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HEATHROW DIRECTOR
13th Apr 2010, 16:29
Shortfinals wrote: "Flying a PAR or an SRA, you don't respond to the instructions once you are established. "

A truly remarkable statement! How does one become "established" on an SRA or PAR? As a controller I have done thousands of SRAs and every time I issued a change of heading, the aircraft responded. If they hadn't there would have been a lot of smoking aluminium.

PJ2
13th Apr 2010, 16:34
Chris Scott;

Many thanks for your kind, and timely intervention; indeed that's what I meant to convey. PJ2

Chris Scott
13th Apr 2010, 16:41
Heathrow Director,

You must have said the above to the pilot every time you did a full SRA or PAR? Think that's what Shortfinals was referring to.


PJ2,

'twas nothing... At least one person always tries to read your posts carefully!

Chris

Kulverstukas
13th Apr 2010, 16:42
http://photo-smolensk.ru/albums/111/665000.jpg

Translation (top to bottom)

1) Cutted trees

http://www.picamatic.com/show/2010/04/14/03/13/6651770_600x400.jpg

2) Piece of wing
3) Place of broken birch - first impact (added by local witness)

http://www.picamatic.com/show/2010/04/14/03/13/6651776_712x534.jpg

4) Birch somewhere there

Kulverstukas
13th Apr 2010, 17:00
andrasz

here u got some pictures which didn't show by journalist:
iMGSRC.RU 154 on para-moto1.iMGSRC.RU

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...

It's not approach lights, it's standart lights used by emergency (EMERCOM) for working in the dark.

alph2z
13th Apr 2010, 17:18
Animation of Polish Government Tu154M crash. RIP.

YouTube - Plane Crash Animation that Killed RIP Polish president Lech Kaczynski (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK3sfVRn3pI)

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2696/4518786948_6ef0039930.jpg

Obviously, only proper official sources will have the true flight approach.
.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
13th Apr 2010, 17:24
<<"Do not acknowledge further instructions..."

Heathrow Director,

You must have said the above to the pilot every time you did a full SRA or PAR? >>

I never used PAR, which is a procedure where the controller says "do not acknowledge, etc", and keeps talking. However, during an SRA the controller issues instructions and the pilot responds every time.

Squealing Pig
13th Apr 2010, 17:38
"Do not acknowledge further instructions*

HD I have been given this during numerous SRA approaches at various airfields in the UK, Surley they cant all be wrong

johns7022
13th Apr 2010, 17:53
2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Polish_Air_Force_Tu-154_crash)

It's looking like they were established on straight in final on an NDB approach, took it lower and lower...maybe watching the radar alt to follow terrain, but then hit an antennae at 66ft...then trees.

Another plane had made it in that day, another missed right before them...might have been some pressure, pilots trying to be the hero...

I would be curious to know what the approach speed was......scud running is a 'slow' sport, keeping your speed down to 'find the runway then land'...impacting a tower at slow speeds might have damaged a wing enough to create a stall....can't add enough power to fly it out...damaged wing drops...then hits trees....

Also curious if EPGWS was installed and then disregarded....I wonder if Russian NDB towers and their elevations are in the database....

peter we
13th Apr 2010, 18:02
"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."

CNN have a video showing parts of the plane before the highway. I think there is a close up of the piece in question

Robertson: Scene of Polish plane crash stuns onlookers - CNN.com (http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/04/12/russia.crash.scene/index.html?hpt=C2)

PJ2
13th Apr 2010, 18:11
alph2z;

The only animations which are of any use at all are those which are data-driven from the DFDR and, where it may survive, the QAR.

Anything else is from someone who has some skill with Google Earth or the many animation programs out there, and some imagination. As such, with these animations there is absolutely no basis in reality or fact so they should be completely ignored. Those doing such work, including any media, do not have access to DFDR information.

What is reliably known now is that the tree-breakage and wreckage pattern means the aircraft was low on the approach and in a low rate-of-descent regime rather than in a high rate-of-descent loss-of-control situation. This speaks to approach issues rather than operational/aircraft issues but why they were low cannot be established from what we know thus far.

That is why it would be helpful to know what approach was in use and what charts were being used by the flight crew and what those charts indicated.

Has it been firmly established that they were doing an NDB approach?

For others pondering the meaning of such approaches, an NDB approach is essentially a cloud-breaking procedure with questionable accuracy.

To add a bit of precision to the approach, a time (in minutes/seconds) to the runway threshold or, (better), the MDA, (minimum descent altitude) from the FAF (final approach fix) using a ground-speed chart and altitude to lose are provided on the chart along with a rate-of-descent.

This is intended to provide a uniform rate of descent towards the MDA, ideally reaching the MDA at or slightly before the time is up rather than what is called the "dive-and-drive" descent where high rates of descent obtain followed by a level-off for level-flight low to the ground and perhaps some distance away from the runway.

The timed approach with published rate of descent is so that the crew know when they should descend no further until they establish firm visual contact with the runway.

However, the temptation to scud-run (as the previous poster accurately states) once one sees a bit of the ground, can be very high. The result is a very high risk approach in poor visibility.

But because of accuracy issues (left or right of course) and the complete absence of vertical guidance and the illusions which may be caused by variations in terrain, (such as here), the civilian regulatory limitations on forward visibility are high on such approaches. If I recall from earlier posts, the visibility was around 400m, or very near/at CATII limits precluding any kind of non-precision approach.

PJ2

Tmbstory
13th Apr 2010, 18:15
The airports that I used in Far Eastern Russia always had the inner NDB situated at the approach end of the runway in line with the extended centre line.

It was good to show where the end of the runway was although the Tower itself was an obstacle for both the take-off and landing.

Tmb

Chris Scott
13th Apr 2010, 18:23
peter we,

Thanks for the CNN link.

Don't know how long ago their reporter was there, but it makes no difference: how much evidence may have been removed by scavenging sightseers? Am astonished at the apparent lack of security. The opposite of a police-state, it seems...

Chris

PS
Re. the 3-metre-long piece of a wing part, that the reporter was examining: is it a piece of the ultimate stage of a multi-stage T/E wing flap?

Ptkay
13th Apr 2010, 18:47
CNN have a video showing parts of the plane before the highway.

I am really shocked about total lack of protection of important forensic evidence
left unattended by any security forces, readily available to looters and
souvenir seekers.

If there was any kind of mechanical failure and parts being lost before impact,
there is very little chance they will be ever found or evaluated.

It will be just few days before the e-bay will be over-flooded with pieces
of this aircraft for sale.

This is far beyond my understanding of "careful and thorough investigation".

:ugh:

liider
13th Apr 2010, 19:26
It will be just few days before the e-bay will be over-flooded with pieces
of this aircraft for sale.

How many people in Smolensk know about the existence of E-bay?

I think that only the main site (the fuselage) was secured at that time, no one of the persons responsible managed to think about gathering some pieces of metal in the nearby wood.

And why anyone will take these pieces of metal? Everybody knows about the problems that will happen to them in this case...

ARRAKIS
13th Apr 2010, 19:41
Amateur video just after the crash.

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


Question to people knowing very well the Tu-154. How many recordes are usually on board.
To my knowledge there are 2 MSRP recorders - 1 operational and one crash resistant "black box", MARS or??/and?? MS-61 recorder. The Polish Tu-154 had an additional QAR recorder installed. Anything else?

Arrakis

protectthehornet
13th Apr 2010, 20:16
I mentioned the ron brown crash much earlier in the thread.

AS TO : WHY NOT CLOSE THE AIRPORT? (from a new guy poster)

While I don't pretend to know russian procedures or polish procedures, I do know good old USA stuff.

AND a number of pilots don't know jack about what it means to "CLOSE" an airport.

Certainly some airline pilots will come over the PA system and say: folks, we can't land at Cleveland right now because the airport is closed due to bad weather.

WELL, that isn't really right.

ONE: Only the airport management can close an airport...for example, the Port Authority of New York for LGA. Like closing the runways to plow them to remove snow...ATC will relay management's closure, but ATC doesn't close the airport.

TWO: IF the TOWER SAYS: Airport Closed, it is probably due to an accident in which the crash/fire/rescue units are responding, and full response would not be available for another crash. This is usually done with a letter of understanding from the airport authority/management to act on their behalf in an accident situation.

THREE: ATC in the US can't "CLOSE" an airport due to bad weather. Certainly ATC might abandon the control tower if a massive tornado is approaching, but closing the airport ...NO.

SADLY, ATC may not actually say: For God's sake, don't land, the weather is awful. While a controller may act with MORAL AUTHORITY, they don't tell you that YOU can't land even if all hell is breaking loose.

So, airport closure isn't really a safeguard for anything.

And very sadly, there are airline pilots who don't know the above, and honestly feel that if they are cleared to land...the weather is good enough.

HA.

liider
13th Apr 2010, 20:20
I should think quite a lot

E-bay was launched in Russia just 3 weeks ago and it's impossible to sell anything there due to restrictions, the only possibility is to buy.

Ebay delayed its Russia launch (http://www.techbusy.org/internet/ebay-delayed-russia-launch/884/)

For people, who live in the Western world, these plane pieces are in the first place forensic evidence and may cost some money.
Of course, the area should have been secured according to the Western rules we are used to, I think that Russian security guys thought about securing valuable stuff, the luggage of the passengers.
And a normal Russian civilian will not steal anything that has no value for him when guys from the Federal Security Service hang around.

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 20:28
Amateur video just after the crash.

YouTube - ????? ???????.mp4


Guys?! Where is the fire?!

hetfield
13th Apr 2010, 20:30
@yeah

Engines torn off completely with tail section, so no hot metal at the tanks!?

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 20:34
@hetfield

hmm it could be point..
I'm wondering how many fuel they should have on board..

Flash0710
13th Apr 2010, 20:36
what are the gun shots about???

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 20:49
what are the gun shots about???

From the begining I'm wondering, why they fly so low so far from rynway?
I knew this guys and I'm sure that something must suprice them.
They knew this airport well, they knew what is berofe runway. I'm wondering if this was human factor (f.e. CFIT), some malfunction or other technical fault (lack of fuel). I got some theories about each of these causes but we have too less facts now..

ARRAKIS
13th Apr 2010, 20:51
Maybe one of the sidearms of the president security team, that was onboard.

Arrakis

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 20:56
Maybe one of the sidearms of the president security team, that was onboard.

Arrakis

really, It isn't funny for me.
I lost few friends in this plane

ARRAKIS
13th Apr 2010, 21:06
According to official information, 7 sidearms were recovered from the crash site.
I don't see anything funny about it. Maybe you?

Arrakis

Yeah
13th Apr 2010, 21:24
I don't understand your point with gun..

brak
13th Apr 2010, 21:43
In the background of the video you can hear "Come over here! Get out of here, b.." and then a gunshot. I can only assume that some local security or militia is on the way (firefighters certainly are, judging by the siren) and they might be shooting in the air or otherwise chasing gawkers away. The guy with the camera also scrams before firemen and security arrive.

andrasz
13th Apr 2010, 21:43
protectthehornet

Back a few hundred posts ago I have referred to some fundamental differences that have existed in the Russian/Soviet airspace ATC/crew relationship compared to what you and most of the rest of the world is accustomed to. In the old Soviet days ATC was supreme authority over all air traffic, the pilots HAD to follow their instructions, the only exception being an emergency. In this respect, ATC did have the authority to prohibit an approach or any other maneuvre, or close an airport if they wished to do so. While in modern Russia this has changed to western norms as far as civilian traffic is concerned, the mentality still lingers, especially in areas unaccustomed to international traffic, and is still valid for military airspace.

I'd need to check which one it was, in one of the official Russian statements it is explicitely said that the Russian AF IL76 that tried to land at the airfield before 101 was orderd to divert because the weather was below minimums. As 101 was classified as a civilian flight, ATC could only make a suggestion as to what action to take, but final decision rested with the pilot. This clearly speaks of double military/civilian standards.

I'm sure on aspect of the investigation will be to take a good hard look at the options and authority available to ATC, and the extent to which the controller have exercised them.

GfaRm
13th Apr 2010, 21:48
"I don't understand your point with gun.."

Is it possible that the heat from the post crash fire made the guns to shoot? Those guns belonged to the security officers present on board of the doomed plane.

grizzled
13th Apr 2010, 22:36
Those sounds aren't necesarily from "gunshots" or even ammunition going off -- though they could be. There are many other things that can and do explode in the immediate aftermath of an accident, including oxygen canisters and/or other small pressurised containers.

lomapaseo
14th Apr 2010, 02:37
Those sounds aren't necesarily from "gunshots" or even ammunition going off -- though they could be. There are many other things that can and do explode in the immediate aftermath of an accident, including oxygen canisters and/or other small pressurised containers.

Good point:ok: Likely tie-in is a gun firing into a canister to make sure it doesn't go off when being handled. Somewhere I have a picture of one of these canisters with a convenient hole in it. They stick out among all the debris because they typically keep their shape

Gloom_PL
14th Apr 2010, 07:38
I'm wondering how many fuel they should have on board..



The report says they were on "there and back" fuel load, so probably at this point no less than 3.5hrs. So probably not less than 20tons.

Adam

Yeah
14th Apr 2010, 08:15
Iteresting analize

???-??????? Picasa - ?????? ?????? - ?????????????... (http://picasaweb.google.ru/Amlmtr/MWzNeJ#5459881356386012002)

robdean
14th Apr 2010, 08:45
That picasa montage conjures up a vivid impression (though it seems to be composed over a much older sat image than the one posted earlier). The tree in overlay number 6 (an image which has been posted individually already) looks like it would have closed all betting, however slim the odds already. The subsequent tree in overlay number 9 is a very chilling image indeed...

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 09:08
In my earlier post http://www.pprune.org/5627132-post208.html
I mentioned the possible death trap:

4. When in doubt about PAR directions to pull up and about the altitude
readings of GPS and ALT, they may have used the radar altimeter readings.
Those showing them the bottom of the valley instead of alt. above threshold.

5. When the altimeter reading started to rise quickly, it was too late.


In the first pictures of this analysis (1. and 2.) you can clearly see the valley
I am referring to.

This "death trap" has been mentioned before by the Russian pilots current to this airfield.

Madbob
14th Apr 2010, 10:33
What the picasa pictures also show is the lack of any real approach lighting......

The equivalent at UK military airfields with a published precision [instrument] approach would have been been centre line lighting with 5 bars extending out into the undershoot, mounted on poles, if required by the terrain. Plus VASIs/PAPIs and high intensity runway edge lighting.

At civillian airfields there is a similar set up often augumented by touchdown zone lighting, runway centre line lighting and high intensity strobe lighting. At Alconbury I remember approaching in poor viz with a "running rabbit" strobe which stood out very clearly in the murk.

Does anyone know what the airfield actually had available and also importantly, was it switched on or had ATC deliberately turned it off so as to "force" the ac to divert?

MB

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 10:34
The third black box - registering vibrations of the engine - will be examined in Poland because it was invented by Polish engineers. - Third recorder, which was sent for examination to Poland, monitors and records, in addition to the standard FDR, the vibration on the engine bearings and suspension.

This monitoring and recording system was developed for, and installed on the
notorious Soloviev engines by the Polish engineers after the accidents
of the Il-62, using the same engines as tu-154.

The system was supposed to detect and register any abnormalities in the
turbine parameters to prevent and avoid the uncontained engine failures, for which
the engines were notorious.

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 10:45
According to a pilot, familiar with this airfield, the only lights available
were, as he called them, three "spot lights" aiming at the incoming a/c
positioned at the threshold.

If they were on or off, nobody can tell at the moment.

As of, "turning them off to prevent the landing", it is hardly possible.

In the recent interviews the authorities of the airfield confirmed,
that they feel responsible for the accident, not taking the decision to close
the airfield. (Yes, in Russia they can do it.)

They argument, that they were afraid to cause a diplomatic scandal,
after letting the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to land on April 7th,
and then preventing the President, Lech Kaczyński, known for his
critical attitude against Russia, from landing 3 days later.

I think the chain of factors leading to this accident is long.

The "Swiss cheese" lump was quite thick this time...
Many holes lined up...

:(

criss
14th Apr 2010, 11:52
According to preliminary information from the CVR, the decision about approach was taken by the crew themselves. Direct cause of getting too low - wrong altimetry, wrong wx data or busting the minima not yet announced. It was also said that in final moments crew was aware of iminent disaster and that it was too late to recover.

A/c flipped to its back before crashing, hence the reason everyone on board perished - similar accident of Tu204 near Moscow recently claimed no fatalities.

hetfield
14th Apr 2010, 12:16
According to preliminary information from the CVR, the decision about approach was taken by the crew themselves.

That's what I've expected......:sad:

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 12:20
A/c flipped to its back before crashing,

If you look at the picture #9, the last in the series,
you can see that the a/c must have been already
in at least 60 deg left bank.

The wing then hit the ground and a/c cartwheeled.

No chance for survival, parts of the fuselage dug into soft, swampy soil.
It has been announced today, that still one body is missing
and heavy excavating equipment will be used to dig out
the missing parts and probably the body.

Regarding little or no fire, the engines, as the heaviest,
must have been thrown far forward by the cartwheeling fuselage,
away from wings full of fuel.
Also most of the fuel might have been already spilled after the wings
hit the trees 1 km before final impact.

Just my guess.

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 12:22
According to preliminary information from the CVR, the decision about approach was taken by the crew themselves.

The pressure might not have been of direct nature...

:(

Squealing Pig
14th Apr 2010, 12:28
If you look at the picture #9, the last in the series,
you can see that the a/c must have been already
in at least 60 deg left bank.


Tree is on the wrong side of the road for that, more like 120 degrees AOB (inverted)

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 12:35
Colonel Zbigniew Rzepa, the military prosecutor, who will take part in the study of the causes of the disaster:

- In a standard Tupolev there are five record boxes. Some boxes, which usually do not survive, are "for operational use", while the two are so constructed to survive the most difficult moments in time of disaster. The third one - which was unexpectedly preserved - the mechanics used to ensure that the aircraft was well maintained for flight, or immediately after the flight, to move the data to the hard drive of a computer - then the information will appear immediately, if the aircraft is serviceable or not. There is green, or red light and then you need to check what is wrong, what is the deviation from the norm, which parameter is exceeded, and what you need to do to fix it.

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 12:37
Tree is on the wrong side of the road for that, more like 120 degrees AOB (inverted)
I don't think so.
100 ton aircraft cannot bank so fast, 120 deg in 2 sec.

robdean
14th Apr 2010, 13:31
Ptkay,

Not a contestable point in a conventional flight regime, but with extensive damage to lift and control surfaces, mechanical moments from tree strikes and likely asymmetric thrust after eating that much wood?

Tagron
14th Apr 2010, 13:32
Andrasz (#532) makes an interesting observation about the mismatch between the changing Russian rules and those likely to have applied to the Polish government flight. It scarcely bears repeating that if either the old Russian rules or the current western civilian concept of approach ban had applied the accident could not have happened because the approach could not have been flown. Provided of course the rules were adhered to.

But this does not really explain why the accident happened. The crew should have been able to conduct a PAR to limits and either land if suitable visual reference were obtained, or if not then go around. Conducted properly it would remain a safe operation, rules notwithstanding.

And if they were absolutely determined to land regardless by busting limits, surely the best chance of success would be obtained by scrupulously following the PAR down to DH/MDA then maintaining heading and descent rate towards the threshold.

It is clear this did not happen. The location of the wreckage and controllers statements indicated the flight went well below the PAR glideslope and did not react to warnings and corrections. I find it hard to believe the crew would see any advantage from deliberately going so low so far from the runway and below the PAR DH, while hugely increasing the risk profile. What would be a likely DH - 300ft QFE perhaps? (We used to operate to 200ft in the UK many years ago. I imagine no-one on this forum can give us likely Russian data?)

I am not convinced that altimetry is the real issue. The PAR controller passes glideslope deviation advice and instruction derived from his own radar returns, rather than raw altitude. This is unlike SRA where the information passed is distance to touch down and an advisory altitude check for that point.

Ptkays point #539 about the terrain at Smolensk is worth noting and especially the Russian description of the death trap. But pilots are surely aware of the possibility of radio altimeter fluctuations on final approach at many airfields due to undulating terrain. It should be irrelevant to the conduct of the PAR, just as with ILS .

I have made the assumption that the approach was PAR because that is what the Russian statements appear to be saying and it would have been the most logical procedure in the circumstances . We need to know why the approach went wrong. Could they have been flying some alternative non-standard procedure (GPS ?) using PAR only for monitoring ?

andrasz
14th Apr 2010, 13:44
Tagron,

I'm sure there will be a lot of soul searching on all sides once the investigation is concluded. By now we seem to know reasonably well what happened, but as Ptkey put it some posts earlier, when it comes to the why, the swiss cheese seems to have gone rotten to the point of hardly having any cheese left...

There appears to be a massive (and possibly deliberate) confusion as to what rules exactly applied to the flight, what authority did ground control have to issue binding instuctions to the pilot, all shaded with the very evident pressure on both the crew and the ground controllers to complete this flight. When it comes to establishing direct cause, the question of why did the aircraft get 60m below the glideslope pales in comparison to why was this approach commenced in the first place.

ill communication
14th Apr 2010, 13:54
Perhaps, this was a poorly flown PAR approach. I would feel safe in saying that the PAR approach is not flown/practiced as often as the ILS. The PAR approach is more demanding and requires precision (thus the name). If the pilot had become used to having the AP capturing the localizer and GS on the majority of ILS approaches, it may be safe to say that his hand-flying precision skills may have suffered.

The controller also plays a vital role in the PAR. One small slip-up from the controller can be quite dangerous, where as if you were on the localizer you would be able to see that the controller was flying you through the course.

Finally, if the pilot was doing a PAR, did he know the PAR minimums? Sounds straight-forward....but it is shocking how many pilots don't know what or how to find the DA on a particular PAR. You can get spoiled flying from ILS to ILS around the world and when something new is added everything can go to hell in a handbasket real quick.

I am no expert, so please be respectful with opinions/comments. I just feel it may be useful to look at the obvious.

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 14:05
Ptkays point #539 about the terrain at Smolensk is worth noting and especially the Russian description of the death trap. ...

Could they have been flying some alternative non-standard procedure (GPS ?) using PAR only for monitoring ?

I still think, this is worth something, because it certainly was an
"alternative non-standard procedure".

The contact with the ATC was broken, if the terrain profile shown in some
animations is correct, then, at the NDB antenna point, where they first hit
of the small birch tree, they were in the shade of the road on the top of the hill
and invisible to the PAR radar.

Maybe this "alternative non-standard procedure" was just scud running
according to GPS and radio altimeter, with wrong terrain data in the GPS,
wrong, or non existing maps and rising terrain: it is a "death trap".

Been there done it before, but with a small single engine prop, and the
approach lights were full Calvert. To follow the "undulating terrain"
and finding the runway was not an issue by that speed.

The opinion of the Russian pilot, was by a fighter pilot, who described
such "alternative non-standard procedure" going well in an agile a/c,
but certainly not in Tu-154.

I was just quoting opinions from some Russian speaking forums.
I take no responsibility for correctness.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
14th Apr 2010, 14:15
<<What would be a likely DH - 300ft QFE perhaps? (We used to operate to 200ft in the UK many years ago. >>

In the UK PAR talkdowns usually continue to 1/2 nm from touchdown - just over 150 ft height - but can go to touchdown when required. I suspect that if most pilots saw nothing at 1/2 nm they would pull-up pretty smartly.

The question of descending out of cover behind high ground is interesting. It happened long time ago with an aircraft inbound to Northolt when it descended below the PAR glidepath. The resulting "emergency" climb prevented a major accident. Radio communication should be OK until some while after the a/c dropped out of radar cover at that short range.

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 14:15
You can get spoiled flying from ILS to ILS around the world and when something new is added everything can go to hell in a handbasket real quick.

This was basically the conclusion of the CASA accident report, regarding pilots.

Also the controller was blamed in that report for poor performance.

In case of this accident, the cooperation between controller and pilots
must have been severely disturbed by lack of common training,
understanding of procedures, and probably cultural barrier...

Ptkay
14th Apr 2010, 14:24
It is a product of the Polish company ATM:

Flight Recorders - ATM Avionics Division (http://www.atmavio.pl/uk/html/4aa_atm_qr4.html)

After being partly destroyed it had to go back to the manufacturer
to recover the data, hence returned to Poland.

dvv
14th Apr 2010, 15:05
Tagron, there seems to be very little data published for this military airfield, but to illustrate, here's an excerpt from the Russian AIP about PAR minima for Vnukovo (UUWW, one of the proposed alternates for the flight):

The control shall be commenced from
the moment of detection of the aircraft position blip on
PAR display in the vicinity of final turn and terminated at
500 m before RWY beginning.

NB: UUWW uses 3 glideslope, while 240' is more traditional for Russian airfields.

criss
14th Apr 2010, 15:45
To all debating PAR - first of all we don't know if it was used (and most probably not).

lomapaseo
14th Apr 2010, 16:01
Regarding little or no fire, the engines, as the heaviest,
must have been thrown far forward by the cartwheeling fuselage,
away from wings full of fuel.
Also most of the fuel might have been already spilled after the wings
hit the trees 1 km before final impact.

Just my guess.

You don't need running engines to ignite a fire in a crash impact. There are lots of sparks from just metal friction.

Key element is fuel atomization.

Wet ground reduces the chance of a fire but does not eliminate it.

Ground Brick
14th Apr 2010, 16:37
I'm not aviation expert, but it looks that some 'well known facts' do not fitt to strict logical path.

1. Pictures in Picasa album have coordinates ???-??????? Picasa - ?????? ?????? - ?????????????... (http://picasaweb.google.ru/Amlmtr/MWzNeJ)#
2. First birch tree top was cut approx at 2.5 km distance from runway.
3. Tower operator states, that he noticed deviation from glide slope when a/c was at 1.5 km distance from runway.
4. Is that logical ? At 2.5 km. plane had to be about 130 metres high on 3 deg. glide slope. What is expected descent rate - 5 m/s ? It translates to 26 sec. to descend and forces me to expect that warning must have been issued at least 10-15 sec. earlier.
Also to cover distance 2.5-1.5 km= 1km with 300 km/h approuch speed there is another 11 sec required.

So, it it was PAR approuch, tower response came 20 sec to late, if my math is more less right.
How to explain that ?
What, if the pilots calculated the risk but their risk equation included timely warning ?
Not PAR approuch ? But tower issued warning to abort landing - they had some data available.
Very strange.

yaw_damper
14th Apr 2010, 18:26
Gorbaciov 1 min ago said that they tried three times?!?

Pugilistic Animus
14th Apr 2010, 18:34
http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/editor/separator.gifSounds similar [thinking wise] to that Avianca 707 Crash on Long Island in the early 90's "Get-Home-Itis"

eagleflyer
14th Apr 2010, 19:22
I remember the Avianca ran out of gas.

Alice025
14th Apr 2010, 19:34
I'm an outsider, for a short time here only, sorry. Simply interested whaat foreign pilots think of it, as compared with our pilot's forum. I'm Russian, and no relation to aviation, but naturally interested, why the Poles broke on our land. As we were a host country.
This is the link to the local blog with the discussion. Many maps of? something. that you find here important. I'll translate you the conclusion on wghich the discussion stopped at a Russian forum, if you wish. That is, until new data, of boxes, becomes available.

-154 - 55 - AVIAFORUM.RU (http://aviaforum.ru/showthread.php?t=26710&page=55)

hetfield
14th Apr 2010, 19:58
Sorry, in the meanwhile I lost track about number of approaches.

Was it the first attempt to land?

Thx

Elberoth
14th Apr 2010, 20:12
Here is the crew total flight time in hours by 36 splt www:

- (captain) kpt. pil. Arkadiusz PROTASIUK - total time: 3528h (on Tu-154M - 2937h)
- (first officer) mjr pil. Robert GRZYWNA - total time: 1939h (on Tu-154M - 506h)
- (navigator) por. pil. Artur ZIĘTEK - total time: 1069h (on Tu-154M - 59h, as navigator)
- (flight engineer) chor. Andrzej MICHALAK - total time 330h

Elberoth
14th Apr 2010, 20:14
hetfield (http://www.pprune.org/members/137227-hetfield) - there was only one.

major256
14th Apr 2010, 21:10
Yes, there was only one, failed approach

wizele
14th Apr 2010, 21:29
Here's the link to what appears to be the interview with the aerodrome controller on duty that day:

-154 : LIFE | NEWS (http://www.lifenews.ru/news/20288)
Sorry, it's in Russian. The controller (Pavel Plusnin) speaks about language barrier problems etcc.. If someone thinks it could be interesting I could translate it.

vovachan
14th Apr 2010, 21:36
http://pics.vesti.ru/p/o_417598.jpg?1440592238

this pic led to some speculation that they mistook the big parking lot and taxiway in front of the runway for the runway itself.

RafalR66
14th Apr 2010, 22:00
I am following this thread with great interest. Seems you guys dig down to the bare facts and are getting closer to the core cause of the crash.

It has been made public this afternoon that the records from the crew cabin revealed the pilots knew they were are going to crash about 3-5 secs before the impact, with assumption of a speed of 150-180 m/sec.

This would make a distance of max 900 mts (my calculation) before the impact and could possible be more less when they did hit the first tree (?).

Being no pilot, I would assume realising only 3-5 sec before impact is scary late and would indicate the pilot was convinced their heading was OK almost till impact.

Rafal

Alice025
14th Apr 2010, 23:06
An opinion of a Russian pilot. (translated)
"The reason may be in the lay-out of the terrain. TU was on course 267-268, to the left from the axis by only 50-55m at the distance of a 1,000 m from the butt-end of the stripe. Had tangage +1...+2. Which means was rising. Where does it follow from? From the trees cut. One, the birch, was cut h=12...13m H=238m (above the sea level), the second, by the road, was cut h=5...6m at height H=249m. The distance btw them 270,, that is little enough for the crew to have time to make any sharp maneuvres. The crew simply didn't know or lost out of attention that the stripe is practically (if to move from the E) located at an elevation, and had lowered much lower than the glissade. The butt-end of the stripe H=253m. This is all on the base of GE and it lies by height not more than 1%, and this is in the worst cases.
At the distance over 1,000m from the stripe they have, possibly, sat down even lower, due to even lesser height above the sea-level of the Eastern slope. "

flown-it
14th Apr 2010, 23:43
Anyone know if the -154 avionics update included GPS? If so then would not an LNAV/VNAV approach been safer? Mind you since the CIS is not WGS-84 that may have put them in the weeds anyway!
As to QFE/ QNH... when in Rome etc springs to mind. Fly meters and QFE.

PaleBlueDot
15th Apr 2010, 02:14
It easier to see situation on this map. I have added distance from the tree that was first to be hit, and then elevation, in meters. First point (first tree) is at elevation 237m. Final breakdown was at elevation 257m. Second road and the runaway are at 253m. Trees at the second road, although on the higher terrain, were cut much higher than the first tree. If we add elevation difference, it means that they, despite first hit, were still climbing. They gained in absolute height some 20 - 30 meters. It is independent proof that the motors were still operational. It was very, very near thing. One second earlier, and they would be OK.

Map with distances and elevations.jpg (http://jump.fm/GJGYW)

RatherBeFlying
15th Apr 2010, 02:19
Had tangage +1...+2. Which means was rising. Tangage is the French word for pitch.

I do not know the pitch attitude the TU-154 would use on approach, but a bit of nose up is common on jets on approach.

Of course the evidence of the trees shows a slight climb from the initial impact. The crew may have been making a modest altitude correction and may not have been aware of the initial contact(s).

At the reported 150-180 m/sec, there would have been >= 1.5 second between the two trees.

While these initial impacts may not have incurred major structural damage, hydraulic, electrical and pneumatic runs may have suffered damage at these points that compromised further flight.

PaleBlueDot
15th Apr 2010, 04:08
A bit more precise data and calculation. I have used Goggle Earth distance and elevation information. Goggle data errors should not be significant because I am using only the difference of that data for nearby points. Reference points were established according to Picasa composite and other available pictures. We are comparing what Picasa composite has called point 1 and point 7. In point 1, if we assume reasonable height for that fence (1.2 m), then the height of that tree is now 4.2 meters. According to Goggle, terrain elevation at that point is 238m. So, the first tree cutting point is at 238+4=242m elevation. Dirt road in picture 7 is at elevation 250m. If the man in red 1.8m tall, then all trees in that picture were cut at 7.2m height above the level of the road. Which means that trees were cut at 250+7=257m. That means that in, approximately, 295m of horizontal distance we have increase in elevation of 257-242=15m, or 5% climb.

kingofbongo
15th Apr 2010, 06:46
These 150-180 m/s approach speeds seem to be too high
150 m/s is 540 km/h

x213a
15th Apr 2010, 07:08
HEATHROW DIRECTOR:

What sort of radar returns could controllers expect in such atmospherics?
What freq/band is used?

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 07:46
Google translator, slightly polished up, from the Russsian forum:

Rarely speak at the forum, but then grieved. So many put forward the most featured version, a shot from the satellite for me personally, put things in order.
I do not know if there is Instrument landing system, or just a drive, and maybe the crew once used to call a satellite navigation - it does not matter. The plane was on the glide path, PF controlled flight to about CDF.
At CDF captain began to look for land. I'm not talking about the reasons behind it, I'm talking about elementary incompetence. And no doubt the skills of captain makes him a small plaque in general, and on the Tu-154 - obviously, grossly inadequate.

To master the piloting of such a complex aircraft as the Tu-154, is required considerable flight time. I came to the Tu-154 at the age of 35 years, with a total 9000 hours of flight time on the three types of aircraft, each of them I flew as the captain, and still the first year was very, very difficult. I flew as the second pilot, 1500 hours, and only then became the commander of the aircraft. And all the older pilots in one voice telling me: fear, fear of the first thousand hours of command in the new type! If it will appear to you, that you are familiar with this aircraft throughout - do not believe it!
Later I saw many times the truth of those warnings and then I also warned the young. And this applies to any new pilots for the aircraft type.

The flight killed a pilot was about 3500 hours (according to his father - 1930 hours), one part of it flown on the Yak-40, part (if you believe the media) as a FO (!) Tu-154, and then somehow became the commander, and (if, again, to believe the media) as PIC on the Tu he had only 200 hours. And this half-educated (albeit talented) was entrusted to carry the president! And the military pilot somewhere to gain experience in the most complex operations in the flying ship, on imperfect systems similar to the one installed in Smolensk? And in general - the experience of flight in adverse weather conditions?
And where is the experience gathered over the years, hundreds of complex approaches to different airports. Where and when he gathered them?
As a result, he made a self-confident, school, simple error: He was searching the ground below the decision height. And found it.

How to help the captain? This aircraft can not fly alone. Data for the crew, too, suggest the doubt. Navigator (if you believe the media) was produced from the school mechanic.
Weather conditions were just deadly: I would, in all my experience, do not dare to go for landing in the fog 400, but he went there blind and stupid.
Ground control had nothing to do with it. The head ATC crew gave advance information about the bad weather, gave advice on caring for an alrternate. He controlled the decline and warned of the flight below the glide path. But flying is done by the pilot!

Do not believe the words: "the pilot of the first class," the best among the best, "chief pilot of the president."

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
15th Apr 2010, 07:55
x213a..... Modern ATC radars in the western world are rarely effected by weather which, in simple terms, is "filtered out" by the electronics.

ATC surveillance radars often operate around 23cms. Shorter range airfield radars maybe around 10cms. However, I have no knowledge of the radar equipment employed in Russia.

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 08:13
From the trees cut. One, the birch, was cut h=12...13m H=238m (above the sea level), the second, by the road, was cut h=5...6m at height H=249m. ... The threshold was H=253m.

So, as I expected and mentioned above, they were flying almost
below the runway elevation and well below the radar.

:eek:

RetiredF4
15th Apr 2010, 08:26
Being below rwy-elevation could also count for some comm-problems (line of sight?).

Another question: The airfield looks like a unused junkyard with no operational aircraft. For an active military airfield there should be more trucks, more cars and more logistic visible.

Could it be, that it was just only opened for the very purpose of bringing the polish delegation to smolensk without having to use a public airfield?

And how would this inflict safety- hazards concerning equipment like Radar, radios, approach-lighting?

franzl

ARRAKIS
15th Apr 2010, 09:32
AFAIK, the unit was disbannded and there are normally around 60 people there. When 3 days before the crash the Russian and Polish PMs came to Smolensk, ATC and some landing systems were brought in.

Arrakis

Gloom_PL
15th Apr 2010, 09:36
Facts from official webpage of 36 SPLT:
3528 hrs total
2937 on type

As mentioned before, PLFs are flying mostly around the country, both in service and in training. So I believe any 100 hrs would mean similar (if not greater) number of landings. Some of them (airports) are not equipped with to-date equipment (CASA case, anyone?). In fact, only the civilian airports are equipped with ILS (plus EPSY airport, which is in fact now non controlled, I believe, staffed only for training and when required). So, I believe with plenty of landings (thousands) and - even considering the probability - at least some of them in poor conditions, their experience cannot be evaluated as "inadequate". I believe what happened is much more a difference between civilian and military pilots when considering acceptable risk, plus pressure, leading to pilots error (approach below minimas). Lack of information about strip and/or approach might be contributing factor as well, of course, if it turns out to be true.

captplaystation
15th Apr 2010, 09:48
If that is the case, one could wonder perhaps, when the radar was last calibrated/checked ?

If this was indeed a PAR & not a 2NDB procedure the hairs on the back of my neck are getting tingly.

JamesT73J
15th Apr 2010, 10:07
If that is the case, one could wonder perhaps, when the radar was last calibrated/checked ?

If this was indeed a PAR & not a 2NDB procedure the hairs on the back of my neck are getting tingly.

The experience of the preceeding, successful approaches would be interesting; if the approach was in any way hairy or innaccurate due to instrumentation or human deficiency I'm sure the press would have dug that up by now.

RetiredF4
15th Apr 2010, 11:05
To open up a closed airfield within 3 days and bringing it up to a minimum amount of safety status, which would qualify it for any kind of instrument approach in weather conditions other than special VFR seems to be out of question.

Its definitely out of the western world, and i cant imagine it would be suitable to any military or civil operation except in war.

So whowever authorized such operation will and should be in deep trouble.

franzl

WojtekSz
15th Apr 2010, 11:31
@gloom


Facts from official webpage of 36 SPLT:
3528 hrs total
2937 on typecan we trust these numbers?
the ac had only some 5000hours itself for all the time it was in Poland, it was flown for long time by other crews, so how the pilot could have accumulated 2000hrs on type?
i am sincerely sorry for the crew but it seems like a cover-up operation by some s****d military who has allowed relatively not prepared pilot to fly this ac on this very specific flight.

deep sympathy to all who perished

GobonaStick
15th Apr 2010, 11:36
so how the pilot could have accumulated 2000hrs on type?



Perhaps he was flying a different 154...?

Yeah
15th Apr 2010, 11:46
36SPLT has two planes of this type.
Arek was an instructor on this type. They were flying not olny with VIPs. Many of moments they were spending on training flights (f.e. approaches in EPGD or frequently flying in EPDE or other airports) so, Wojtek, please don't speculate..:ugh:

Tonden
15th Apr 2010, 12:14
As the media speculate about some "special navigation equipment" installed in Smolensk before the landing of Putin's plane on April 7 (and immediately removed thereafter) there is also a remark concerning the approach type flown on April 7 and probably 3 days later as well (Google translation):

"RMF FM [Polish radio station]adds that according to the Polish pilots and aviation experts, even if some additional equipment during Putin's arrival was there, our pilots did not know about it. Bartosz Stroiński Colonel - Commander Tupolev, which on April 7 to Prime Minister Tusk flew Smolensk - in a conversation with a reporter RMF FM Krzysztof rule said that the crew approached the landing, using standard equipment of the local military airport. Stroiński acknowledges that it is quite poor - RMF FM reported.

The most difficult at the airport in bad conditions may be the lack of precision approach. Instrumentation must be suitable airport to be able to perform precision approach - explains. He adds, the airport is equipped with two radio beacons - closer and further leads. According to them, shall be the approach for landing."

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 13:01
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)

This numbers would confirm the relatively high number of landings,
and the comment and points made by Gloom_PL might be valid.

liider
15th Apr 2010, 13:05
Here is the interview with the President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko regarding the event (in Russian):

http://ctv.by/news/video/~videofile__m19=10356 (http://ctv.by/news/video/%7Evideofile__m19=10356)

I translated some parts of it:
"We helped thousands of Poles to visit the place of the tragedy. You know, after the crash, they were afraid to land in Smolensk, so we offered to land in Vitebsk to everyone, free of charge, provided transport for everyone, did everything we should for our neighbour. Regarding the tragedy happened: everything is clear to me , I'll give you some information for you to understand - the President is the first person on board of such flight, so when some not standard situation happens, the Captain runs to the President and informs him directly :"Mr. President, we have such a situation. What shall we do?". The President asks : "Can you land the plane or not?". "No, we can't". But the last word is always the President's word, he makes the decision, should the aircraft land in the airport or not. Pilots, of course, have the right to disobey the President. Lech Kachinsky was once in such a situation with the other 4 presidents on board, when their plane landed in Azerbaijan instead of Georgia. He wanted to fire the pilots, but the Minister of Defence protected them. Of course, it's not possible in my country. If I make the decision, pilots obey. I'm sure, the same was in Smolensk. The pilot came and explained the situation to the President. The President made a decision to land. But, this Smolensk airport, I also landed there, doesn't have any modern systems that give a possibility to land the plane "blindly". In this case, the Presiden't shouldn't have made such a decision. So, that's clear, who is responsible for the crash - you are Number One on board, you are responsible for it. And we, Presidents, must remember about it, remember about hundred people behind. So you can't blame the pilots, that they made this decision, that's not true. Hundred percent. And this tragedy for me and people like me is a serious lesson."

S76Heavy
15th Apr 2010, 13:47
Don't forget that clown is the last dictator in Europe..this text shows how much he understands about the responsibilities of the Flight Deck. And is probably an example of the rest of his decision making.

I wonder if this is the beginning of a diplomatic fallout between Poland and Belarus..

ST27
15th Apr 2010, 13:49
Interesting USA Today article on the aircraft's avionics. It states that it was equipped with a TAWS, which should have warned the pilot about ground proximity, and helped him avoid the trap of rising ground on the approach..

Device spurs questions in Polish crash - USATODAY.com (http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2010-04-13-fog-plane-crash-poland_N.htm)

A few quotes of interest:

If the safety device was working properly, it would be the first such crash of an aircraft equipped with the system since its introduction in the late 1990s. "I really would like to know what was going on in that flight deck because no matter what kind of pressure other pilots have been under or what kind of weather they encountered, no pilot has ignored a TAWS warning. What is so different about this plane that it would break that chain?" Cox said.
Bill Voss, president of the non-profit Flight Safety Foundation, said that the crash may highlight a weakness in the TAWS. Maps of the U.S. and other developed nations are highly accurate, but gaps exist in the maps for countries such as Russia and in the developing world, Voss said.

ST27
15th Apr 2010, 14:15
And another article describing the final events:

Black box reveals pilots of Polish president's jet knew they were doomed and made a 'dramatic' flight deck speech | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1266199/Black-box-reveals-pilots-Polish-presidents-jet-knew-doomed-dramatic-flight-deck-speech.html)

An "anonymous source" said:

Having ignored warnings not to land due to severe fog, the black box shows he belatedly aborted his fatal attempt to land after realising the Russian-made jet was not properly aligned with the runway at a military airport near Smolensk.He used the engines to gain altitude but in the process the plane lurched to the right, and the wing hit the tree tops.
'At this moment the head pilot made a fatal mistake. He switched on the thrust, rocking the plane to the right. The reason for this is unknown but he aimed to go higher and to turn simultaneously. As a result, his plane clipped the tops of the trees and he lost control. If he had only switched on the engine thrust to go straight up, he would have had all chances to avoid hitting the ground.'


And another comment:

One theory yesterday was that the crew were not familiar with a key peculiarity of the Tupolev-154. As the plane came into land it levelled from its oblique descent approach to a horizontal angle to compensate for bad visibility.

'A particularity of this aircraft is that if its speed of descent is more that six metres a second, when the plane levels out, it loses altitude,' said the source. 'That means that it loses altitude much quicker than usual.'

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 14:15
They probably got the warning, as the tree cuts measurements show, they were climbing,
but terrain was climbing faster.

It looks like few meters higher and they likely might have landed
short or off line, but with high possibility of good survival chances.

ST27
15th Apr 2010, 14:31
This shouldn't have been a surprise, since the look-ahead feature of TAWS over basic GPWS should have warned the pilot in sufficient time that he wouldn't be reacting at a point where the aircraft couldn't outclimb the rising terrain.

OFSO
15th Apr 2010, 14:34
An acquaintance of mine knew President Kachinsky. My friend said to me last Monday "......all very sad, he was a nice fellow, but the pilot would have been under great pressure to make the landing."

Draw your own conclusions from that.

Alice025
15th Apr 2010, 14:34
There were some doubts expressed in the Russian forums, re who was the commander of the plane, as from the Polish official obitary site it follows the commander was in the captain's rank, while his officer - in the major's rank.

Vasily Ershov, author of the text book on piloting TU-154, whose opinion of what happened was quoted @580 here, was more interested in the navigator skills. He wrote TU-154 landing absolutely demands team work overall, and he thinks the pilot did not get adequate support.

Which was needed, given the approach from the East, from below the airport height, the airplane was rising towards the stripe, in the terrain of 2 hills, one low river-bed, and in dense fog.

There was also an opinion expressed that when cruising around previously, the elevation on which the airport is located was not spotted, because it is no elevation, if to look at it from the West. But even ground, with one Eastern slope down, towards the river bed.

And that the pilot could see the airport, for a short while, getting out of clouds, and before diving into pre-ground fog. As he could have thought he simply sees the runway, and dived down into what seemed to him not specially bad fog. But it exactly was dense pre-ground fog, on the Eastern low side, right by the surface. And began cutting trees there, blind.

Still, how he lost a wing is unclear, all say what's a birch tree for a TU.

Having lost the wing the airplane seemingly turned over later, that's why no survivors. TU-204 "landed" in a similar "fashion", in Moscow, recently, cut all trees there were, but didn't turn over, and no casualties at all.

Alice025
15th Apr 2010, 14:57
There may be records of talking done inside the airplane. Russian Izvestia, in an article about Maria Kachinsky, the First Lady, to who here there is a lot of sympathy, clearly wrote that before the landing she went from the front of the plane, where her husband was, to the end, to chat with other ladies.
Now, how would they know?
Did she phone a friend, from on-board?

captplaystation
15th Apr 2010, 15:01
In many EGPWS systems, if the aircraft is in landing configuration in a shallow descent the warnings are inhibited, otherwise the system would be shouting at you on every approach as you closed on terrain beneath the flight path.
So in this case it probably wasn't providing much protection at all.

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 15:25
For me the possible scenario was:

1. The pilot gets the information on bad weather and informs President
about possible diversion well ahead, probably near Minsk.
2. The President and the aids, maybe also the Head of Air Force say,
"go ahead to Smoleńsk, we will see, there is sometimes a gap in the fog".
3. They continue to Smoleńsk, the pilot reports again fog and low visibility,
suggests diversion. Again, he is told to "look for a gap".
4. He circles 3 times trying to wait for a weather change or "find a gap". He reports
to the President and/or HoAF, "no gap" we have to divert. The answer is:
"Let's at least have a try, then we divert,
we will, at least, be sure we did everything we could..."
5. The doomed approach starts...

As I mentioned before, there might be nothing to hear on the CVR,
because this was a common practice (as mentioned by former President
Lech Walesa in an interview), that it was the Capitan who was
leaving the cockpit to inform the President and his aids personally about
the situation and to discuss the solutions. Sometimes they were just deciding
which alternate to use in case of diversion, such discussions were harmless
to the safety of operations.

If the CVR will confirm that anybody of the crew left the cockpit,
we can assume this was the reason. Nevertheless, the conversations
among crew members would indicate, that my scenario, as sketched above
is probable.

Unfortunately, such conversations might have taken place long enough
before the final events, so they can be easily left out from the final
publication of the CVR transcripts, as promised today by the Chief Prosecutor,
from the Polish Military Accident Investigation Commission.

liider
15th Apr 2010, 15:35
From Russian forums:

"I listened to the CVR tape today. To be more precise - the last 20 minutes.
The Polish prosecutor was right, the final is dramatic. They understood EVERYTHING during the last 5 seconds...

The most interesting is another thing. Fog... visibility... navigation... Bulls''t! According to what I heard in the last 20 minutes, they would have landed in Smolensk even if there was a herd of cows or the Saint Mary herself on the runway!

No one from the cabin told anything to them (at least, it is not on the tape). Seems, they understood themselves, how important that was. And twice asked "Are we in time?..."

They were in a big hurry. Never discussed the possibility to divert. It was their first approach, visual."

:(

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 15:37
Did she phone a friend, from on-board?

We don't know, if she called, but it is confirmed, that the President
called his brother on the satellite phone to say
"Everything is OK, we are landing in 15 minutes".

Also, as reported by a personal doctor to the family, Mr. Kaczyński also
called him from the a/c to get information about the state of his
mother's health. She is since weeks in hospital in very a serious condition.

So it s quite possible, that also she called somebody, or Mr. Kaczyński
told his brother, that she is not in the cabin with him, just before the landing.

This could be the explanation, why the body of the President was recognized so fast,
and the recognition of the body of the First Lady took 3 days and
needed indications about her jewellery and nail paint colour.

The front part of the a/c was in, relatively, good shape, compared to the rear.

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 15:42
The most interesting is another thing. Fog... visibility... navigation... Bulls''t! According to what I heard in the last 20 minutes, they would have landed in Smolensk even if there was a herd of cows or the Saint Mary herself on the runway!


So maybe it would have been interesting to hear the other 20 minutes before,
or even the briefing conversations with the Presidential aids...

:ugh:

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 15:46
They were in a big hurry. Never discussed the possibility to divert. It was their first approach, visual."


So to all of you, who were asking, what kind of approach it was,
here is the answer: VISUAL

With 400 m visibility...

"Failure is not an option".

grizzled
15th Apr 2010, 16:03
PJ...

re your comments about how certain systems may get installed and certified in (what I will call) "other than Western" jurisdictions. I have very recently been involved (after the fact) in two different accidents -- both in Asia -- where installed and certified GPS and EGPWS databases were erroneous in terms of terrain heights and locations. One case involved enroute MSAs that had completely omitted (maybe still have?) a mountain that extends over 2000' above an MSA (!) on an approved route. The other case involves towers and trees missing from an approach database for a (non-precision) IFR runway. Interestingly, in that case the runway endpoint is also erroneously offset (tangentially) almost 400 meters in the database, on certified software and certified equipment.

I am not at all saying this is the case here (Smolensk), I am simply commenting on the fact that civil aviation standards and regulatory oversight in some parts of the world are very different than what many from "the West" are used to. Indeed, in some parts of the world -- regardless of what the charts, databases and AIPs may indicate -- one must use extreme caution (more than "normal caution") when operating at or near minimums of any sort.

grizz

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 16:21
Grizzeld,

finally some new and extremely valid point.

I was involved in developing a non certified database for
non certified GPS/FMS system for Poland.

I can assure you, that what we achieved as amateurs was way
above the database provided by the certified Garmin units.

The other problem is, that in case of some ex soviet military airbases
the data were biased on purpose. If somebody was not aware of it
and didn't take care to, at least, compare them with the satellite images,
then the result could have been disastrous.

Once having aboard a modern FMS and using it in most cases, one
develops a treacherous, blind confidence in it and stops thinking...

Being used to fly according to your nice "glass-cockpit" screens, you sometimes
forget to look out through the windscreen...

dvv
15th Apr 2010, 16:47
grizzled,

what civil aviation? The Polish Tu-154M was a military aircraft at a military airfield. And the airfield wasn't even in the Russian AIP.

grizzled
15th Apr 2010, 17:00
Hi dvv...

I take your point -- which is why I specifically wrote I was not saying that software or database inaccuracties did, or did not, play a part in this accident,

Having said that, virtually all of the world's militaries use civilian manufactured and certified (on-board) navigation equipment. Military transport aircraft -- especially those that carry VIP's -- spend most of their time in civilian airspace, under civil ATC, and operating into and out of civil airports. We don't yet know what nav systems / equipment this particular aircraft was using, but I'll bet you a case of beer that the databases and software were civilian manufactured and (hopefully) certified.

grizz

ARRAKIS
15th Apr 2010, 17:14
From Russian forums:

"I listened to the CVR tape today. To be more precise - the last 20 minutes.
The Polish prosecutor was right, the final is dramatic. They understood EVERYTHING during the last 5 seconds...

Could you give a link?

Arrakis

BerlinPax
15th Apr 2010, 17:26
@ ARRAKIS

Here you go:

???????? ?????? - ?????????-????????? (http://ax5.livejournal.com/18629.html#cutid1)

btw - the poster didn't mean "VISUAL" as VFR approach, rather he wanted to say that they were looking out (as he explains further down the thread)

He also indicates that the CVR transcript is going to be published quite soon.

My first post here - rather interesting.

TwoOneFour
15th Apr 2010, 17:46
One theory yesterday was that the crew were not familiar with a key peculiarity of the Tupolev-154.

What an idiotic suggestion. The captain had 3000 hours on the thing. I'll be amazed if that Mail story has an ounce of research or truth in it, not least because it seems to contradict the most basic, known information.

safetypee
15th Apr 2010, 17:59
Grizzled, you indicate in #613 that the aircraft may have had civil equipment and thus complied with ICAO standards. Would that apply to EGPWS?

Im in line for that case of beer!

ARRAKIS
15th Apr 2010, 18:06
What an idiotic suggestion. The captain had 3000 hours on the thing. I'll be amazed if that Mail story has an ounce of research or truth in it, not least because it seems to contradict the most basic, known information.

It's probably meaningless, but the aircraft was modified and came back from Samara in December 2009. They were flying the new configuration for a few months.

Arrakis

grizzled
15th Apr 2010, 18:25
safetypee...

One of the important bits of info that so many of us are interested in (and so far has not been made clear, at least not on this thread or in press releases that I've seen) relates to the age and nature of the aircraft's equipment. What types and generation of nav equipment were onboard? What level, if any, of "glass cockpit" did this particular aircraft have? Was the other TU-154 (of the same squadron) similarly equippped? The work that was done in modifying or updating the aircraft last December is therefore just one of the many things that will be of interest. Until we get some of those answers we won't know who owes some beer to whom.

In any event, I'll use almost any excuse to justify a trip to the UK -- even if I end up having to buy the beer... :)

grizz

BerlinPax
15th Apr 2010, 18:29
Russian Interstate Committee has given an update on the investigation

(http://www.mak.ru/russian/russian.html)

(Russian only)

It confirmed only one approach.

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 18:48
Here you go, the cockpit.

http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/middle/9/3/2/1475239.jpg

Hi res:

Photos: Tupolev Tu-154M Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Poland---Air/Tupolev-Tu-154M/1475239/L/&sid=788f9cbe58bd902c7578c36a8b749938)

AFAIK it is the Honeywell FMS, including all the bells an whistles.

RatherBeFlying
15th Apr 2010, 18:55
I listened to the CVR tape today. To be more precise - the last 20 minutes.
The Polish prosecutor was right, the final is dramatic. They understood EVERYTHING during the last 5 seconds...Question for TU-154M pilots -- how long do the engines need to come up to full thrust from approach settings if you find yourself a bit low?

Alice025
15th Apr 2010, 18:56
Ptkay, yes, Izvestia wrote that Polish Health Minister was in Moscow and recognised Maria Kachinsky by her ring, with the ingraving inside, wedding ring.
Awful disaster.

I also read that reference to that last 20 minutes recorded, and cleaned out of noise and extra sounds, as I understood. The man who posted flat refused to say in whose office he was let to listen to the recording. From questions trying to extract out of him more, I understood there is no command or interferance of the Polish President into the crew work recorded. But that from discussions of the crew btw themselves it follows they only said to the ground that "we will try once and if doesn't work will go away to the reserve airport" but in fact didn't plan to, at all. They not so much "tried" but were simply landing whatever it will be.

My unscientific idea is all were way too polite, in comms, airport-airplane.
To the prev. Russian plane the airport said go away and they went away, llike, ground says airplane does, they trusted each other. Now, when the controller was interviewed, it's not for nothing they were asking him why didn't you, like, shout them a big No and many times over again. Did they swear at you, or what, why didn't you, like, shouted at them, repeatedly - stop it!
And it appears that nobody knows if a military airplane landing at a civil-military airport, has to do unequivocally what the ground tells him, type Aye Aye Sir. For the controller it was a foreign military plane, and moreover "Bort Nomer Odin" - Board No 1 (carrying Head of a State). I think if it were an own plane, going across the controller, confirming they got it, that landing impossible, and still saying "we will try once" - the ground controller will find some words, very expressive, to re-convince.
But that's just my general feeling, I am no aviator.

Pilots in the blog discuss could the controller deny them the airport, somehow, entirely, under IATA? some article, and arrived to the conclusion that couldn't have been, none of the 3 reasons there (plane position not allowing landing, too short distance between landing planes, technical defects of the runway).

Zakrylok
15th Apr 2010, 19:18
Here is the blog entry from the guy who allegedly listened to the last 20 minutes of the recording ???????? ?????? - ?????????-????????? (http://ax5.livejournal.com/18629.html)
For non-Russian speakers
(1) the alleged context of this leak was a visit from the author of the blog to his friend, a high ranking government official
(2) not much info is given apart from that the last 5 seconds are dramatic, communication with military ATC is in Russian, no apparent misunderstanding. No outsiders in the cockpit. Pilots were under stress to make it to Smolensk on time, arrival time to destination features several time in conversations.
(3) recording has a lot of noise and is not very intelligible, however the transcript was already available, with approvals by both Russian and Polish side.
(4) in the final stage of the flight it appears that pilots were trying to make visual contact with the ground. it does not state if approach was visual or PAR. in fact the author of the blog professes to know nothing about aviation.
(5) it mentions that the Russian side was ready to release the transcript of recording but Polish side insists on waiting a bit longer (until after the funeral?)

Could be fake but somehow does not feel like it watching the rest of the blog. The guy owns Aston Martin, why does he need cheap attention?

Ptkay
15th Apr 2010, 19:46
Grizzeld

again, the CASA accident similarities are stunning...

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

- The PIC did not have any previous experience on this version of CASA C-295 aircraft, which was additionally equipped with 2 IRS/GPS LN-100G units instead of 2 TOPSTAR 100-2 GPS receivers, and, ironically, with EGPWS Mk. V unfortunately lack of cryptographic modules in GPS receivers, which made IRS/GPS LN-100G system almost useless (IRS alone with no GPS enhancement) caused flight crew to use handheld GPS receivers (Garmin GPSMAP 196),

I do not suggest such gigantic errors were possible in the Tu-154, but sometimes
the Polish army lack some really negligible amounts of cash to buy software
and database updates to the most sophisticated systems installed, that cost millions...

EGPWS Audio warning was inhibited (the flight crew missed EGPWS test before departure from Warsaw, even though it was a checklist item, and never corrected the problem the PIC was not familiar with the system he has never flown before CASA C-295M equipped with EGPWS) in result no audio warning of excessive bank angle, high terrain closure rate and high sink rate was available to the flight crew, as well as no automatic height above ground callouts were given,

Again, I do not suggest such gigantic errors were possible in the Tu-154.
But the similarities of these two accidents are stunning.

kingofbongo
15th Apr 2010, 20:28
Some interesting graphics from a Russian forum:

a/c orientation throughout the crash: (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?p=6896426#p6896426)

possible landing gear marks: (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?p=6896567#p6896567)

tree cliping elevations graph: (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?p=6896752#p6896752)

GobonaStick
15th Apr 2010, 20:35
A press photo today seems to confirm that the stray piece I mentioned earlier is the wing-tip.

wizele
15th Apr 2010, 21:36
Translation (excerpt) of the interview between a Russian journalist and the controller Pavel Pliusnin (sorry for the graphic layout, but html was not cooperating with word settings..):

Controller- They were suggested to fly to an emergency airport. They refused.
Journalist- It was you who suggested them?
C- Yes
J- For what reason?
C- Because I saw that the weather was getting worse..
J- And what was the answer?
C- The answer was: "I have enough fuel, I'll do one passage and I'll fly to the emergency airport, if I don't land.
J-We received the information, that the pilot was suggested to land in other cities.
C-I suggested him this too.
J-And why did he refuse to do so?
C-He would have had to ask about that.
J-(...)And what were your further actions?
C- (...) . I can't tell you more.
J-(and then) what did they say?
C-For any kind of instruction I gave, at the beginning they gave me information, then they stopped giving any kind of information. ..

J-They stopped listening to your instructions?
C-They had to give a kvitanzia (receipt), but they didn't.
J-What kind of kvitanzia (receipt)??
C-Data about the height on attempt to land.
J-They even didn't give you information about the height of the airplane?
C-Yes, they didn't.
(...) J-And why didn't they give you this 'kvitanzia' (receipt)??
C-How the heck can I know? Because they spoke a bad Russian.
J-And then he went ahead with that landing, that you forbade him??
C-I cannot forbid, I recommended him, that he didn't try it!
-------------

On the Russian aviation forum people are insisting on the fact that the controller had to close the aerodrom (which would have been a very difficult decision to take, considering diplomatic issues involved!!). I guess the (btw - military) controller probably asked a superior on what to do...

PaleBlueDot
15th Apr 2010, 21:54
They probably got the warning, as the tree cuts measurements show, they were climbing, but terrain was climbing faster.

Not that it matters very much for them, but maybe it is good to know: In spite of all their errors, in the end they managed to rise faster than the terrain. From the height of 4 meters above ground, in this picture,

http://b0.imgsrc.ru/p/para-moto1/5/17502895PZS.jpg

and being at least 9 meters below the runaway, they finally managed to rise some 20 meters above constantly rising ground and as much above level of the runaway, and almost exactly on the course. They were out of the valley and above the top of the hill but, unfortunately, still below the top of the trees near the road. And they would probably make it, if only those trees were not there. So, the lesson is: Airports with "death valley" in front of them should consider clearing the trees on the runaway axis, even if they are 800m far away and partially below the runaway level.

From Russian forums:
"I listened to the CVR tape today. To be more precise - the last 20 minutes.
The Polish prosecutor was right, the final is dramatic. They understood EVERYTHING during the last 5 seconds...

I cannot even remotely imagine how it would feel. They were first going down at the downward slope of the valley (it's not wide or deep, and they definitely were in it), then climbing up the rising side, constantly looking at the grass several meters in front of the cockpit - but never actually falling down. Four or five seconds, small eternity. And then through upper branches of the trees, successfully over the top of the hill and finally in full sight of the nearby runaway, but without parts of the wing "dramatic" may not be the right word.

piotro
15th Apr 2010, 21:54
Just as a confirmation of few facts, short interview (in polish) with another pilot who has flown this plane few days earlier landing at the same airport (Smolensk). Trzy dni wcze?niej l?dowa? na tym samym lotnisku - Wideo - portal TVN24.pl - 15.04.2010 (http://www.tvn24.pl/2328160,12690,0,1,1,trzy-dni-wczesniej-ladowal-na-tym-samym-lotnisku,wideo.html) He says, that plane was fitted with EGPWS, mentiones that approach to Smolensk is based on two NDBs (he doesn't mention PAR/SAR, but on other hand it is not an in depth interview). Also says that it is very easy to switch avionics on board between metric and imperial units and that in the past they never had problems using correct ones.

grizzled
15th Apr 2010, 22:15
ptkay

Thanks for that pic.
I couldnt tell (by going to the site) whether the photo is:
A. The accident aircraft, or its squadron partner, and
B. Before or after the December upgrades.

Does ayone have that info?

Uncle_Jay
15th Apr 2010, 22:17
3 Holer History - I recall the 727 had a sink rate problem many years ago and had to carry power through the approach thereafter

Machaca
15th Apr 2010, 22:51
USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2010-04-13-fog-plane-crash-poland_N.htm?POE=TRVISVA):

The Russian-built Tupolev TU-154 had been equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) made by Universal Avionics Systems of Tucson, said company spokesman John Hamby.

dvv
15th Apr 2010, 22:59
grizzled,

ok, case of beer it is. So tell me what's the Russian cert no. for that database? Or at least what is the Russian process of certifying GPSbased navigation databases?

Alice025
15th Apr 2010, 23:00
in the very beg. of the discussion on the Russian avia blogs someone wrote that already after the plane engines fixing and internal ? panels lining (for more modern looks inside) in December in Samara factory, the Polish TU was additionally equipped in Poland with something good and American for navigation. Sorry for "something good" it is my ineterpretation :o) I simply didn't understand the abbreviations.

Anyway here is a link to reconstruction of how a piece of a wing flew off away (possibly) after hanging on a bit, after meeting with the birch tree.
The green line is the correct glissade, leading to the runway, the red line is the one the plane was following, and after the hit with 2 trees it swayed leftward somehow.

? ????????? ???? ??????? &bull; ?????????? ????? (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48375&start=2920)

Machaca
15th Apr 2010, 23:15
Official investigation site (http://www.mak.ru/russian/investigations/2010/tu-154m_101.html):

(Google translation)

It was established that the site of the first contact with the plane trees, is located on 1050 meters distance from the end of the runway (the area near the drive) and to the left of the track for about 40-45 meters. After 200 m the aircraft collided with a tree left wing, resulting in a sharp krenenie aircraft with the coup left. Most of the fragments of the aircraft is at a distance of 350-500 meters from the end of the runway, the left lane at 150 m.

Skokic
15th Apr 2010, 23:25
I read you for a few days, and you are very good source of informations about this tragedy.
I am not expert, but i like planes.
In this accident I am interested in technical details.
And a few pages before i noticed that someone wrote that speed was 150m/s (540 km/h). If this information is true(??), that is little strange.
As I know about landing and approach speed that is way to big speed for approach. I think that on that speed thay couldnt deploy landing geer at all.
So could someone who know this things better than me, explain why speed was so big, and did thay could land at that speed at all (if thay pass those trees safe...)?

Hope that my question does not disturb your discussion. :)

Skokic

Machaca
15th Apr 2010, 23:35
Alice025: Thanks for the link to this image:

http://i337.photobucket.com/albums/n385/motidog/101-c211a.jpg



Here is the severed portion of the left wing:

http://i337.photobucket.com/albums/n385/motidog/101-196ab6.jpg

grizzled
16th Apr 2010, 00:01
hey dvv...
don't you mean "Polish"?

grizz

Alice025
16th Apr 2010, 00:13
Quotes (from Smolensk forum)
First the board passes Far Beacon with Marker (DPRM), this is the beg. of going into landing, at that in the pilot cabin there works a sound signal, the height is controlled by height meter, then follows the stage of lowering to 60m (The Height of Decision Taking), this height the vessel should have above the Near Beacon with Marker (BPRM); when it passes it it is also confirmed by sound and light signal. In this case the crew clearly didn't hear the BPRM signal. From the Near Beacon to the butt-end of the runway are located lights of nearing with which the Kommander should establish visual contact if visibility of the runway is limited. (explaininhg to someone how it is in Smolensk airport)
- Chaps, I listened to the tape only once. The trees they haven't seen, were shouting each other some numbers. Were losing height unexpectedly and quickly.
-If to take time from when Belorussians passed them over to crash it's 36 minutes. 4 minutes flight, 3 ?swirls ? over the point this is 12 minutes and 20 minutes for one attempt to land.
-There was a connection, the crew had where and with what to say about their problems, why did they keep quiet?
- And of what they would talk, that the plane, most likely, lost a part of the wing console, is making a "barrel" at the height of 10 m? Because before that their only problem was they went on at the height of several metres. But this problem they'd have managed themselves - if they would know about it!
- Technical commission: It's established that the place of first touch with the trees is 1,050 m away from the runway butt-end (area of Near Beacon) and away left from the course by approx. 40-45m. In 200m there was a clash of the plane with a tree.
(so at the Near Beacon they were at 8 m height instead of 60)
- I think this piece of the wing could have torn away later, when the plane was already going over the road, as it cut the tree with the wing, began craning, and on the other side of the road it tore off away completely. Before the fall the plane turned over 180 degrees that is it fell tail down, there at the sputnik photo the mark on the ground is well seen, that's why of passangers no one survived, they were covered from above.
:o(

GroundProxGuy
16th Apr 2010, 00:21
Ptkay, are you sure that is a Honeywell FMS? Honeywell typically prints their name in the upper left of the bezel. Collins and Universal put their names centered on the top of the bezel. The display above the FMS is a Universal MFD-640, and it's been reported above (by USA Today) that the TAWS was a Universal TAWS, not Honeywell. I'm guessing the FMS is Universal as well.

Smolensk UUBS is not in the Universal TAWS database (not in Honeywell EGPWS either) according to their websites, so the TAWS would give nuisance alerts during every approach/landing unless those predictive functions were inhibited by pilot. If they were inhibited, all they're left with is the rad-alt based GPWS modes, and as stated earlier without ILS and in a stable descent there would be no alerts, except the routine altitude calls if enabled.

Alice025
16th Apr 2010, 00:31
Machasa, you are welcome.
This is all weird for me, I mean, unknown stuff, but I worked for DHL before, in Moscow, and have some sympathy for ? when aviators try to manage it better. To know local things Russian, for the future.
BTW someone asked there, why this airport, for so important a delegation? Vitebsk could have been used, Lukashenko's, it's 2hr drive away only. And they said, like, still, they were flying to Russia, not Belorussia, and the airport was found OK just the week before, for Putin plane, and Co, and for the Polish Premiere plane, and for the journalists, and relatives, when there was the official ceremony, last week. So apparently they took some labour to ? improve it may be. Or had checked, as min.

Machaca
16th Apr 2010, 03:30
GroundProx got it right -- it had Universal Avionics FMS + TAWS:

Close-up of panel:

http://i337.photobucket.com/albums/n385/motidog/110-TAWS-FMS.jpg



http://i337.photobucket.com/albums/n385/motidog/101-UA-TAWSFMS.jpg

Ptkay
16th Apr 2010, 05:39
Ptkay, are you sure that is a Honeywell FMS?
No, I am not, just second hand information, sorry...

Ptkay
16th Apr 2010, 05:43
So the former argument about the 120 deg cut on the tree is closed.

They did go inverted due to loosing left wing tip, then loosing the
entire left wing.

Absolutely no chance for survival for anyone on board.

Ptkay
16th Apr 2010, 05:46
"Do przyjacił Moskali".

To our Russian chaps here on the forum

Many thanks for your input, professional and bringing lots of valid information.

Большое спасибо дорогие друзья!

andrasz
16th Apr 2010, 07:44
They did go inverted due to loosing left wing tip, then loosing the entire left wing.

A technical question to anybody in the know. Would a TU5 or any similar sized a/c (727, 737) remain controlable at landing speed on right aileron and rudder after losing a left wingtip and aileron? Obviously irrelevant here, as the crew had no time to experiment, just curious.

Ground Brick
16th Apr 2010, 08:52
Yesterday i had read on on some rusian forum about Kyrgystan (?) TU-154 incident. A/C lost about 2 m. of wing during takeoff. They managed to takeoff, go around and land.
Looking at thorn wing part picture it looks - there was about 4-5 m. of wing missing, maybe a bit to much.

graziano
16th Apr 2010, 09:13
Yesterday i had read on on some rusian forum about Kyrgystan (?) TU-154 incident. A/C lost about 2 m. of wing during takeoff. They managed to takeoff, go around and land. Looking at thorn wing part picture it looks - there was about 4-5 m. of wing missing, maybe a bit to much.
well I dont know the story , but I can immagine there may be other significant differences between these partial wing loss as fe forces involved during impact (a/c wing vs tree - some rotating torque) and some structural damage resulting in the loss of part of the wing /partial loss of the lift force (only) in the other case - easier and more important - leaving longer time for reaction / control

Korn
16th Apr 2010, 09:26
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4060/4525547970_c4fd341140.jpg

Alice025
16th Apr 2010, 10:36
Sorry can't find it somehow, there was a large photo and comment that the airport should cut all trees in approach. As they nearly made it, managed to get sharply up, out of the ? that hole pre-road, made it over the road, but hit the trees again the other road side. That's of course, after this tragedy, absolutely.
Still, if you look at the reconstruction aerial maps, of the Smolensk chap who stubbornly works on them (it's easier for him, he is local. can take a drive, look up, after all), they were 15 metres above the road, not 2.5 m above the ground, as they started it, the lowest point, in the hole. May be not the trees on the other road side were the problem for them at that point, but that they were already half turned over, above the road.

The forum over there concluded that if not that turn over they would have made it, they gained their height, got out of the hole.
And at least would have landed on the trees the other road side heavy, but not with so many casualties.
And that even that they were not on the glissade but slightly leftward -their route, factually taken - the red line - was still bringing them right onto the runway, not bad course, they would do the runway.

Somehow they figured the route that brings them to the runway, whatever fog or navigation problems - they were directed, or managed to be directed - they were going straight steady line to the runway, and to make it along it.

It's that turn over spin that they got into somehow, two problems to manage in too short time. The height gaining and the rotating.

Car on the road evidence said when the plane was over them something was falling from it, like powdering, small bits.

Re the loss of the part of the wing and was the plane pilot-able after, the other forum says pilot-able, but which "alerons" got stuck after the piece of the wing loss - none, the left one, or both the left one and the right one? This only commission knows. If it does.

With both "alerons" stuck they think that? no-go. With one - a pilot says - yes, but there is a method, you go straight up, and don't ? turn the wheel? change direction? something re TU piloting specific, in this situation (like the other TU in the other example did and got out).

Alice025
16th Apr 2010, 10:51
And the main thing - no body yet said how they got into this ? cascade of heroic saving deeds , in the first place.

8 m from the ground, then 2.5 m from the ground. Without knowing it!
Smolesnk men say it's a miracle that there hasn't been more casualties.

There are garages, and lots of small work-shops, lots of stuctures there. That they went at their 2.5 between them miraculously, and didn't fall on neither of them, is also something.

And being left from the course also played its deadly ? toll. Along the glissade - there are bushes. No trees.

It is plain scary to think what they undertook to get out of where they got to. But how on Earth they got so low, initially, not aware of it entirely!

DJ77
16th Apr 2010, 11:17
The more you look at the incoming data, the more it appears to be an altimetry error.

Passing abeam the inbound locator at an altitude of 238 m AMSL as shown in the above picture where the correct altitude on a 3 degrees slope should be 327 m corresponds almost exactly to a 10 mb error in altimeter setting, for example setting 990 instead of 980.

Beside, it is possible that the crew was prepared to bust the approach minimum a little given their new equipment but it is unbelievable that looking for the runway by terrain following in dense fog was planned.

ST27
16th Apr 2010, 11:44
Would a TU5 or any similar sized a/c (727, 737) remain controlable at landing speed on right aileron and rudder after losing a left wingtip and aileron?

The Tupolev is equipped with leading edge slats, so what happened to them would be critical in assessing its ability to keep flying.. Assuming the aircraft was flying close to stall speed with the slats extended, the slats are an essential part of lift on the wing. If, as a result of a collision with an object, the slats retracted on one side, were torn off, or were significantly damaged, the stall speed on that wing could rise by perhaps 10 or 15 knots. Thus, if the aircraft was flying close to stall speed, and if the damage was only to one side, the aircraft would immediately roll toward that wing, and the pilot would not be able to correct with the ailerons. Loss of a section of the wing would only add to the problem.

Ground Brick
16th Apr 2010, 11:48
Here is more about Kirgiz TU-154 part of the wing loss:
AMC releases KC-135 accident investigation results (http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123035834)

...The KC-135 was struck by a host nation TU-154 that was taking off. The TU-154's right wing struck the fairing of the KC-135's No. 1 engine. The force of the impact nearly severed the No. 1 engine from KC-135 and destroyed a portion of the aircraft's left wing. The TU-154 lost approximately six feet of its right wingtip, but was able to get airborne and return to the airport for an emergency landing with no additional damage to the aircraft.

Korn
16th Apr 2010, 12:28
Sk?adaj? Tupolewa ze szcz?tkw. Zobacz unikatowe zdj?cia - Polska - Informacje - portal TVN24.pl - 16.04.2010 (http://www.tvn24.pl/12690,1652391,0,1,skladaja-tupolewa-ze-szczatkow-zobacz-unikatowe-zdjecia,wiadomosc.html)

Korn
16th Apr 2010, 13:29
Its especialy painfull if You read post 580 from Vasily Ershov, author of the text book on piloting TU-154:

"To master the piloting of such a complex aircraft as the Tu-154, is required considerable flight time. I came to the Tu-154 at the age of 35 years, with a total 9000 hours of flight time on the three types of aircraft, each of them I flew as the captain, and still the first year was very, very difficult. I flew as the second pilot, 1500 hours, and only then became the commander of the aircraft. And all the older pilots in one voice telling me: fear, fear of the first thousand hours of command in the new type! If it will appear to you, that you are familiar with this aircraft throughout - do not believe it!
Later I saw many times the truth of those warnings and then I also warned the young. And this applies to any new pilots for the aircraft type.

The flight killed a pilot was about 3500 hours (according to his father - 1930 hours), one part of it flown on the Yak-40, part (if you believe the media) as a FO (!) Tu-154, and then somehow became the commander, and (if, again, to believe the media) as PIC on the Tu he had only 200 hours. And this half-educated (albeit talented) was entrusted to carry the president! And the military pilot somewhere to gain experience in the most complex operations in the flying ship, on imperfect systems similar to the one installed in Smolensk? And in general - the experience of flight in adverse weather conditions?
And where is the experience gathered over the years, hundreds of complex approaches to different airports. Where and when he gathered them?
As a result, he made a self-confident, school, simple error: He was searching the ground below the decision height. And found it.

How to help the captain? This aircraft can not fly alone. Data for the crew, too, suggest the doubt. Navigator (if you believe the media) was produced from the school mechanic.
Weather conditions were just deadly: I would, in all my experience, do not dare to go for landing in the fog 400, but he went there blind and stupid.
Ground control had nothing to do with it. The head ATC crew gave advance information about the bad weather, gave advice on caring for an alrternate. He controlled the decline and warned of the flight below the glide path. But flying is done by the pilot!

Do not believe the words: "the pilot of the first class," the best among the best, "chief pilot of the president." !!!

Alice025
16th Apr 2010, 14:45
Korn, don't be angry with Ershov. Rough? hard opinion, not diplomatically put, true. But then TU fliers respect him, somehow, his book as I understood on the forum, who quote various pages, examples, is ? one big case study, on all that ever happened to this aicraft. Like, encyclopaedia, of Tu-154 life.
The Russian forum was originally and throughout against pilots blaming. They don't like it :o), from comraderie, when pilots are blamed. Too often here it is written off to "human mistake" when there is fuel lack simply, or some bosses directions.
When he checked in and wrote pilots' fault there was like some stunned silence :o), on the forum, it froze still for a while. They asked "can we quote you on that" and he wrote "yes, quote me" "you'll see, later".

And still they cheered up and whatever he said continued with options, and searching for the reason. Because this is not the "book chapter" yet.

Anyway it's been written that the Polish Prosecutor General will make public today the whole content of one black box. Russia wanted yesterday but apparently the Polish side wanted to delay a bit, until after the funeral. But then decided that today, and the full content of it, but "with-helding some private talks not related to fllight for privacy reasons".
If the yesterday's info leak of the recording is correct, there is nothing to delay the publication of the transcript, no need to wait until after the funeral, there was no pressure on the pilots recorded.

Korn
16th Apr 2010, 14:54
I am not angry with Ershow, i am angry with ...

PJ2
16th Apr 2010, 15:12
Alice025;
The Russian forum was originally and throughout against pilots blaming. They don't like it :o), from comraderie, when pilots are blamed. Too often here it is written off to "human mistake" when there is fuel lack simply, or some bosses directions.
When he checked in and wrote pilots' fault there was like some stunned silence :o), on the forum, it froze still for a while. They asked "can we quote you on that" and he wrote "yes, quote me" "you'll see, later".

And still they cheered up and whatever he said continued with options, and searching for the reason. Because this is not the "book chapter" yet.
Yes, it is natural for pilots to resist being blamed. Sometimes that is the correct thing to do, sometimes it is not. It may be correct because if just the pilots are blamed but there are other causes, those causes will remain undiscovered and another accident may occur.

If it is only the pilots then that is it. The important task in the investigation is discovering which thing it is - was it the pilots only, or are there other causes? If there are other causes, why were they permitted to occur?

My question is, why would experienced pilots try to land at an airport with such low visibility but which did not seem to have any vertical approach guidance for the aircraft? Why was the aircraft so low so early on the approach?

Normally, a pilot who knew that visibility was very poor would not begin to descend for an approach when he could not see beyond 400m without some form of vertical guidance such as an ILS or a GPS or a PAR (Precision Approach Radar - a ground-controller-guided approach) which would accurately place the aircraft safely above the terrain until the runway was reached.

That is the big question that must somehow be answered. Whether the voice recorder or the data recorders answer this question or creates more questions will be known soon we hope.

PJ2

SDFlyer
16th Apr 2010, 15:39
Eloquently and succinctly put PJ2, that is indeed the question. It is very difficult to accept the notion that a pilot would conduct such an approach in the absence of external pressures, direct or indirect. Sadly we may never know the pilot's true motives with any confidence.

One thing is clear IMO: it is profoundly irresponsible for a politician or other public figure to threaten or criticize a pilot for exercising professional judgement in conducting a safe operation, as the Polish PM did in 2008. It is also extremely foolish, as his family and friends perhaps now understand when they are honest with themselves. Not to mention the family and friends of the other dead. I daresay a very bitter lesson has been learned about the need to comply with procedures - pretty sad.

Such public figures should be roundly condemned in the interests of public safety. I would like to know how much harsh criticism the Polish PM received from his compatriots over his earlier statements, that undoubtedly set the tone for subsequent missions involving himself. Does anyone know?

In Poland at the moment it seems that it's a case of de mortuis nil nisi bonum. Perhaps this will change when emotions ebb and reason prevails.

yaw_damper
16th Apr 2010, 16:04
andrasz
A technical question to anybody in the know. Would a TU5 or any similar sized a/c (727, 737) remain controlable at landing speed on right aileron and rudder after losing a left wingtip and aileron? Obviously irrelevant here, as the crew had no time to experiment, just curious.

TU54 has a HYDRAULIC CONTROL on three autonomous systems:
The movements of control column are going to 3 RA-51 some automated devices outputting only the right quantity of movement to 3 RP-60 moving effectively the control surface. Missing an aileron means all 3 hyd. sys. are opened.
Means NO PRESSURE ---> NO CONTROL, AT ALL!!! Not a bit, nada, zilch. The TU was doomed. Nothing near the landing of B707 in France without right wing tip and eng. no.3&4.

Ptkay
16th Apr 2010, 16:11
SDFlyer

to threaten or criticize a pilot for exercising professional judgement in conducting a safe operation, as the Polish PM did in 2008.

This was not the PM, this was the President, Lech Kaczyński,
the same one who died (and his wife and 94 others) in this very accident.

The PM, Donald Tusk, behaves in a quite different way.

Also on board were members of the President staff calling the other pilots
"cowardly", as well as MPs, who officially asked the Minister of Defence,
why the pilots do not obey the orders of the President...

Brutal irony.

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-government-tu154m-crash-post5631056.html#post5631056

Ptkay
16th Apr 2010, 16:22
Such public figures should be roundly condemned in the interests of public safety. I would like to know how much harsh criticism the Polish PM received from his compatriots over his earlier statements, that undoubtedly set the tone for subsequent missions involving himself. Does anyone know?


As mentioned several times before, the pilot, who refused to follow
the Presidents orders was put under big pressure by the President
and his aides, but was vigorously defended by the Minister of Defence
and eventually received Silver Order of Merit for bravery in peace time.

See the link to my earlier post above.

But it was the President on board of this tragic flight, not the Minister or PM.

robdean
16th Apr 2010, 17:08
Would a TU5 or any similar sized a/c (727, 737) remain controlable at landing speed on right aileron and rudder after losing a left wingtip and aileron?
Missing an aileron means all 3 hyd. sys. are opened.
Means NO PRESSURE ---> NO CONTROL, AT ALL!!!
Presumably hydraulic pressure wouldn't go to zero instantaneously even if open circuited. The intended time to landing here was of the order of seconds. Go-around would be inadvisable...

ST27's highlighting of the leading edge slats on the Tupolev is salutory: one wing with inevitable acute lift and control impairment, many metres missing and possibly stalled by the resulting turbulence/config. The other wing maybe relatively intact and in ground effect. I begin to intuit the resulting axis of rotation...

...which still begs the question of whether a heavy jet has ever mislaid an entire aileron en route. I can't believe it's impossible, given that total hydraulic failure has been survived.

Elberoth
16th Apr 2010, 17:41
Thanks for that pic.
I couldnt tell (by going to the site) whether the photo is:
A. The accident aircraft, or its squadron partner, and
B. Before or after the December upgrades.

Does ayone have that info?This info is down below the photo:

Aircraft Poland - Air Force
Tupolev Tu-154M - #101

Taken at
Newburgh - Stewart International (AFB) (SWF / KSWF)
USA - New York, September 24, 2008

Clearly, it represents the a/c BEFORE the Dec 2009 upgrade.

grizzled
16th Apr 2010, 17:56
Thanks Elberoth

I was unable to open that link so I appreciate your input on that.

So, we know the photo was taken before the modifications on the accident aircraft. So, if that photo is of the accident aircraft -- and not it's partner -- we still don't know the flightdeck configuration of the aircraft since December last year. Correct? Anyone have any specific info on the equipment fit / cockpit configuration from Polish sources?

Also I would be very interested to know the differences (if any) between the squadron's two 154s.

grizz

Bahrd
16th Apr 2010, 18:00
One thing is clear IMO: it is profoundly irresponsible for a politician or other public figure to threaten or criticize a pilot for exercising professional judgement in conducting a safe operation, as the Polish PM did in 2008. It is also extremely foolish, as his family and friends perhaps now understand when they are honest with themselves. Not to mention the family and friends of the other dead. I daresay a very bitter lesson has been learned about the need to comply with procedures - pretty sad.I dare to say that even this is is not clear. The flight to Georgia took place almost two years ago.
Since then the President flew dozens of times (likely - in different weather conditions) without incidents. Since then - I'm sure - both sides (the President and the pilots) learned from that lesson.

Ptkay
16th Apr 2010, 18:10
I'm sure - both sides (the President and the pilots) learned from that lesson.

I don't think so.

The PIC on the accident flight was the FO on the flight in 2008.
He must have had a clear perception of wht was happening then,
and what kind of pressure was put after this flight on the PIC.

Elberoth
16th Apr 2010, 18:16
Also I would be very interested to know the differences (if any) between the squadron's two 154s.

The second (remaining) one is beeing upgraded right now in Russia.

grizzled
16th Apr 2010, 18:36
Elberoth

Thanks so much for your input.

So, this means that for the past 3 or 4 months the two aircraft had different equipment and configurations. Do we have any info on how many hours the crew (particularly the Captain) had on the accident aircraft since it's upgrade? And how many hours on the other aircraft since the upgrade (which, as I understand it, would equate to total time since then, as he would have been flying only those two aircraft).

grizz

ARRAKIS
16th Apr 2010, 18:47
101 made around 140 flight hours after the upgrade. The second machine is being upgraded now.

Arrakis

MartinS
16th Apr 2010, 18:52
To me, the only real question is "why were they so low?".
Form the recent Polish media reports, these pilots were known to be very "by the book" types. The idea that they were trying to duck under the fog to find the airport is absolutely unacceptable, especially that they were fairly familiar with the airport and its topography - they must have known about the valley before the runway threshold.
However, the early indications are that they were in a rush. This leaves room for mistakes, especially when using a language foreign to them for communication, perhaps they thought they were given QFE while actually it was QNH? Perhaps they misunderstood one of the digits and their mistake was not caught by the controller? The controller claims they were not fluent in Russian, especially numbers, their superiors claim the opposite. Perhaps in a rushed situation there was a misunderstanding. I am no expert here, but could someone post a likely descent profile if the wrong setting was used? Would it be at all similar to what we have seen so far reconstructed? How much of a difference is there in the QNH-QFE settings at Smolensk?

grizzled
16th Apr 2010, 19:00
MartinS

If you search this thread (using QFE and/or QNH as search terms) you'll find the answers to your questions.
Well... not the answer to "why?" of course. Hopefully the answer to that omni-important question will be answered by MAK's investigation.

On_Finals
16th Apr 2010, 19:11
Question for TU-154M pilots -- how long do the engines need to come up to full thrust from approach settings if you find yourself a bit low?According to the AOM - 5 seconds.
According to a friend who spent 20 years as a flight engineer on the Tu5 - pretty much the same, but give a second or two depending on engine state and hours

yaw_damper
16th Apr 2010, 19:43
From 40%~12 sec. from 70% 8sec.

Bahrd
16th Apr 2010, 19:52
Ptkay - my opinion was based on the recent interviews with Lt. Grzegorz Pietruczuk (the "Georgia PIC") and Col. Grzegorz Kułakowski from 36 SPLT.
They both didn't consider "the VIP pressure" as a possible cause.
Let's wait for the official report then.

andrasz
16th Apr 2010, 19:59
I recall 8 seconds from flight idle to T/O thrust, but those were B-2s with different engines.

To me, the only real question is "why were they so low?"

To me that's just a minor detail in the full picture. The real questions still remain to be answered:
- Why was this approach commenced at all with all numbers firmly below legal minima?
- Why was the airport not formally closed, when clearly the criteria for continued safe operations were not met? (a stark contrast to the mass hysteria over Europe at present :ugh:)
Plenty of speculation on both, but still no official word...

ARRAKIS
16th Apr 2010, 20:18
I think that the answer to your questions will be pressure. On both sides. Little chance someone will admit it officially.

Arrakis

robdean
16th Apr 2010, 20:42
It's needn't be brute pressure to keep the facility 'open', it could be simple diplomacy. If you have a foreign head of state overhead, on a sensitive official trip, aboard his national equivalent of 'Air Force One' (very likely a vehicle with some formal 'ambassadorial'/'embassorial' status in the circumstances), it's quite natural to gently but firmly suggest that His Excellencies' pilot accept a cordial recommendation to divert. In the event, the transaction seems to have been along the lines that 'You are warmly esteemed guests, and whilst we urge you to avoid a mindbogglingly hazardous approach, we are disinclined to cause offence by parking tanks on the runway lest you be nuts enough to continue.'

DJ77
16th Apr 2010, 20:53
From MartinS:

How much of a difference is there in the QNH-QFE settings at Smolensk?


Based on the picture in a previous post (#650), I understand that the threshold altitude is 254 m. If correct, the difference QNH - QFE is about 30 mb.

Based on this same picture, when passing abeam the inbound NDB where it struck the first obstacle, the a/c was about 85 m below the normal flight path. This can be due to a 10 mb difference in the altimeter setting relative to the real pressure.

I share the view that the real question is "why where they so low" but so far I can't believe it was intentional.

criss
16th Apr 2010, 20:54
Why was the airport not formally closed, when clearly the criteria for continued safe operations were not met?

My aerodrome is CAT with min 350m/100ft. We never closed, even with RVR 100ft. It's a decision of CPT - there's a reason why he's called pilot in command.

PaleBlueDot
16th Apr 2010, 22:13
Sorry can't find it somehow, there was a large photo and comment that the airport should cut all trees in approach. As they nearly made it, managed to get sharply up, out of the ? that hole pre-road, made it over the road, but hit the trees again the other road side. That's of course, after this tragedy, absolutely. Still, if you look at the reconstruction aerial maps, of the Smolensk chap who stubbornly works on them (it's easier for him, he is local. can take a drive, look up, after all), they were 15 metres above the road, not 2.5 m above the ground, as they started it, the lowest point, in the hole. May be not the trees on the other road side were the problem for them at that point, but that they were already half turned over, above the road.

The forum over there concluded that if not that turn over they would have made it, they gained their height, got out of the hole. And at least would have landed on the trees the other road side heavy, but not with so many casualties. And that even that they were not on the glissade but slightly leftward -their route, factually taken - the red line - was still bringing them right onto the runway, not bad course, they would do the runway.

I have written that post because spin was not pilot error, as was suggested, but merely the effect of collision with the trees and partial wing loss. Without the trees, they would have find themselves above the runaway and aligned with its left edge. Pilot would than have the chance to try landing, or to continue with climb which he started in the valley. Either way, they would probably still be OK, in spite of all previous errors. It is easy to see that they were in perfect horizontal position during the controlled part of the flight. Look at these pictures.

This one is new. Vertical fight profile aligned with satellite image from Smolensky forum:

Vertical Profile & Sat Image (http://forum.smolensk.ws/download/file.php?id=11654&sid=38dab088746a67c514fbf6e05cf90321)

At the first tree they were 4m above the ground. And a moment later maybe only 2-3m. That is completely impossible if you are not perfectly horizontal. And on picture 7, after the first serious tree collisions, here (http://lh6.ggpht.com/_06bGa1QkqOY/S8VlKnsqi2I/AAAAAAAADqw/Sx9JRqQnqP8/%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B52.jpg), you see that the tree cut was higher, but still horizontal. That is the tree before the first road. Pilot lost control probably moment before that, and begin to spin immediately after that. By the next road he was already inverted (picture 9).

In high-resolution satellite photo, here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalglobe-imagery/4515204703/sizes/o), we can see that the trees were not cut even exactly on the runaway axis. So, whatever errors have led to this situation, they might have had some chance even after all of them, if only the aproach was clear of high trees.

Alice025
16th Apr 2010, 22:57
I'll translate a bit, though the same was said here.

- ... using head of the policeman in the photo :o) as an object of known size, my rough estimation is the wing piece was torn off in the area of 32 "nerveure", count the length of the torn away piece yourself. The drive RP-55 is attached to that side of the aileron nearest to the wing, btw 37-38 "nerveures". Which means the drive RP-55 flew away together with the aileron and the hermeticity of all the three hydro-systems was violated. The plane became un-manageable.
- In 5 seconds a critical amount of hydro-substance through three tubes of thickness of one finger will not have time to pour out away, even at the pumps working at full capacity, and in this case this capacity was not requested as the mechanization/the wheels? were let out which means the major part of the liquid was in the tanks.
_____
I thought measurements indicated the first tree was cut at 8 m height.
Certainly saw a photo of the second tree cut, there was a measurement tape, let down off from the cut place, to the ground, and a close shot at the measure by the ground. Haven't seen such a photo, with a tape measure of the first tree, though.
_____
There are still no recordings' transcript released, in Poland, I mean. As far as it's known "around".

Alice025
16th Apr 2010, 23:15
I don't remember by now anything, but I think I read in the very beg., when the controller was interviewed, that the plane was on course fine steady and all proper height, as I understood, at 2,000 m away off. (to confirm that last known "OK" height is important, I think. requires reading all over anew :o(

And by 1,050 it was already cutting a tree (at 8?) metres height, in the area of the Near Beacon, where it should have been at 60 m height.

Someone on the other blog has calculated that it was then going down at 6.5 sec/metre and found it very ? abnormal quick.

If it helps anyone. with anything.

Also as I understood something was made known officially, on the Polish side, that the plane was measuring its height in metres.
And the lady who made it known said that on whatever it is they were using m to another ? measueremnt is re-switched easily by one button, shouldn't have been a problem if they wanted not metres but something else.
And that one of the last crew members certainly was at this very Northern Smolensk the prev. week bringing in PM Tusk.
And that he knew 100% about that? hole, preceding the road.

The other pilot, who flew with the crew member the previous week, to this Northern airport, carrying Polish PM, was interviewed and said all this.

HubertH
16th Apr 2010, 23:20
Hi.
I'm not a pilot and I'm Polish.
Trying to undarstand what happened.
I was reading this thread , trying hard to understand all proffesional words etc.
It's not easy :(
I have few questions , and I would be very thankfull if someone can try to answer
to them using simple english.
We all know that the reason of the crash was that the plane was too low on approach to landing.
Now my questions to proffesionals :
How come that pilot didn't know his alltitiude ?
Optical illusion mentioned before is probably not the case in poor visibility ?
Why control tower didn't warn the crew that they are too low ?
I'm trying not to get into the conspiracy theory , but all that happened after the crash
raises too many questions .
The plane crashed near the airport.
Normal reaction to that would be to send all resourses to the site , like fire fighters , ambulances , airport police , etc. , anyone that could help.
from footage we could see that just after the crash there was one firetruck present and nothing else .
there was no ambulance on site , they assumed tat all passengers died before they even cheked .
I'm sorry for bad english , and please try to answer .
regards

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 00:38
HubertH,
I understand what you mean. But Smolensk is just 300,000 people, I think, I am not sure they had all that, how to say, to be much of everything, in view.
To a Russian sight the ?busy-ness amount, of activity, from footage shown, as min. - looked normal.
Absolutely all wrote that fire-brigades were first to the place, you should check Smolensk city own local forums, where locals (not aviator Smolensk forum, but ordinary people) discuss. I understood fire brigades were quick, like, in minutes, and like, and I didn't get the impression it was "one truck". All forums wrote they were putting down small fires, on the ground, mostly afraid and all expected it will all flame up. In fact, what all wondered, is why there wasn't a big fire, how much the plane had fuel, at all, all asked.

But then someone in the blogs wrote that aviation ? fuel? is not that easy to ignite, when it's soaked into the ground, it's normal, that it didn't all go up in one big flame. Still, doubts stay re the amount of fuel there were at landing. Usually always fires when planes crash here, somehow, expected the first thing. And not that you can walk around the whole debris area, right at once, virtually, and nothing much flames.

Whole forums asked can TU cast off fuel before dangerous landings and all replied it theoretically can't, so where is it?
There was an idea put forward that they wouldn't like to re-fuel in Northern but would bring with fuel enough for the return way as well.

Unless the 3 circles around the airport above was their burning the fuel away. But this was also written off, because if any problems one would think they'll surely go to Vitebsk with normal that "minima" - instead.

As a summary - I didn't get the impression anything was missing on the fire-extinguishing side. The speed of arrival - or lacking means, in fact I think they were ready for far more than what they had to manage in reality.

On the ambulances - honestly don't know. I guess the fire brigade people may have reported back to the city at once that nothing is needed :o(
But don't know.

On the police - it is not an American movie, where all police buzzes, lights, makes sounds and beautifully arrives in big quantities. But I saw on Russian TV on the road to the airport police cars in a line arriving, one after another, and, like, more than a dozen at once.
No idea if that was all or if it was what was needed or lacking.

Still, Smolensk city forum would have written, between themselves, if they found something ? inadequate. It's one big local gossip, all know everybody. But then, likely, they have other understanding, what is "normal", in such an? you know. never took place there, place.

ST27
17th Apr 2010, 00:47
Trying to understand what happened.

- In the first place, be very careful about believing any rumors or news reports in newspapers or on television. The majority of the stories I have read are often wrong, or contain lots of information that just can't be true.. As an example, I have read at various times that the aircraft attempted to land anywhere from one to five times. Obviously, they can't all be correct. Some of it comes from mistranslation, some from rumors, and some from speculation. Wait until the official accident investigation makes statements before assuming any facts are truly facts.

How come that pilot didn't know his altitude ?

- That is the main question that will be answered by the accident investigation. Until then, anything else is simply someone's guess, and there isn't enough information available to make a reasonable guess..

Optical illusion mentioned before is probably not the case in poor visibility ?

- I could be, since the pilot cannot see the full terrain, and can get fooled by the shape of the cloud cover.

Why control tower didn't warn the crew that they are too low ?

- If the news stories are correct, the tower did warn the aircraft of how low they were. (My previous warning about believing news stories, notwithstanding)

from footage we could see that just after the crash there was one firetruck present and nothing else .

- If you are referring to the video where the cameraman is walking around in the wreckage, that was taken by a journalist who happened to be working very close to where the crash occurred, and got to the site before the emergency vehicles. In the full video you can hear the general alarm whistle being sounded, and the sound of the emergency vehicles as they are arriving. However, the Russians also said that the first emergency people who arrived quickly saw that there was no possibility of any survivors, and probably canceled any large request for ambulances. The police, or perhaps the military can also be heard arriving and ordering the cameraman to leave the area..

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 01:01
There was a post from Smolensk local who was fixing his car in the garage and over whose head the both planes flew, the journalists, who landed, and the President plane. He heard a strange ? bump, like shook off, like, ? explosion - and thought - How that plane landed? but thought that must be alright, because his idea of a catastrophe was a big blast and bang, and he said he simply heard a strange sound, but not ear-closing in? loudness or anything, like a ? muffed down knock, nothing loud. And continued to fix his car, he was near and didn't even understood the plane has crashed right beside him.

Of the bad things if you really want to know :o( the locals say nobody nearly had heads, disaster, all upper part of the body traumas. And that the resque team was taking a layer of soil off many, they were virtually pressed into the ground, like as if struck from above, pressed into the earth.

And when the Extraordinary Situations Ministry teams arrived - the place was simply flooded with everyone and everything, these have it all. But alas it was of no use, but at least they flooded the area, standing everywhere, guarding it by themselves. They were working the whole night, brought with big? like lamps, to make it nearly day-light. This Minsitry has own airplanes, and flying hospital, it's like an army huge organisation, these flew to Haiti recently, they have dog teams own and doctors own, and go to earthquakes, to floods areas, their airplanes have helicopters inside, and own? trucks inside the planes, these have it all.
You may have seen the chap, in a brown leather jacket, Putin was interrogating him - that's the Minister of Extraordinary Situations' management, Shoygu. I understand the fog cleared out by noon, the place became fly-able again. Just 2 hrs difference :o(

We very much sympathise with you, disaster.

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 01:24
The Ministry - when they arrived - made it quick. First report was I think by 6 pm that day, that 84 bodies are found and all records/photos/taken, they are taken away by from the site.
The rest of the time they were looking for more, un-sure about the numbers. If you remember there was a controversy initially, no body could tell how many boarded the plane. Like ex-secretary of Lech Walensa felt un-well, and didn't go that morning. And closer to the night that day the bodies were already in Moscow; on the site they continued to look for more, taking ground layers off, for someone initially said in Poland can be whole 132.

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 01:36
But then of course, one thing is the mighty Ministry, another - what the city itself has.
If there were someone to save - Shoygu would have saved. That's the only sensible ministry in Russia, all see how they work and what they are for, practically. If he ever ballotted for a president, he has good chances, and for a decade already, but he is not a politician. Becuase he arrives from the skies :o), and saves. No lack of work for that ministry in Russia, alas.

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 01:55
What's written here about journalists - it's correct.
At the forum someone said he saw a reporter, on internet, and liked it very much, how well everything is explained, and shown, around. "Why ours can't make it so simple, and understandable, where is what, and the order of events, but show some bits and pieces?" Then others went to see the link, and laughed at him.
Because the reporter was sayinhg "Here I am, just 10 minutes after the crash, and look left look right, etc." And what they spotted, he was standing by that conus? conic? pointed white cloth inflatable kind of lamp, that the Ministry brought with and installed - but it was far later!
The media.

grizzled
17th Apr 2010, 02:14
Alice025
Thank you very much for your patience in translating so much into English for us from the Russian forums.


I'm sure most of us are overwhelmed at the significance of this horrific loss of so many Polish leaders, statesmen and heroes.

PSFlyer
17th Apr 2010, 04:10
Hi Hubert:

In simple english - the answers to some of your questions are as follows:

How come that pilot didn't know his alltitiude ?

There are two types of altimeters in a cockpit. The accuracy of the pressure altimeter depends on the air pressure given to the pilot by the controller. Assuming this pressure reading is correctly given by the controller and understood and set correctly into the altimeter by the pilot, he will always know the correct altitude he is flying. ( Bar a technical malfuction of course).

The radio altimeter is independent of any pressure readings and measures height above terrain. But I am sure you already see a problem with this during this particular approach. Even though the plane may be flying level, if the configuration of the terrain underneeth changes, so does the reading on the radio altimeter.



Optical illusion mentioned before is probably not the case in poor visibility ?

I saw that someone already gave an excellent explantion for this so no need to dwell on that.

Why control tower didn't warn the crew that they are too low ?

According to most reports, the controller did warn the crew but received no response. Again we will not know if that was the case until CVR transcripts are availabe.

Regarding post crash response - sorry, can't help you there as I simply did not research that aspect of the story.

By the way, I am Polish too even though I have been " on the other side of the pond" for 20 years and it is here that I learned to fly. RIP to all our countryman and woman that lost their lives.

Ptkay
17th Apr 2010, 07:18
Alice, once again
Большое спасибо!!

Chopinist
17th Apr 2010, 09:27
I live in Warsaw in the midst of this terrible outpouring of grief. I had a PPL for many years and learned to fly on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific. This forum is extraordinarily interesting for me to read about of course as possible reasons for the accident. Excuse lack of technical commentary.

The nagging question for me is with so many beloved and irreplaceable dignitaries on board - such a precious cargo - why did the pilots attempt this risky landing in these conditions at all ? I suppose we shall never know the answer to that one for all sorts of reasons.

When I was learning to fly, on finals we used to come in over the cliffs on the island and approach the grass runaway over pine trees and a chapel - the island is covered in endemic Norfolk Island pines. There was a definite dip and significant loss of height at some point before crossing the cliff edge, which I could never predict, and I was always apprehensive of hitting the tops of the tall pines.

I was just wondering if there might have been a similar 'sinking' effect - loss of height - as he negotiated the valley and approached the slope up to the airfield? This unexpected 'sinking' as we approached land over the sea always bothered me a lot and would certainly have bothered him as it would have been so unexpected as the terrain contours were so visually vague. Could this explain his failed attempt to increase thrust and gain height - delay in spooling up? The visual illiusion aspect was an interesting comment I thought in relation to this slope. But I have never had experience of a low approach across a valley approaching a slope on the other side.

All this seems terribly irrelevant with the desperate scenes here in Warsaw as coffins are unloaded, public masses said and a grand sarcophagus carved for the president and his wife in Wawel castle in Krakow.

The sheer consequences of any sort of failure in this risky approach should have been invisaged by everyone on board (despite distrust of Russian motives) and the landing aborted - we all know this but.....Polish pilots in Spitfire Squadron 303 were fantastic but 'he who dares wins' is not always a case of positive outcomes.

HubertH
17th Apr 2010, 09:54
Hi all
thank you very much for all response and explanation
The problem is that theres more gossips and speculations around then actual facts
I was referring to that video taken by polish reporter .
I know that life is far from american movies , but I've seen a plane being escorted by
few fire trucks , ambulances and airport police , on the way from the runway in Dublin airport.
It was either training or pilot reported some difficulties , but that is airport first responce I was refering to.
Thanks again

EDLB
17th Apr 2010, 09:57
Fog muffles all sounds a great deal. For this reason the person Alice025 mentioned working on a car did not hear dramatic sounds.

@Copinist
landing speeds on jets are much higher than small single engine planes. They are not succed that fast by downdrafts compared to small planes. What I understood the TU154 was way to low (several 100 feet) on the final stage of this approach. In fog near ground level you have mostly very little air movement let alone thermals or downdraft at all. Therefore it is very unlikely that wind, windsheer, or downdraft was a factor.

Its still a myth why this approach was attempted. And since it was below minima why they did not stick to a PAR procedure to the runway.

dvv
17th Apr 2010, 10:01
PJ2, Russian ATC never do QNH clearances.

Peter_Pan_XXX
17th Apr 2010, 10:46
New facts:
Wymieniali lampy tu? po katastrofie Tu-154 - Najwa?niejsze informacje - Informacje - portal TVN24.pl - 17.04.2010 (http://www.tvn24.pl/-1,1652433,0,1,wymieniali-lampy-tuz-po-katastrofie-tu_154,wiadomosc.html)

Picture tooks by journalists few hours after accidend: uniformed Russian pulling cables and installing bulbs in approach lights.

vorra
17th Apr 2010, 11:09
http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/1021/heightt.jpg

The latest diagram with trajectory and height profile before the crash.

captplaystation
17th Apr 2010, 12:23
EDLB,

Oh no it's not a "myth" they did it all right.

But I agree, it should be a "mystery" but I think most of us can already see why it isn't even that.

"Complete the mission " :=

hetfield
17th Apr 2010, 12:32
Picture tooks by journalists few hours after accidend: uniformed Russian pulling cables and installing bulbs in approach lights.

Were they awaiting some more flights that sad day?

andrasz
17th Apr 2010, 12:51
New facts:

This had beed cleared up by Kulverstukas many posts ago. Those are not approach lights (I also mistook them for such) but floodlights for the emergency crew to be able to work through the night.

Why was the airport not formally closed, when clearly the criteria for continued safe operations were not met?

Criss

I have remarked several times on the difference between western and russian procedures. In the past ATC did have the right to close any airport if conditions were below minimum, and military ATC still has that authority. They did wave of an IL76 before 101 made the approach, because that aircraft was a russian military one, and they had full authority to refuse permission to land.

FlyFire
17th Apr 2010, 13:27
New facts:
Wymieniali lampy tu? po katastrofie Tu-154 - Najwa?niejsze informacje - Informacje - portal TVN24.pl - 17.04.2010 (http://www.tvn24.pl/-1,1652433,0,1,wymieniali-lampy-tuz-po-katastrofie-tu_154,wiadomosc.html)

Picture tooks by journalists few hours after accidend: uniformed Russian pulling cables and installing bulbs in approach lights.

Those journalists have not even bit of idea how approach lights is looks like

criss
17th Apr 2010, 13:32
But I believe this applies only to local Russian flights - refer to Armavia crash, or the Aeroflot Nord one.

Anyway, one feels it's a catch 22 from the beginning, and that's why they were doomed. Return to Warsaw would be a total embarassment for the Polish side, sending them away by Russians on such an occasion could ignite the bilateral relations. Of course, with hindsight we can say that either of these outcomes would be better, but...

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 14:17
Strictly speaking, for the airport the Polish airplane was not military.

One would think for them - "military" is the ones who fall under the ? own various military laws of the Russian Federation. Have to perform Defense Ministry rules, under their jurisdiction.
Now, as, clearly, the Polish plane is not the? within the authority of the Russia's Defense Ministry - what "military" there is, about it?

An ordinary foreign plane, arriving.
As the category "ordinary" does not exist :o), I think for the airport - in their perception, the airplane was civil aviation.

How it is about the law interpretation - nobody knows. They are avia people there, not lawers. But, logically thinking, it's not the first head of a state, arriving into Russia. To put it softly. They all come over, all of the time, and in own aircrafts, and one would bet many if not all of those are part of respective countries' Air Forces.

So, is there a special rule for that kind of travel, ww. ?
For the "Bort Nomer Odin" in Russian parlance, Board Number One - head of a state carrier. ?

Somehow all these travel worldwide, land in airports, and all of the time. Without a special law on them, or, like, how? to be interpreted.

Sure it's not ordinary to land at military airports of other countries, normally they arrive in normal airports, and as big as possible. But then military airports accepting civil flights is not exactly a rarity either. Egypt's Khurgada used to be a military one, before, and became at some point for tourists, no idea their formal status. One would think there are some small countries :o) where nothing but military airports exist at all.

Smolensk, for that matter, is the other way around. It used to have normal civil airport, Southern/Juzhny - but that one is closed up! for repairs, or I don't know what. temporarily, or forever.

Air travel became so expensive post Perestroyka, absolutely un-affordable, it's not 20 roubles anymore but 2 thousand dollars, say, European part of Russia - to beyond Urals. One way. With salaries 300-400 dollars a month we simply stopped flying until absolutely have to. Or holidays, once a year. All the rest is by train, large train network, and working well. I think Smolensk people simply don't need 2 airports anymore, on what money, to fly? There aren't "bufget airlines here", and foreign budget are not alllowed to do Domestic. I think that's why they closed up Juzhny/South. And only the Northern left, by fact.

And no, I don't think they expected anyone else, that day, only 3 planes - journalists that is TV people - from Poland - to broadcast the mass, Catholic mass? it was to be a religious, like, spiritual event. Russian TV was there from the day before, it was to be a church service broadcasted simultaneously in 2 countries.

Then the Russian military plane, IL, carrying I don't know who, honestly.
May be Medvedev decided to arrive as well, last minute.

For the meeting Russian delegation was already there, from the day before, the representative on behalf of Medvedev, to meet President Kachinsky. These ran to the crash site first, the meeting delegation, before any fire-brigades were there, I think. 5 min run through the runway. Or together with the fire brigades, because those drove and meeting delegation from the airport small building - ran.

Journalists the bulk, as I understood, were not in the airport, but in Katyn monument, by the 4 churches there, Catholic - Rus. Orthodox - Jewish sinagogue and Lithuanian sorry not sure which religion. Ready to cover the church service broadcast for their respective Katyn massacre people. There are victims in all 4 congregations there in the cemetery, and it was to be like a religious event. Peace-making with Poland, from the spiritual, religious point of view, in a way.

We are awful lucky we were able to make some peace with Poland the previous week, on the civillian, how to say, side. At least, by one half.

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 14:30
So, not planned planes, but after the catastrophe - 1/2 of Moscow got there, somehow? Shoygu never "drives", he lives in the airplane, basically.
Fog dispersed, runway not damaged, surely they flew. The poor Polish side, though, all flew to Vitebsk instead, Kachinsky's brother, and Tusc and the Polish investigation committee, and from there drove to Smolensk, but you understand them.

robdean
17th Apr 2010, 14:46
From recent comments here, it seems there are suspicions and conspiracy theories circulating in Poland based upon extrapolations from the circumstances of, and response to, this accident. This is unsurprising given the human emotions and political tensions, but absolutely unsupported by any sound rationale or evidence.

It seems uncontested that the pilots were offered a clear and sincere entreaty to divert. Given the sensitive and diplomatic nature of the mission I'm sure the Russian authorities preferred not to 'forbid' landing to the Polish President or 'insist' his pilot take a certain course of action. The evidence suggests they wanted the plane to land safely and clearly expressed that this could only be ensured by diverting. What's more, given the conditions, it surely shouldn't have taken a great deal of explanation to spell out to the pilot the inadvisability of proceeding.

Whatever the speed or nature of the subsequent crash response by Russian authorities, there seems nil likelihood that any faster or better resourced emergency response would have saved lives.

Whatever ones' overall feelings about Putin et al, it doesn't take much stropping of Occam's Razor to leave them looking very peripheral to this incident...

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 14:49
Could have been Rus. Patriarch, in that IL.
Still, Patriarch? in a Defense ministry plane? Not observed, previously, how to say.
Could be anything, simply defense ministry flight on own business. Or some Russian general, of Polish grandparents, using his eh, how to say, possibilities, to attend.

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 15:07
There was an idea expressed re the sitting plan, first compartment kind a presidential suite/part, quite empty, with all in the second compartment, that this could have played its role in the TU sinking lower down than expected, before assuming horizontal flight, by inertia, when they were correcting their flight/course. At some abstract point of the flight. Because there aren't the trascripts - still.

BOAC
17th Apr 2010, 15:08
Anyone familiar with the airfield to know what 'approach' lighting the crew might have been expecting and briefed for?

Eugr
17th Apr 2010, 15:22
Well, I'm not familiar with this airfield, but people say there was no ALS whatsoever. The only approach lights were two spotlights installed at the threshold, but it's not known if they were activated at the time of crash.

Korn
17th Apr 2010, 15:30
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4030/4527862949_13e768cfe7_o.jpg

hetfield
17th Apr 2010, 15:49
Unbelievable graphic:confused:

BOAC
17th Apr 2010, 15:49
Thanks Eugr - I had seen that but was hoping for more specific knowledge from a forum user here. I'm toying gently with the idea that they may have seen 'lights' in the dip from one of the industrial units there or even some floods up on the light a/c park - just another possibility. Also, assuming correctly set altimeters and someone looking in, they would have been seen 'below threshold' I think.

Korn - thanks for the cross-section. Quite thought provoking. Can anyone pinpoint the '2.5 mtr' tree on the aerial view of the site?

Ptkay
17th Apr 2010, 16:05
Can anyone pinpoint the '2.5 mtr' tree on the aerial view of the site?

There was no tree. It was grass...

They found gear marks in the grass on that spot, the gear is 2.5m high.

:eek:

http://i070.radikal.ru/1004/3b/d6ea2d6504e4.jpg

Korn
17th Apr 2010, 16:56
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4060/4525547970_fb7ba35f62_o.jpg

2,5m is the tree on the photo number 3, the deadly colison was with tree on photo number 6

jcjeant
17th Apr 2010, 17:01
Hi,

I readed some have ideas about cut trees ...
Mething it's useless ...
The trees are where they must be ... the aircraft was not where he must be.
The trees have no responsability with this accident
Blame anything or anyone .. but not the trees.

filotnie
17th Apr 2010, 18:41
Can anyone please provide/check the following:
Pressure value provided by controller,
Pressure received, callback by crew,
Pressure value registered on FDR,
Pressure from private/independent source from the time of accident from vicinity of airport?

kingofbongo
17th Apr 2010, 19:05
A very thorough analysis of last seconds of that flight can be found here (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://smolensk.ws/blog/168.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.pl&twu=1)

Also. It turns out the yellow buckets are indeed approach lights.

Ptkay
17th Apr 2010, 19:09
Where did you get the info on ALS from??

kingofbongo
17th Apr 2010, 19:42
from guys from Smolensk
On the blog I linked to above, they wrote:

Величину отклонения самолета от курса на ВПП можно оценить по фото, на котором срубленная самолетом березка и фонари посадочной светосигнальной системы, которые обозначают направление на полосу (зона 5 на спутниковом снимке). Фотография сделана перпендикулярно направлению движения самолета.


The magnitude of the deviation of the aircraft from the course to the runway can be assessed on the picture the birch cut by the aircraft and floodlights of the landing light system, which indicate the direction to the airstrip (zone 5 on the satellite image). The photo was taken perpendicular to the aircraft travel direction.
above these two images:
http://smolensk.ws/uploads/images/a/0/a/f/49/1a3bbad005.jpg
http://smolensk.ws/uploads/images/4/6/7/f/49/ff85ebe1bb.jpg

Ptkay
17th Apr 2010, 20:03
It's not approach lights, it's standard lights used by emergency (EMERCOM) for working in the dark.

These are the same pictures and the same comment from a Russian
blog discussed here before.

Maybe the standard EMERCOM lights (obviously portable)
have been put on the poles remaining from the former ALS,
now defunct and non-operational since years (looking on their condition),
but certainly not an ALS system available at the moment of the Tu-154 landing.

Maybe they took these portable lights to create a make-shift "ALS"
for the Ministry of Emergency Situations aircraft landing there in the
night after the accident.

The lamps are without doubt directed to the sky.

robdean
17th Apr 2010, 20:13
The blog kingofbongo links to above is absolutely superb!

Ptkay
17th Apr 2010, 20:17
Or maybe if these "three yellow buckets" are really
the "tree spot lights directed at the aircraft" mentioned
by the Polish 36th squad pilots and other Russian pilots,
as the only approach lights, then this might be THE ANSWER: WHY ??

The pilots mentioned above all confirmed the these lights were
expected (supposed) to be "at the threshold".
but from the same blog and image below they were in zone 5.

http://smolensk.ws/uploads/images/6/a/0/f/49/0d994c7d0d.jpg

This zone 5 is at least 800m before the runway threshold.

If the pilots took them for the runway lights, then
this is the answer, why they were so low.

If this would have really been the runway, than their glide-path
would have been perfect...
(do you remember the gear touch down marks almost exactly at this point?)

:sad: :eek:

TRC
17th Apr 2010, 20:20
The blog kingofbongo links to above is absolutely superb!


I agree, and painstakingly translated. He's spent some time and effort on that.

Bloody well done to him.

kingofbongo
17th Apr 2010, 20:22
I remember reading here that they were EMERCOM lights. And I believed that and sticked to this idea for a while. But so far I haven't seen a single photo with them in this role. Only those pointed upwards.

Maybe the standard EMERCOM lights (obviously portable)
have been put on the poles remaining from the former ALS,
now defunct and non-operational since years (looking on their condition),but certainly not an ALS system available at the moment of the Tu-154 landing.
So what happend to the old ones then? How different they were?
Either the plane landed to these on these pictures or...
... there were no lights (?!).

Anyway, from the blog linked above it turns out pilots did not see any lights until they crashed.

Ptkay
17th Apr 2010, 20:23
Guys, hold on, this is Google Translator link !!

kingofbongo
17th Apr 2010, 20:25
I agree, and painstakingly translated.
Surprisingly, it is a google translation ...
I was reading it first in Polish, but before posting the link here switched to English and was greatly surprised seeing how good it is.

Ptkay
17th Apr 2010, 20:27
KingOfBongo:

This is the system, the same poles, picture taken on April 10th.

Foto - portal TVN24.pl (http://www.tvn24.pl/0,2328405,0,0,1,1,,reflektory-umieszczone-na-slupach--w-wiekszej-odleglosci-od-pasa-startowego-nie-mialy-zarowek-zdjecie-z-materialow-faktow--sobota-10042010,galeriamax.html)
Clearly no bulbs iside...

The images you linked are from April 13th.

The article in the Polish media on Militia repairing the lighting system seems
to be true, and my theory, mentioned above wrong... :(

Google T?umacz (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://www.tvn24.pl/-1,1652433,0,1,wymieniali-lampy-tuz-po-katastrofie-tu_154,wiadomosc.html&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhht7XQsqLmorf-vZUYPjAQNmVrr-Q)

Whatever the system was at the time of the accident, it was mostly INOP.

More pics, Russian site.

Google Tłumacz (http://translate.google.pl/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.vitebsk.cc%2F2010%2F04%2F11%2Fpod-smolenskom-razbilsya-samolet-prezidenta-polshi-foto%2F&sl=ru&tl=en)

Ptkay
17th Apr 2010, 20:43
" Nie wyobrażam sobie, by podczas lądowania polskiego samolotu, ktre odbyło się w tak trudnych, system oświetlania nie działał "
"I can not imagine that the Polish aircraft during landing, which took place in such difficult lighting system did not work "
Bartosz Stroiński, dowdca eskadry samolotowej Pułku Lotnictwa Specjalnego
Bartosz Stroiński, plane squadron commander of the Special Aviation Regiment

kingofbongo
17th Apr 2010, 20:50
I can not imagine this either, but anyway that may be the case...

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 22:09
I was about to recommend the link to the Smolensk man reconstruction, but see all have got it already, and translated by google (in Russian it's three ? sets, 3 separate links, in time consequitive order, intermitted by quite big pictures of the whole tree-touching route). He did a lot of climbing and measuring there, on the place, checking the level of the plane wings by what it touched and what not, along the way.

That's the same man who painstakingly was making and improving his aerial map of the course, throughout (all had it here many times quoted).

I didn't notice in his text much about which and where the lights are, that is were. He wrote at once the area was boarded and he couldn't get to his tracing the route self-mission in the first? 3 ? days (can be asked).

He wrote of lights - in that text - as "starting from the near beakon and, with intervals, following up to the beginning of the runway."

Matter of factly wrote - but, I guess, he can be asked straight - are those "yellow buckets" - like, what are they? Normal there, the guiding lights, or something new.

I am not logged in in neither Smolensk city ordinary people blog, nor Smolensk city avia blog, nor the two avia blogs general, of Russia. Only reading. If somebody from here has registered in either of the Russian blogs - ask him, he seems to be the only practical treasure about. And he is in all Russian blogs related, the guy middle-aged in glasses and suit with tie, serious looking, and the nik name everywhere Aml.

PaleBlueDot
17th Apr 2010, 22:40
And look at this. There is another set of these lights, with parts of the aircraft lying nearby. They are near the main road, on the runaway axis, and they are working.

http://www.wikimapia.org/p/00/01/17/74/64_big.jpg

It is taken from the wikimapia site. Click at the small white rectangle near the road, center, left, labeled "Landing Mark".

Wikimapia, crash site (http://www.wikimapia.org/#lat=54.8251118&lon=32.0557666&z=17&l=0&m=b)

Is it really possible that they were, in the mist, mistaken for some other lights, higher up?

Alice025
17th Apr 2010, 22:52
? ????????? ???? ??????? &bull; ?????????? ????? (http://www.forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48375&start=3980)

That's the man in glasses and suit, Sergey Amelin. Page 203! of Smolensk ws (don't know what it is) but definitely local blog. Nick name everywhere Aml.

DJ77
17th Apr 2010, 22:58
PJ2:

Anyone who operates in Russia or has recent experience, can you clarify?


Sorry I cannot claim recent experience but last time I went to Russia it worked as advertised by the current AIP paragraph you published.

Any clearance below the transition altitude is an height above the runway threshold. Foreigners generally are given the QFE in millibars by ATC. It is also very often appended in the remarks section of otherwise standard METARS but sometimes only in mm Hg.

DJ.

PaleBlueDot
18th Apr 2010, 00:03
Hi,
I readed some have ideas about cut trees ...
Mething it's useless ...
The trees are where they must be ... the aircraft was not where he must be.
The trees have no responsability with this accident. Blame anything or anyone .. but not the trees.

Of course, trees were not primary cause, but they were part of the chain of events necessary for the tragedy. We must always expect unusual and emergency situations. If the airport does not have modern navigational aids, and it does have very featureless and very gradually rising, almost invisible 60m deep valley just before the runaway, then it is reasonable to expect some trouble in non-standard situations. I was suggesting that, only in places like this, some additional measures be taken. For example clearing approach paths more than is usually required. Is there somebody who knows requirements or recommendations?

Because, look at the situation we have here. This tree, and its neighbors, is probably 20m high.

Tree with the cut near the main road (http://smolensk.ws/uploads/images/5/c/5/5/49/38e109b377.jpg)

By the look at the satellite image (http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalglobe-imagery/4515204703/sizes/o), it's not much different 30m to the left, at the real axis of the runaway.

Road is at the runaway level. At the 860m distance from touchdown and with 3% approach, plane should be 45m above the road. With 20m trees, plane wheels are ideally some 20m above the tops of the trees that flank the road. Isn't that a bit to close for the runaway without modern equipment, and invisible hole in front of it?

Alice025
18th Apr 2010, 01:35
PaleBlueDot "in places like this some additional measures be taken"

PaleBlueDot :o), with all respect. Even for me it is clear you are thinking along the wrong path.

I don't think they will cut trees. They might grow more :o))))
You didn't notice that it is located not in the most, how to say, convenient place? And all is very uninterestingly un-pronounced, un-intersting, boring, old, some huts here and there :o))), etc.

The only "measure" they might have to take, as was marked in the other blog :o), is as good as to re-locate the airport entirely, after all this attention and detailed terrain study to the last metre internationally.

criss
18th Apr 2010, 02:26
The most prudent measure is not to descend below minima...

jcjeant
18th Apr 2010, 02:35
Hi,

Using this new, more accurately-scaled graphic, I re-drew the 3deg theoretical glideslope (blue line) which I assumed began about 300m into the runway, (normal touchdown point). I used another line to show the extended the runway elevation, (brown line).PJ2 .. what is the white (or pale gray) straight line in the graphic (view from above)
Methink it's the line where must normally be the plane .. so the plane is not only too low but also left of the normal approach (and this already before struck trees) ?

http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/6269/44b7f75fcf4f0a.jpg

non iron
18th Apr 2010, 04:35
The Captain ****** up.

ls Steven Spielberg looking for a story ?

Cosmo57
18th Apr 2010, 07:44
Hallo
I think ALS was working at that time. Photos from Polish website maybe taken few days earlier when Russians prepared airfield for Polish visit.
According to the trees you must refer to OCH(A) which tells you about that.
I flew to Russian airport several times they always gave us QNH and altitude in meters. ATIS was in EN and RUS language including wind on pattern high. The NDBs were very strong. ALS was very simple when you try to compare with Europe. I think is no any reason to blame airfield for this crash. It looks like they were on the GPS approach. It happened very often we got GPS offset to the correct approach path in eastern airfield.

ARRAKIS
18th Apr 2010, 12:26
When TAWS was installed on 101?

Arrakis

SDFlyer
18th Apr 2010, 13:11
Ptkay: "This was not the PM, this was the President, Lech Kaczyński,
the same one who died (and his wife and 94 others) in this very accident.

The PM, Donald Tusk, behaves in a quite different way."

Thanks, I had of course intended to refer to the President in my post, not the Prime Minister - to Kaczynski, who must have left an unforgettable impression on the pilot in 2008.

Alice025
18th Apr 2010, 13:21
Rus. forum mentioned post Samara factory (it left it Dec 21, 2009), in Poland. May be together with the 3rd black box, Polish, monitoring technical condition of the aircraft.

But it wasn't Samara factory speaking, someone else.
And one would think, 2 quite big additions, done beyond the servicing factory - un-likely.

They closed up the lid, the moderator, on the main Rus. avia forum, "until transcripts are made public and MAK again starts publishing some factual data on the investigation".
MAK (the investigation committee) stopped publishing intermediate news since Thursday. All is on hold. Apparently, in agreement with the Polish side.

The moderator there got annoyed by fog-creationist :o) theories, and "how did Putin switch Eyjafjallajoekull on?" :o) but mostly by the lawyers' battle, who quote Chicago Convention by pages and air related laws of the Rus. Federation and ww". So the moderator wrote until anything single new becomes known, he puts the blog on hold.

vorra
18th Apr 2010, 13:49
This is a photo of the landing system radar at the Smolensk-North airfield, there are also 2 NDBs there.

http://forum.smolensk.ws/download/file.php?id=11682

Ptkay
18th Apr 2010, 15:00
Vorra, good job.

This is exactly the same system I mentioned before,
as used in Miroslawiec, when the CASA accident happened.

Rather standard in the former Warsaw Pact AF.

This is RSP (Radiolokator Slepoj Posadki).

http://heading.pata.pl/images/radpar4.jpg

mirogster
18th Apr 2010, 15:28
Well, so far it seems to be CASA crash redoux.
QNH vs QFE pressure readings/settings.
Poor VFR - heavy fog.
Maybe ATC <--> A/C misunderstanding.
Abnormal dose of 'Get-there-itis!".

Poor souls, may they RIP.

Falcone
18th Apr 2010, 18:17
I have no intention to be too clever, but have few doubts.


If A/C was at 6 meters height, we can not talk about wrong QFE/QNH. We can only talk about intentional descent below minima.

At post number 721 one can see profile of approach.

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-government-tu154m-crash-36.html#post5640464

If we assume that after point where A/C was at 6 meters, crew did commence go-around, one can expect to find landing gear in UP position.

If landing gear was in DOWN position, one can assume that crew was actively looking for RWY, even if they flew just at tree top levels. Hence, climb after that point was not go-around. It was terrain folowing towards RWY THD.

Does anyone know position of landing gear after crash?

Cosmo57
18th Apr 2010, 18:49
Maybe equipment is out to date but is reliable, electron tube, and design for war time. The thing is It need well trained staff. That's it. They had very basic equipment but they had well trained and educated staff in the past. This is quite different point of view than we've got now.

Peter_Pan_XXX
18th Apr 2010, 18:56
http://bi.gazeta.pl/im/7/7759/z7759447X,Rosyjscy-sledczy-na-miejscu-katastrofy.jpg

AnnaH
18th Apr 2010, 19:15
2,5 miesi?ca przed ?mierci? ratowali Haiti - Najwa?niejsze informacje - Informacje - portal TVN24.pl - 18.04.2010 (http://www.tvn24.pl/-1,1652678,0,1,2-5-miesiaca-przed-smiercia-ratowali-haiti,wiadomosc.html)

Its a movie made 2,5 ago on the way to Haiti where the pilots delivered humanitarian aid. Left- A.Protasiuk, right, R.Grzywna (the crew that died in Smolensk). The Haiti mission was completed and they got and award from A. Błasik for a succesful mission. Now 3 mentioned are r.i.p. Their bodies are not identified till now..probably nothing left. Anyway you can see the pilots and the machine that crashed in Smolensk. Hope you all guys will have safe flights:) Greetings from Warsaw.

Poluk
18th Apr 2010, 19:49
Hello everyone, this is my first post here but I did read all the post published so far.

Today, Apr/18, part of the flight recorders content has been revealed by the Polish investigators. The article is here (in Polish, my native language) but it's still sort of vague:

Krzyk cierpienia. Zapis czarnej skrzynki - Katastrofa w Smole?sku - Dziennik.pl (http://www.dziennik.pl/katastrofa-smolensk/article590016/Krzyk_cierpienia_Zapis_czarnej_skrzynki.html)

What surprises me is the statement about the voices and noises coming from the passenger cabins. Investigators say that several (which in Polish means definitely more that 20) last seconds of the recording contains increased noises and loud voices (followed by the screams of pain) of the passengers, as they already knew about the inevitable tragedy.

This does not make sense to me as all the drawing posted here suggested the the time between the first tree hit and the crash was definitely less than 10 seconds (or the distance of ~700m at the speed of 200-300 km/h).

Moreover, all what has been discussed here suggests that 30 seconds before the crash the crew did not know they were flying too low.

I am barely bringing more, hopefully reliable, facts. What do you think about them?