered with.

Chris

kingofbongo
12th Apr 2010, 15:57
Mr. Sermet said.
"At the current stage of the investigation, there is no data that would indicate that anyone exerted pressure on pilots of the presidential plane". He added that flight recorders of the crashed plane will be analyzed with this in mind. He pointed out that experts will try to analyze the background of conversations so as to determine "whether there were any suggestions brought forward to pilots".

So basically, at the time they still don't know whether there was a pressure and will only try to look into it.

fly_low
12th Apr 2010, 16:12
As a professional pilot only one logical explanation comes into my head - on the last attempt pilots (bless them god) tried to land the plane in a very unusual but as they thought only one possible way - coming closer to runway deviate just a little bit below the profile to be able to see approach lights (if they are installed at that military place at all) or the RW itself and safely land there. But they came too low, maybe just by a couple of meters.....
All Aviation history is written on blood, sorry but this is true. I hope this lesson will and must be learnt by all professionals reading this very sad story..

wessel_words
12th Apr 2010, 16:17
If there was pressure exerted, (I think there was) it would be hard to prove, neither will it be allowed to be proved, IMHO.

Way too much pride at stake.

andrasz
12th Apr 2010, 16:19
kingofbongo, thanks! In H media it came down as the tapes have already been listened to.

lomapaseo
12th Apr 2010, 16:22
Chris Scott

For once, lomapaseo, I think you are missing the point. Did you have a chance to read my original post of yesterday morning

I'm careful about quoting a named person to the point of a one-on-one discussion or argument (that works fine in real life but gets confusing in the meanings in a general discussion forum).

I accept your ponts and no doubt we agree in much. I only meant to respond to the possible interpretations of the words as quoted and to express my views in balance for the general readership.

Chris Scott
12th Apr 2010, 16:30
lomapaseo,

Thanks for reading my points. There's probably little to be done at this late stage...

yaw_damper
12th Apr 2010, 16:44
I am sorry about the '86 mistake.
All the knowledges I got are from the pilots met in the WAW when I was flying LOT line flights for them due to...
And

criss

the way you are writing is the explanation for me that the bitter treatment of anybody else is your way of life, you are not able to understand a mistake, you are bound to speak to anybody from the second floor avoiding the pure common-sense I was invoking (even landing on RWY33 coming from Gdansk is a questionable decision).
I wish you all the best anyway.
Your way of reaction stands for what was in their mind, in the way they were trying FOUR TIMES to find a strip in nowhere's land.

criss
12th Apr 2010, 17:03
No, simply I don't like fancy stories instead of facts (86 was not your only mistake), and people knowing it better than the actual crew. This perceived mistake of the IL62 crew flying to Warsaw was discussed ad nauseam, and bringing it here makes little sense. We've now had 23 years to analyze that, they had like 25 minutes, and almost no information what's going on.

And again - what four times??

Aileron Drag
12th Apr 2010, 17:14
Sorry guys - just waded through the first dozen pages of this thread, but can find no reference to the runway in use. The crash site 'hybrid' map quoted an accuracy of a couple of kms - no help.

Sorry if I've missed the obvious, or a relevant post.

Neptunus Rex
12th Apr 2010, 17:18
But they came too low, maybe just by a couple of meters.....

The reports indicate that they hit the ground 1,500 to 2,000 metres from the runway. At 1,500 metres from touchdown, assuming a target of 15 metres over the runway threshold, to be on a 3 degree glidepath, they should have been at 100 metres Height Above Touchdown (HAT.) Hardly "just by a couple of metres."
The HAT for a missed approach would have been in the order of 60 metres HAT.
I shall not criticise the crew, as we do not yet have all the information. However, altimetry has to feature large on the list of possible contributing factors.

5 APUs captain
12th Apr 2010, 17:53
NDB approach in a fog... descent below minimum...
Military airfield... which was almost not in use more than 9 month...
The Mr. President's choice was to land at the NEAREST airfield...rush....
Classic crash.

sprocky_ger
12th Apr 2010, 18:28
Aileron Drag
...but can find no reference to the runway in use
avherald states:
...was on approach to Smolensk North Airport's (Air Base) unmarked runway (runway heading approximately 270 degrees)...

ARRAKIS
12th Apr 2010, 18:43
It was Smolensk airbase.

Smolensk (air base) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smolensk_(air_base))

Arrakis

Ptkay
12th Apr 2010, 19:11
In August 2008, the pilot of Kaczyński's plane was pressured by the president when he refused to land in Tbilisi during the South Ossetian war between Georgia and Russia.[42][43] During that incident, the captain of the plane, Grzegorz Pietruczuk, was asked by the president's staff to change the flight plan and land in Tbilisi.[44] After consulting with the commander of his unit, the captain refused, justifying his decision by safety concerns. He was then visited in the cockpit by Kaczynski himself, who tried to convince him to change his mind. Kaczynski later told journalists that "the Polish officer should not be cowardly". Nevertheless, the pilot held his ground and the plane landed in Azerbaijan as planned. A few weeks after this incident the pilot of the plane was decorated by the defense minister for following correct procedures in this case and keeping the safety of his passengers utmost in his mind.[44] The pilot continued to fly the president's plane after the incident, even after Kaczynski expressed unhappiness with his performance during the flight to Tbilisi.[45] Grzegorz Hołdanowicz, a leading Polish defence analyst stated his belief that in Smolensk the pilot would have been under pressure to land, despite advice from air traffic control to the contrary.[43]

2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Polish_Air_Force_Tu-154_crash)

Totally_Bananas
12th Apr 2010, 19:22
In the UK press today about the above post;

"It was known that Mr Kaczynski once fired a flight crew when they refused to land at Tbilisi - and flew to another airport"

Gloom_PL
12th Apr 2010, 19:22
I guess there's an interesting discussion on russian forum:

I don't have a good knowledge of Russin, however excerpts were on Polish forum, and I can happily translate.

If you take the picture at the top, there's a vertical situation (ground level, units are meters) describing distances and positions. At 0.0 you have runway threshold. AT 0.6km there's a road, mentioned in some simulations and screens. At 1.1 km you can see the NDB location.

If you now look back into the CASA case, the pilots looked for visual, or at least ground visual contact, and they just descended below clouds. If we assume similar might have happened here, here's a possible chain:

NOTICE: This is speculation ONLY.

1. The crew decides to go for approach
2. They're descending as planned until 2-3kms from the runway, and some 200m above. Slowly they're descending looking around, searching for clearing in the clouds.
3. They suddenly have an opening in the clouds, and oops - they find themselves quite high (notice terrain drop at 1.5km). They start to descend below proper descend line, and reduce speed.
4. Suddenly, the hill begins. The terrain goes up, the pilots try to get back into the air higher, losing speed probably. They do not manage to do it properly, and they end up on NDB antenna, 1.1 km from the runway, then they still climb until the fall about 600m later. Lack of speed? Could be, depending on thrust, we might know on official.

Some questions remain of course. If they had QFE set, would they go below 0? Never know, they might've been happy to see the ground and decided to go on visuals, it was seconds after all. Perhaps a QFE/QNH match (as described above)?
And why would they go "on top of the trees" once they catched visual with ground, instead of trying to stay as close to the clouds?

This is all speculation, however I am more and more convinced of this (or similar) scenario, involving descend to visual and then a hill climb (from 200 to over 250 meters within 1.5 km). Anyways, CFIT is very plausible considering that plot on Russian forum.

Adam

PS Idea behind has been published on Polish forum, I'm just retranslating to give you all this info.

jsypilot
12th Apr 2010, 19:26
This is the correct URL:

Smolensk (air base) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smolensk_(air_base))

(your URL got slightly confused by the parentheses!)

Right Way Up
12th Apr 2010, 19:29
All Aviation history is written on blood, sorry but this is true. I hope this lesson will and must be learnt by all professionals reading this very sad story..

This blood was spilled many times years ago. To think this is even being considered at this time is both frustrating & disquieting.

Pugilistic Animus
12th Apr 2010, 19:37
Once the new old ideas start to flow in.... we go right back to the original classic TO and LDG accidents:uhoh:

djp
12th Apr 2010, 20:05
Silly question

would this flight ( civil ) had a locked cockpit door ?

Rollingthunder
12th Apr 2010, 20:15
Reports have indicated this aircraft was owned and operated by the Polish Air Force. (not civil)

hetfield
12th Apr 2010, 20:17
With the President in the back it wouldn't matter anyway.

AnthonyGA
12th Apr 2010, 20:58
"It was known that Mr Kaczynski once fired a flight crew when they refused to land at Tbilisi - and flew to another airport"

I don't know whether this is true or not, but it makes me wonder. Why would anyone in his right mind try to override a pilot who prefers to err on the side of safety? Even if you're a 10,000-hour pilot yourself, doesn't it make sense that if either of you has a doubt, you should do whatever seems safest? If the pilot dies, so does everyone else so what kind of reasoning (if it can be called that) would lead anyone to second-guess the pilot?

It's like the old saying goes: If you have to ask yourself whether or not it's safe, it's not.

And of course it's all the more true if the passenger pressuring the pilot knows nothing about aviation himself.

Unfortunately it seems that there will always be crashes arising from this type of pressure. I hope that wasn't the case here, but it sure looks that way so far.

criss
12th Apr 2010, 21:02
Data shows rising terrain on approach path, according to Russian pilots it's a known local trap if you're unaware and try to get low to attain a visual contact.

RatherBeFlying
12th Apr 2010, 21:08
There are a number of pilots who bust NDB minima and get away with it -- until they hit something. In the interim they believe themselves a cut above their fellow aviators. Often with their employers' acclaim:}

There was one accident in Sioux Lookout where the crew hit the NDB mast -- a classic illustration of skill exceeding judgement.

In whitewater canoeing, I am quite willing to run a rapid with an 99% probability of success. If I fail, I get wet and the lifejacket bumps my odds of survival to well over 99.9%

But a 99% probability of success busting minima in an approach gives you a 1% probability of incurring an event with at best a 5% survival rate.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
12th Apr 2010, 21:09
<<Why would anyone in his right mind try to override a pilot who prefers to err on the side of safety?>>

Possibly because they have absolutely no clue about aviation operations.

A British Prime Minister flying out of Heathrow once made it clear to the crew that there were to be no delays. Once the PM was aboard the aircraft was to taxy out and take off immediately. Unfortunately, there was a 30 minute ATC delay... so we had the pilot taxy all around the airport for 30 mins and then take off as soon as he reached the runway. The VIP was most impressed with the expeditious service, despite wasting tons of fuel...

Remember - a lot of VIPs are brainless.

peter we
12th Apr 2010, 21:39
I don't know whether this is true or not, but it makes me wonder.

Please try and read the few posts before yours before commenting. And no its not true - he attempted to overide the pilot and the pilot stood his ground and was decorated for doing so,

ARRAKIS
12th Apr 2010, 21:45
There are a number of pilots who bust NDB minima and get away with it -- until they hit something


Given the terrain profile - see my post 393, the airfield starts on the right side around 1,8 km mark - at Smolensk it's quite easy to hit something in case of poor visibility.

Arrakis

Fair_Weather_Flyer
12th Apr 2010, 22:19
"It was known that Mr Kaczynski once fired a flight crew when they refused to land at Tbilisi - and flew to another airport"

I very briefly did executive charter flying and it was the VIP mentality that scared me away from it. On one occasion I did a flight into an airport with no approach aid of any description. The VIP told me that he had flown with Netjets, a few days earlier and the crew diverted to another airport due to weather. He told me that because of this he would not be using Netjets again.

On another occasion I was at a holding point waiting for a helicopter to do it's thing. The VIP tapped me on the shoulder and shouted "go, go" thinking that I had just stopped at my own convenience.

This is the mentality of some of these people, they just don't understand what is going on. I can't think that the crew wanted to attempt the approach; they must have been under a lot of pressure.

Yeah
12th Apr 2010, 22:33
Another fact from todays interviews:
Former president, Lech Walesa said that, when he was flying Tupolev, and there was some dobuds about flight or some delays, the captain of aircraft was leaving cockpit and walking to cabin to get some "compromise" about rest of flight and cosulting decissions with president.
If in this case was thesame situation, the CVR probably won't bring any new informations for investigators who speculates "president fluence".

And a little piece of knowledge about Crew, cause we forget about them.
The story of my friend, RIP
Google T?umacz (http://translate.google.pl/translate?hl=pl&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://www.poranny.pl/apps/pbcs.dll/article%3FAID%3D/20100410/KATASTROFA_PREZYDENT/9466098)

wessel_words
12th Apr 2010, 22:41
Fair_Weather_Flyer

Yes I can relate to that.

It is not easy to stand up to pressure, especially when it's the boss exerting it. The ground rules must be established early on. It does require experience to stand up to this and a lot of experience in some cases. "Given them an inch and they will take a mile". "Help them out" once and they will expect it every time and then you become their whore.

I have been subject to commercial pressure right from the beginning of my career. The worst is a privately owned aircraft with a boss or bosses who are out of touch with reality. In civil aviation commercial pressure is an absolute killer if you allow yourself to be pushed.

When things do go wrong, these people will be the first to put blame on the pilot, if they are able. "Why did you do that Captain?"

As far as I am concerned, the most important person on the aircraft is me and be damned if I am going to be ordered by some imbecile to fly the aircraft into the ground.



Be polite but firm. At times I find hard to stay polite.

flash8
12th Apr 2010, 22:46
YouTube - Jak dosz?o do katastrofy prezydenckiego samolotu - symulacja wydarze? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnPh7cTnPcs)

Possibly interesting, unfortunately my polish is non-existent though.

Apologies I don't know how to embed the video.

cockpitvisit
12th Apr 2010, 22:49
I am wondering why Russia is leading the investigation.

This was not a civilian plane, so ICAO rules for accident investigations probably don't apply. Since it was the President's plane, wouldn't the plane be exterritorial and off-limits to Russian authorities, similar to an embassy or an ambassador's car? And wouldn't the same principle apply to its wreckage?

Can the Russians get any secret NATO equipment from the wreckage?

Avegnon
12th Apr 2010, 22:52
I have read the following speculation:
ac had a problem with one of the engines. A amateur movie of the ac taking of at Warsaw supposedly showed a flash on one of the engines.
Fuel was dumped. the only possibility was to land in Smolensk.

On the tv pictures it looked like there was no fuel left for fire. There were no signs of burnt trees etc.

Any opinions on that.....?

criss
12th Apr 2010, 22:53
Flash8, this youtube clip is full of nonsense, like "they circled the aerodrome 3 times, according to experts to learn local topography and runway track, which they then enter into autopilot". Unfortunately, we have a pair of self-proclaimed experts that run a well-known aviation monthly, and are often invited to TV and newspapers to sell their theories.

One can only wonder how you can learn local topography not seing a thing...

Avegnon - if they had time to dump fuel (which btw, is impossible on T154), they would have time to go to another airport, international aerodromes were only 15-30 minutes flying time away. And there's no information about any engine failure so far. The amateur movie showed a flashing beacon. And they wouldn't fly for 90 minutes with a known failure to end up at an aerodrome below minima, having a possibility to land at their homebase which was cavok. My colleague was working when they departed, and there was nothing unusual.

brak
13th Apr 2010, 00:18
What kind of "secret NATO equipment" can be on a Russian-made plane that was overhauled in Russia a few months ago?

This thread is beginning to quickly deteriorate in level of discourse.

protectthehornet
13th Apr 2010, 00:41
Just Say NO.

It is tough to say NO to your boss. Beyond the Polish tragedy, I hope we can all learn something.

I think that the one thing that must be understood in the pilot/boss relationship is that the PILOT is the boss of the plane.

So, when the boss says: DO IT. YOU SAY: NOPE, DO YOU WANT TO FLY IT? Then here are the KEYS. (smaller planes usually have keys...for the ignition system...bigger planes sometimes have keys to the door, but don't need them to ''start'' the plane)

I would make it a law that if a pilot is fired for saying NO, then they get six months severence pay.

11Fan
13th Apr 2010, 00:46
if a pilot is fired for saying NO, then they get six months severence pay.

Or a medal

Nicolaus Silver
13th Apr 2010, 01:22
"the PILOT is the boss of the plane"

The BOSS is boss of the PILOT, his career and future. "If you can't do it then next time we'll find someone else who can" is the usual threat.

If same situation arises and you think you have a DO IT BOSS on board, get him up front for a minute to see fog and confirm YOUR call. After witnessing the situation himself he should back off and understand. If he still disagrees advise him he is welcome to identify himself directly with ATC to advise his landing intentions on his authority.

DO IT BOSS's are big on bullying but cowards on public blame.

Regardless, up here PILOT is BOSS, so divert to X, make a report and live to get another job...

protectthehornet
13th Apr 2010, 01:34
I quit one job for a company not maintaing the plane properly and actually removing a log book page with a maintenance write up.

I quit another place for flying over gross weight.

It does hurt your career, but not your skills as a pilot.

bomiknocker
13th Apr 2010, 01:45
the pilot of the doomed plane in Smolensk was first officer on the plane to Tibilisi - in other words he witnessed Kaczynski's threaths to corner his captain into landing with 4 heads of state (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) on board.

x213a
13th Apr 2010, 01:45
What kind of "secret NATO equipment" can be on a Russian-made plane that was overhauled in Russia a few months ago?



Quite a bit is possible actually, as well as various publications for various things. To go into the possibilities on here would be at risk of beadwindow though:ok:

nojwod
13th Apr 2010, 01:57
Only the black box info will contain the data to refute my theory but after reading everything I can find, and if I were a betting man, my money would be on:

After flying three orbits to establish a degree of familiarity with the weather and the layout the crew prepared for a single visual approach remaining VFR below the clouds and ready to climb out for a divert if they weren't happy with the situation.

They set up an approach configuration similar to one they would have employed on a glideslope and flew under the clouds towards the runway, with at best a marginal approach speed for the conditions. With the pressure of keeping tabs on the aircraft orientation and looking out for landmarks and the looming runway lights, suitably increasing engine thrust after they levelled out could well have been missed. As they approached the runway and encountered rising ground, and increasing thrust to compensate, the high drag configuration might have prevented an immediate climb-out, and the aircraft sustained enough damage after hitting a tree or trees making any further recovery impossible.

PBY
13th Apr 2010, 02:56
I don't want to open a can of warms, but after the crash of the CASA in 2008 I have talked to an ex -polish military pilot and he told me, that the polish military does not have clear procedures in place on when to give up an approach,as we have it clear in civilian flying. He said, that was the reason for the crash. I wonder, if anybody more informed knows more about this and if it was true, did they change the procedures?

Airbubba
13th Apr 2010, 04:09
It is my expectation that the flight crew would have been familiar with QFE procedures and altitude clearances issued in meters. Such procedures are standard in Russia and China; I am unaware of any other country which employs this kind of altimetry.


In my recent experience, metric QNH procedures now seem to be standard in China with their own brand of metric RVSM at higher altitudes. QFE is still given on the Chinese ATIS. Poland was metric and QFE a couple of decades ago as I recall. American Airlines (AA) used an archaic QFE procedure until a near CFIT at BDL in the mid-90's I believe.

Seems like the RAF used QFE fairly recently, is this right?

Mongolia, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and 6,000 meters or below in Turkmenistan are also metric:

Flight level - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_level#Metric_flight_levels)

mutt
13th Apr 2010, 05:21
Nojwod, your theory is astounding, in order to add some credibility to it, would you kindly advise us if you are a qualified pilot with time in jet aircraft?

Thanks

Mutt

galaxy flyer
13th Apr 2010, 05:59
Airbubba

The "near CFIT" at KBDL was an actual CFIT; if you count striking trees as a CFIT. The problem there was not especailly the use of QFE but the rapidly falling pressure combined with an abandoned tower, so no current altimeter setting for the crew. EAL and AA used QFE for years without it being implicated in an accident. It is really quite nice when understood and used proficiently. Just did a QFE approach into VKO the other night.

GF

yaw_damper
13th Apr 2010, 06:46
Well WISE-GUY, high ground on approach path what about RADIO ALTIMETER, GPWS (ground proximity warning system) why were ignored?
International media is strongly sustaining the fourth try for landing. A good question is why?

ARRAKIS
13th Apr 2010, 06:49
International media is strongly sustaining the fourth try for landing. A good question is why?


Copy+paste and who cares about the facts.

Arrakis

Super VC-10
13th Apr 2010, 08:27
DJP - Silly question

would this flight ( civil ) had a locked cockpit door ?

It is a silly question. The flight was a miltary flight, not a civil flight.

Der absolute Hammer
13th Apr 2010, 08:38
Oh goody..conspiracy theories....?

gfmb
13th Apr 2010, 09:17
Given the modest landing aid(s) the airport offers, the weather was obviously too bad for a safe approach and landing. Why didn't this Smolensk airport simply closed awaiting acceptable conditions? (Haven't read the entire thread, sorry if the question has been raised before).

/gfmb

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 09:38
here u got some pictures which didn't show by journalist:
iMGSRC.RU 154 on para-moto1.iMGSRC.RU (http://imgsrc.ru/para-moto1/17502881.html)

and view from satellite after crash:

http://bi.gazeta.pl/im/3/7765/m7765863.jpg

MATELO
13th Apr 2010, 09:53
Look at that picture above.

That plane looks way left of the centre line if you do comparisons to google earth.

Anybody confirm this?

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 09:55
it was said earlier

ARRAKIS
13th Apr 2010, 10:03
Full picture:
Flickr Photo Download: Smolensk, Russia (http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalglobe-imagery/4515204703/sizes/o/)

That plane looks way left of the centre line
Not a surprise. According to the Russians from Smolensk, it was in the runway axis. Deviation is just a result of all the events after hitting the first tree.


Arrakis

jsypilot
13th Apr 2010, 10:15
Could that be the flattened NDB at the bottom of the picture?

criss
13th Apr 2010, 10:34
PJ2, Airbubba, as said before, Polish military bases still use QFE and heights in meters, so the crew should be acquainted to it.

gfmb - because aerodromes do not close due to fog.

BTW, we keep referring to it as an aerodrome, while it was rather just a bit of a concrete strip.

Chris Scott
13th Apr 2010, 10:38
Quote from PJ2 [April 12/0224z, currently #448 (http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-government-tu154m-crash-23.html)]:
"The following graphically illustrates the hazard of flying a QFE altimeter setting as though it were a QNH setting:
[graphic]......"

PJ2 is one of the most erudite professional pilots on this forum (as witness his contributions to the AF447 thread). But I think he has done a typo in the sentence quoted above. He should have written QFE and QNH the other way round, I think. In case it causes any confusion, and because he is currently not logged on to PPRuNe, he will forgive me for this intervention. The importance of understanding in this area cannot be over-emphasised.

He is trying to warn those not familiar with the hazard of flying published HEIGHTS above aerodrome level (based on QFE), while forgetting to re-set the altimeter sub-scale from the airfield QNH (or, indeed, from the airways standard setting of 1013mb/29.92") to the airfield QFE. With QNH set on an altimeter sub-scale, the altimeter indicates ALTITUDE above sea-level.

His graphic perfectly illustrates the problem. It shows an approach profile uncannily similar to Tenerife-Norte (GCXO/TFN) Rwy 30. From memory, the approach crosses the coast about 5nm from touchdown, after which the ground rises rapidly to just over 2000ft (over 600m) at the airfield.
In the 1970s, ATC often cleared us to descend to 2000ft on the QFE, meaning 2000ft height above the airfield (equivalent to about 4100ft altitude above sea-level), and at that height to intercept the ILS glide-slope.

If you set (or retained) the QNH on your altimeter sub-scale, and descended over the sea to 2000ft, you would be 2000ft above the sea but about 100ft below the airfield. :eek:

This is the problem that PJ2 refers to. The added problem in Russia, of course, is that the cleared heights are likely to be given in metres above the airfield not feet as shown on most non-Russian altimeters.

Whether this bread-and-butter (for pilots) matter is pertinent to the Smolensk-Severni accident remains to be seen.

Chris

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
13th Apr 2010, 11:23
<<BTW, we keep referring to it as an aerodrome, while it was rather just a bit of a concrete strip.>>

Judging from what's parked there, I think it's a bit more than a "strip"!

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 11:46
dimentions and a state of rynway doesn't matters in this case.

This crew, and this airplane was in this airport few days before crash.

criss
13th Apr 2010, 11:49
In terms of infrastructure, it was a bit of concrete serving as a runway strip, with another bit of concrete serving as an apron. Far from what most of ppl writing here would refer to as an aerodrome. It was admitted by some pilots flying there.

andrasz
13th Apr 2010, 12:22
here u got some pictures which didn't show by journalist:
iMGSRC.RU 154 on para-moto1.iMGSRC.RU (http://imgsrc.ru/para-moto1/17502881.html)


From the pictures we do gain one piece of important information not mentioned elsewhere: there are approach lights in place, though perhaps not exactly up to current ICAO standards...

atakacs
13th Apr 2010, 12:43
Reading various media reports about a third data recorder being recovered ?! :confused:

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
13th Apr 2010, 12:45
Criss...... "An aerodrome or airfield is a term for any location from which aircraft flight operations take place, regardless of whether they involve cargo or passengers or neither. "

It doesn't have to be concrete, either. A large grass field from where aircraft operate is an aerodrome!

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 12:49
Reading various media reports about a third data recorder being recovered ?!

That can be truth. Next to FDR and CVR we have another system of registration flight parameters on military aircrafts.

criss
13th Apr 2010, 12:51
HD, I know the formal definition, thank you very much. But that's not the message I tried to convey.

Looking at this image - http://a.eu.fotka.pl.s3.amazonaws.com/047/188/47188533_1024.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0W17STEP45EAPG1VT202&Expires=1272232800&Signature=xa4wB6NutUx0sgQFpwFtLxUmGjo%3D - perhaps they tried to get below clouds to somewhere like 50-60m using radioalt, and then were caught by the rising terrain?

atakacs
13th Apr 2010, 12:51
Judging from what's parked there, I think it's a bit more than a "strip"!Indeed !
Did not really realize how close they were to the runway

shortfinals
13th Apr 2010, 12:52
Approach guidance the crew used is still not clear. Doesn't look like PAR, more like surveillance radar approach, which provides guidance like "slightly left of centreline, turn right two degrees, you should be passing [height]". Flightglobal has details on the airfield status at The Polish accident: circumstances - Learmount (http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/learmount/2010/04/the-polish-accident.html)

yankeeclipper747
13th Apr 2010, 12:59
copied part of an article about the polish pilot and idiot boss.






But speculation was rife that the president's own entourage might have insisted the pilot continue the flight, despite orders from Russian air traffic control for the plane to land in Minsk or Moscow due to the bad weather conditions in Smolensk.

The high-profile delegation was on a tight schedule on Saturday to attend a memorial service for the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. Kaczynski was known for his assertiveness towards pilots who had flown him on official business in the past.

In a widely reported case in 2008, he flew to Tbilisi in his presidential plane during the war in Georgia. When his pilot refused to land in the Georgian capital, insisting it was too dangerous to do so, Kaczynski reportedly entered the cockpit and tried to change his mind. The pilot refused, and the party landed in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, and was forced to travel the remaining stretch to Georgia by car over arduous mountain roads. Attempts were subsequently made to sue the pilot for failing to obey orders, but the case was thrown out by prosecutors.

The former Polish president Lech Walesa said it was too early to cast blame, but also suggested the pilot may have come under pressure from the Polish president and his delegation to land, despite the severe fog blanketing the approach to the airport.
:ugh:

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 13:06
yankeeclipper747 I've pasted this article few pages earlier

mary meagher
13th Apr 2010, 13:07
In the UK I have been confused by QFE and QNH settings, wondering why the ground was closer than it should have been, fortunately in VFR.....

Does a ground proximity warning system take into consideration the tops of trees? or the actual ground itself?

criss
13th Apr 2010, 13:07
Pls read before posting to avoid duplicating...

GobonaStick
13th Apr 2010, 13:15
Below, and to the right of the car park, opposite side of the road to the main wreck.

Is that a wing-tip? That would go a long way to explaining deviation.

Ptkay
13th Apr 2010, 13:19
Shortfinals:

Approach guidance the crew used is still not clear. Doesn't look like PAR, more like surveillance radar approach, which provides guidance like "slightly left of centreline, turn right two degrees, you should be passing [height]".

I have been landing several times at military airfields in Poland.
(Which is legal for private flights, if approved in advance.)
It was VFR, so I will not comment on precision approaches in marginal weather.

I had the opportunity, due to courtesy of the staff, to visit the tower.
So I will just comment, what I saw, as a disused, but still operational PAR
equivalent. The way of use of it was commented to me by the tower staff.

The system consisted of two round CRT radar screens app. 40 cm diameter,
one for vertical and the other for lateral visualization of the aircraft position.

With colour crayons (markers) the lines were drawn on the glass surface
to represent the approach centreline, glide slope and runway threshold.
(I have no idea, how these lines and system was calibrated.)

The controller in front of those screens was giving the pilot voice commands
to keep him (the blip on the screen) on the lines. If the pilot was
not performing according to orders, ATC was able to give him command to abort.

The full authority and responsibility was on the side of the controller,
the pilot was just obliged to read back the orders and report runway in sight.

This might seem to be very primitive system, which it is, but according to my
CFI, a former fighter pilot, who did lots of such approaches, it worked well.

Similar, simple portable systems were supposed to be used on field grass
landing strips to be use in case of war or any emergency landing.

I have no Idea, if such system was in place in Smoleńsk, but it was
supposed to be standard in all Warsaw Pact countries.

It was probably eighter Russian or licensed RSP (Radiolokator Slepoj Posadki).
(Blind Landing Radar)

I am in no way connected to the military, so I can write here what I have seen,
and, what I suppose, is not classified.
I think military pilots, who know more about the system may be in trouble
if writing more about it on a public forum.

CONF iture
13th Apr 2010, 13:45
Ref to GabonaStick post.

http://i65.servimg.com/u/f65/11/75/17/84/pol_0010.jpg (http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=52&u=11751784)

Korn
13th Apr 2010, 13:49
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4071/4517275689_8756b86ccc.jpg

Zakrylok
13th Apr 2010, 13:49
andrasz: From the pictures we do gain one piece of important information not mentioned elsewhere: there are approach lights in place, though perhaps not exactly up to current ICAO standards...

If you refer to yellow plastic buckets with lamps inside, these are not approach lights but makeshift night lights placed by Russian emergency workers after the crash (to allow work to be carried overnight). I've seen those before, so no doubt on this one.

Ptkay
13th Apr 2010, 13:49
Brutal irony of the fate.

This is the parliament interrogation of Przemysław Gosiewski,
one of the victims of the Smolensk crash regarding the 2008 Georgia incident:

Google T?umacz (http://translate.google.pl/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Forka2.sejm.gov.pl%2FIZ6.nsf%2Fmain%2F4D0917D9&sl=pl&tl=en)

Speaks for itself... :ugh:

And the answer of the Minister of Defence.

Google T?umacz (http://translate.google.pl/translate?hl=pl&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Forka2.sejm.gov.pl%2FIZ6.nsf%2Fmain%2F08690964 )


This is official page of the Polish Parliament, official Parliament documents,
no journalists comments or interpretations.

shortfinals
13th Apr 2010, 13:52
Ptkay, I'm former military (RAF) and have flown PARs and SRAs. They are simple if you are in practice at doing them.

Flying a PAR or an SRA, you don't respond to the instructions once you are established. There are too many instructions to respond to, either adjustments or confirmation that you are on centreline/glidpath. At short final the controller checks with tower, then clears you to land. At that point you just acknowledge the clearance, and as you approach your DH/MDH you look up, and if you can see the runway you land.

Zakrylok
13th Apr 2010, 13:56
From what I understand from Russian press reports initial impact happened before the highway (therefore the white piece may actually be a wing tip). The plane then bounced over the highway and disintegrated upon impacting more trees. Press could be wrong of course.

Xeque
13th Apr 2010, 13:58
I practiced and performed PARs and VDF letdowns in order to pass my IMC rating back in 1980. With the current level of instrument landing aids available, I don't know if anyone does these things any more.

graziano
13th Apr 2010, 14:23
Reading various media reports about a third data recorder being recovered ?! That can be truth. Next to FDR and CVR we have another system of registration flight parameters on military aircrafts.
I wish to say hello to everybody as this is my first post here (end offtop).

This plane apart from the FDR and CVR probably was also equipped with SSQAR (Solid State Quick Access Recorder) as these units were mounted on all LOT aircrafts between 88-90

Google Translation (http://tnij.org/gigr)

Best Regards

ARRAKIS
13th Apr 2010, 14:25
Is that a wing-tip?


It think, this is the right picture. Judge by yourself.

iMGSRC.RU 154 on para-moto1.iMGSRC.RU (http://imgsrc.ru/para-moto1/17502889.html#bp)

iMGSRC.RU 154 on para-moto1.iMGSRC.RU (http://imgsrc.ru/para-moto1/17502888.html#bp)

Arrakis

andrasz
13th Apr 2010, 14:36
Zakrilok,

Thanks for the clarification, indeed those were the ones I had in mind.

Ptkay
13th Apr 2010, 14:47
The CASA case was not the only PAR accident in PAF recently.

12 June 2001 the airbase in Powidz held night flights of Su-22 fighter-bombers jets. Visibility deteriorated so rapidly, that upon landing a young pilot refused to continue with the next flight. Not any one of the commanders, however, took notice of that. Another crew boarded Su-22 cockpit: trained pilot and instructor. The approaches were based on PAR procedures The official minima were clouds ceiling at least 100 m . In Powidz at that time it was significantly lower.

After the first unsuccessful approach by the pilot, the instructor took over the controls. "In this situation, the only right decision was to divert to reserve airfield with VFR conditions, which was prepared to accept the plane '- assessed in the report of accident investigation committee. Unfortunately, the instructor took a different decision. Su-22 crashed in a similar way as the presidential Tupolev Tu-154 - into a tree about 1 km from the threshold, to the right side of the approach axis. Probably the pilot took the, barely visible in a cloud, lights of the hangar roads for the runway lights. Both pilots did not have the slightest chance of survival.

squadronblue
13th Apr 2010, 14:50
Well many UK mil a/c only use PAR and SRA for airfield approaches since they are not fitted for ILS causes havoc if you have to fly IFR in Europe............

robbreid
13th Apr 2010, 15:00
The Kathryn Report (http://www.thekathrynreport.com/) reports aircraft was on 2nd landing attempt . . .

Reconstruction of Polish president?s plane crash | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire (http://en.rian.ru/video/20100410/158515224.html) Russian animation of accident . . .

Ptkay
13th Apr 2010, 15:12
Specific and factual on the technical status of the Tupolev Tu-154M No. 101 (No. 90A837)

It was produced in Russia 14 April 1990 and that same year went to the
Warsaw regiment. Her TBO was 30 thousand hours in
air or 15 years of service. The day of the accident, the aircraft reached 5,141 hours.
Tupolev was supposed to be subject three main overhauls. Before the last
overhaul, which began in May 2009, Tu-154 has logged 5000
hours 19 minutes and made 3,821 landings.
(Rather low average time of single mission: 1h20min)

The last major refurbishment of the aircraft, coupled with the prolongation of service life and
modification was made in the aviation industry factory in Samara in Russia.

Order "for Samara," covered the primary repair with another
service life extension and modification of two aircraft, eight main overhaul of
D-30KU engines (including two spare) and the APU TA-6A.

The works were valued at almost $ 25 million

She returned to the country just before the Christmas holidays, December 23.
After returning from Russia she has been again serviced acc. to 36 SPLT procedures
designed to double-check the technical condition of the
aircraft before being allowed to fly with VIP.

After the overhaul Tu-154M 101 could spend 7,500 hours in the air.
She has flown less than 140h.
For the last flight the aircraft took off from the Warsaw Okecie
Saturday, January 10, at 7:15 with 96 people on board. "

January 12, 2010 the second Tu-154 reg. no 102 flew to Samara.
Her renovation is expected to continue until the second half of July.

hetfield
13th Apr 2010, 15:21
Well for me the outcome will look like:

Blame the Russian Controller/Equipment? - NO
Mechanical Failure? -NO
Blame the Polish Top Brass or President? - OH NO


So what is left?

shortfinals
13th Apr 2010, 15:22
Robbreid - thanks for posting the RIA-Novosti "reconstruction", but as you undoubtedly appreciate, it's pretty dire and does not represent any kind of reality.
The media are in love with graphics, presumably because they find that the audience like them. But they never represent anything better than the written story that they accompany, and usually they are far worse.

GfaRm
13th Apr 2010, 15:29
"The Kathryn Report (http://www.thekathrynreport.com/) reports aircraft was on 2nd landing attempt . . .

Reconstruction of Polish president?s plane crash | Top Russian news and analysis online | 'RIA Novosti' newswire (http://en.rian.ru/video/20100410/158515224.html) Russian animation of accident . . ."

Not worth watching at all... Yet another media's rubbish.

Ptkay
13th Apr 2010, 15:30
Well for me the outcome will look like:

Blame the Russian Controller/Equipment? - NO
Mechanical Failure? -NO
Blame the Polish Top Brass or President? - OH NO


So what is left?

As usual, the young, junior officer.

BTW: I just realized that he lived just 3 km from my place. :(

andrasz
13th Apr 2010, 15:44
Crashed Tu-154's engines were operational before impact (http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/04/13/340573/crashed-tu-154s-engines-were-operational-before-impact.html)

Ptkay
13th Apr 2010, 16:23
Human memory seems short.

It did happen before, in the, allegedly, best Air Force of the World, the USAF:

1996 Croatia USAF CT-43 crash - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Croatia_USAF_CT-43_crash)

Also an IFR NDB approach...

Also VIP on board.

Ronald Brown U.S. Secretary of Commerce was lost in the crash.

liider
13th Apr 2010, 16:28
A video of the crashed plane before firefighter's arrival appeared on Youtube.
Gives some clue to the visibility.

YouTube - ????? ???????.mp4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkEmHSIVDwE)