View Full Version : Polish Government Tu154M crash

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18th Apr 2010, 20:41
YouTube - 2010-04-18_1ch_3D_pilot_comments.mp4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxXn9xfTNaQ)

18th Apr 2010, 20:45
38 pages later, and looking at graphics of their flightpath (BELOW the runway when they had the first impact! ! :eek: ) there is one question I would like to have the answer to.

What was set on the baro subscale on their altimeters ? and was this the actual QFE ?

My feeling is that this simple ( one of the oldest & deadliest) error may be a distinct possibility.

When I have more time I will relate a long story to back this up, but I am sure most of you can imagine this as a possible scenario.

18th Apr 2010, 20:52
Any idea of accuracy of UAS TAWS data/maps for the Smolensk North approach?


18th Apr 2010, 21:36
YouTube - 2010-04-18_1ch_3D_pilot_comments.mp4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxXn9xfTNaQ&playnext_from=TL&videos=iG_IyCU_jS8)

link to youtube page, from Smolensk forum, this you tube shows what was shown on Russian TV now, as TV idea of the last seconds of the flight.

No reasons given why initially so low, just, say, a visual, a film.

18th Apr 2010, 21:46
Smolensk forum just explained (to each other), that the previous, also Russian made, airplane, that brought in journalists, that very morning - HAD something Russian electronic for? can't explain. something for plane navigation a system allowing to go in fog. Will give a link.

And Kachinsky's TU - HASN'T. All TU-154 have, and TU-154M - and it was "M" - doesn't have it. According to Tupolev site, "when up-grading a TU154 into TU154M - that system is de?-molished? extracted out.

Likewise - when a TU154M, a new one is made to order - that navigation system is not included."

Strange "upgrade" to me:), taking something nice that allows to navigate blind is extracted, but may be in the new ones - now that foreign system is put instead, and the Russian old one is not incorporated any more into the new planes or the old planes when up-grading them.

So Kachinsky plane was in disadvantage by make-up, compared to ordinary Yak. I mean, he wasn't, since he had something that foreign good instead. But may be something that foreign was not appliccable at a Russian straightforward old aerodrome ?

So the previous plane could navigate in fog

18th Apr 2010, 22:10
Any idea of accuracy of UAS TAWS data/maps for the Smolensk North approach?

Looking at the Universal Avionics web site, (they are the manufacturer of the TAWS system installed in the Tupolev) they have a list of airports that are included in the TAWS database. Smolensk is not included, therefore there would be no TAWS data or maps available to the crew.

Since no data was available, the system would degrade to a more basic Ground Proximity Warning System, and since the aircraft was set up for landing mode, a number of GPWS warnings would have been disabled to avoid nuisance alarms.

19th Apr 2010, 02:50
Ptkay, yes, this is RSP according the Smolensk forum. From what I have gathered, they employed the kind of approach where the NDBs are used to stay on course and the approach is corrected from the ATC tower using the RSP.

19th Apr 2010, 04:23
Green - Glideslope based on 300 m from the end of the runway
Glideslope at 2.66 degrees.
Black - height profile.
Yellow - Заросший лесом овраг (балка) - Wooded gully.
БПРМ - the inner NDB at 1.1 km (the small white building @number 2 in the original photo diagram).

19th Apr 2010, 08:18

something for plane navigation a system allowing to go in fog.

The 101 cockpit


Full size
Photos: Tupolev Tu-154M Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Poland---Air/Tupolev-Tu-154M/1311989/L/)

Russian Tu cockpit:


full size:
Photos: Tupolev Tu-154M Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Yakutia-Airlines/Tupolev-Tu-154M/1570607/L/)

There are two unidentified (for me) elements near AH and HDI...
But they are also on the 101 cockpit, so I actually can't see much "removed".

During my ground school our instructor was showing us original technical manuals of
the Tu-154, also the cockpit lay out from the original a/c as delivered 1990.

What was characteristic were two ADF displays, identical near each other.

At the same ground school, our navigation teacher, former AF major
also explained us how this two ADF were used in standard military procedures,
as well as older airline procedures to do an approach on two NDBs.

Maybe this is the "approach procedure" the Russian forum is referring to.

You still have two NDBs on many Polish military and civil airfields.

This particular Tu certainly didn't have the ADF configuration as described above.

19th Apr 2010, 09:21
Alice025, can you give the exact link to where the navigation system of the Yak-40 is discussed? I can't find it.

19th Apr 2010, 09:22

So Kachinsky plane was in disadvantage by make-up, compared to ordinary Yak.

I don't see much moire in this cockpit, than the Tu one above...


Full size here:
Photos: Yakovlev Yak-40 Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Poland---Air/Yakovlev-Yak-40/1312425/L/)

19th Apr 2010, 10:36
vorra I will look it up, if on Smolensk forum will bring it, it was abbreviation and a link to it explaining what it is, the navigating system.

if on main avia forum- they closed it up yest! it starts with a sign - "we hope for your understanding etc."

I had it even all saved, like copy, save, wanted to transfer here, the diff. btw TU154M and Yak, and couldn't return to this site, several times. I think becuase of volcano, traffic to this site.

19th Apr 2010, 10:57
And yes, pilots there mentioned that TAWS would be un-appliccable, because Smolensk military is not in the maps, may be yet, it's 9 months ago they decided it can be used for civil aviation.
But as Smolensk local forum points out - no nothing "civil" as minimum Russian local, ever so far landed in it, likely they the citizens lived without airport at all, since their Smolensk Southern was closed up.

And that yes, likely the TAWS warning system will be switched off by the pilots for constantly screaming, below some level? But of this they were not sure.

However they wrote the should be a howling siren? like a strong sound, the simple other TU? airport? system, in the plane, when a plane passes the near Beakon below the proper height. Or above it. Or - misses it? Didn't understand properly, need to look up. In short - something had them warned, simple, and very loud at that.

19th Apr 2010, 11:00
The TV idea film was critised for wrong aircraft turn-over in the air and the huge blast at the end, the forum thinks TV got it wrong.
To say nothing they say nil how come at all; only? a spectacular? thing done for general audience.

19th Apr 2010, 11:12
TAWS normally has a TCF (Terrain Clearance Floor) function, to avoid switching it off on approach/descent.


19th Apr 2010, 11:22
Zorras photo (#744) and Ptkays photo (#745) and previous description seem to show that PAR was available at Smolensk. Early statements by Russian and Polish senior military officers appear to confirm that PAR was in use. (# 191 and 302) And it is clear the controller detected the increased rate of descent and glideslope deviation.

Of the approach aids available to the crew , PAR surely offered the best chance of success and was also the least unsafe. My original assumption was that the crew were conducting a PAR which went wrong and they did not correct in a positive and timely way . But the view on this thread, apparently influenced by comments on Russian forums, is that they were flying their own approach without reference to the PAR which was being provided. In other words they made the decision to follow a procedure which most would agree was extremely fraught in the prevailing conditions.

One needs to ask why they chose not to conduct a full PAR, the best available aid especially in respect to vertical guidance. The following possibilities come to mind:
- Although they spoke Russian they were not confident in their ability to fly a Russian language PAR in critical conditions ?
- They were concerned that if they handed over their approach to a controller, they could have been ordered to go around, hence voiding the purpose of the mission ?

Is there a cultural difference here between the west and ex Warsaw Pact countries ? In the west we would request a PAR and then follow the controllers instructions as we would follow an ILS. It would be our primary approach aid. In eastern Europe, and especially the military, is PAR more usually a monitor of whatever other approach the crew decide to use as their primary? (E.g. a two NDB procedure, GPS/FMS or even visual ).

I ask this question because although my experience of operating in Russia is restricted to the major airports, and ten years ago at that, I recall in low visibility at SVO it was the norm to receive PAR monitoring of the Cat 2 ILS from Sheremetievo Talkdown. This was provided without being requested, and it was not part of our SOPs to require it..

19th Apr 2010, 11:30
As a side note - here- they quoted a TU can go low and get up - when with both wings.
YouTube - ?????? ?? ????????? ????? ?????? ??-154 ? ??-86. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPa3xIgBTq8&feature=related)

19th Apr 2010, 11:33
Il, thouggh, to me looked far less confident :o) about getting closer to the ground.

19th Apr 2010, 11:47
Thank you all for the most interesting and thorough (also educational!) information!
Just one (non-professional, I'm afraid) question - if they had stayed on ground at where the suspected gear trail was (a photo, grass with marks as if the tyres had touched ground), would they have had a chance? Could a TU land on grassland (+trees and bushes) on a slope? As an emergency landing?

19th Apr 2010, 11:47
To the Polish blogger - a question, please, - from the transcripts of the talks, in Polish - does it follow they passed the Far Beacon alright? On the proper height, or, how to say, that there was a contact with the aerodrome - does it say anything, in this respect?

Whole forum in Smolensk wonders, as originally the official news was yes, the Far Beacon they passed and were on course, etc. But, still - does it follow from the tape, to be sure?

As there are var. idea, re how he showed up in the Near Beacon area, from a straight glissade or from a side, from a circle around? may be

Smolensk is lost ab building the map of the route from further away than when they began "marking it", by the trees' cut. As from the ground they think no body could see the plane in the air. All that part of the route must be reflected on the records, from airport, and from the record in the pilot's cabin.

And they suspect the politicians now from both sides will do political trading now, how to dose the info, and how to present it, and lay hopes only on own capabilities, how to say, to reconstruct the way of events.

19th Apr 2010, 12:05
Could a TU land on grassland (+trees and bushes) on a slope? As an emergency landing?

As stated above, the Tu-154 (as well as all Russian civil aircraft) was basically
a bomber turned into passenger plane.

If anybody remembers the original Tu-134, the Il-76 they all have a s.c. "navigator cabin"
in the nose part, which is actually the bomb operators aiming cabin.

Also the gear was over-dimensioned to allow landings on auxiliary
airfields, grass strips in case the main base was destroyed.

Good proof is the landing of the Il-62, even bigger and heavier than Tu-154
in Germany on a grass runway of just 1000m without a scratch.

YouTube - IL-62 landing on grass (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lkl3jGxCKUI)

This was really an unfortunate chain of events, that they touched down inverted.

If touching down gear down, even at that speed in the forest,
they would have probably all survived.

See the Tu-204 crash in similar circumstances near Moscow,
mentioned here before.

19th Apr 2010, 12:10
It has been reported, the the Polish Army Intelligence was receiving
(and recording) on line the GPS route of the a/c, but are not releasing it.

They also registered all the radio conversation between the crew and the tower.

I wonder, of it will be ever available to the public.

Google T?umacz (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://www.tokfm.pl/Tokfm/1,103085,7786620,Polski_wywiad_monitorowal_lot_Tu_154.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.pl&usg=ALkJrhhG8Uhp4S3Vuz35fBtxqpjqJJWJwg)

19th Apr 2010, 12:58
There will be press conference, at thursday - of Polish investigation team leader and he will reveail some portion of bboxes content.

19th Apr 2010, 13:48
Just one (non-professional, I'm afraid) question - if they had stayed on ground at where the suspected gear trail was (a photo, grass with marks as if the tyres had touched ground), would they have had a chance?Well, maybe there would have been a chance. But I think the pilot wouldn't make such decision due to fear of ending up in the jail. I'm no expert but AFAIK the pilot must follow some regulations, which tell to perform a go-around maneuver in such situation.

19th Apr 2010, 14:06
As stated above, the Tu-154 (as well as all Russian civil aircraft) was basically
a bomber turned into passenger plane.

Tu-154 is actually a civil design from the scratch, not a converted bomber, like some other Tupolevs.

19th Apr 2010, 14:09
Just one (non-professional, I'm afraid) question - if they had stayed on ground at where the suspected gear trail was (a photo, grass with marks as if the tyres had touched ground), would they have had a chance?
Well, maybe there would have been a chance. But I think the pilot wouldn't make such decision due to fear of ending up in the jail. I'm no expert but AFAIK the pilot must follow some regulations, which tell to perform a go-around maneuver in such situation.

The ground where the possible gear trail was is below the runway level. If those were gear marks then by the time he made those marks I believe his fate was sealed - in fact I believe it was sealed once he was below runway level.

I should have said 'sealed once he was descending below the glide slope'.

19th Apr 2010, 14:25
Smolensk forum just explained (to each other), that the previous, also Russian made, airplane, that brought in journalists, that very morning - HAD something Russian electronic for? can't explain. something for plane navigation a system allowing to go in fog. Will give a link.

I'd venture a guess that they had RSBN/PRMG receiver removed. RSBN is Soviet/WaPac TACAN equivalent while PRMG is analogue to ILS with alleged cat II capability. However, for the time being it is not confirmed that Smolensk north had either RSBN or PRMG transmittear installed and operating. Seemingly it rather relied on NDB/PAR.

May I have the link to Sverdlovsk forum, to confirm my suspicions, please?

19th Apr 2010, 15:38
vorra, I duly re-read last 20 pages of both forums, Smolensk and aviators general (Russian) and can't find the description of what it is on Yak anymore. I am sorry. Either one or the other - I glanced in at far earlier pages of either forum yest - or - more likely - moderators at both forums post-reactively "clean the branch" (as they say, "I have cleaned this branch as I could, and please in future refrain from what has no relation
to..." etc.
The links:
Smolensk locals, at 234 pages so far

? ????????? ???? ??????? • ?????????? ????? (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48375&start=4660s)

The main Rus. avia forum, stopped for contributing at page 88 (last page so far)

-154 - 88 - AVIAFORUM.RU (http://aviaforum.ru/showthread.php?t=26710&page=88)

And just in case a small Rus avia forum as well, but just 6 pages

Forumavia.ru - (http://www.forum-avia.ru/a.php?a=t&id=1407&page=6)

That's where I fish :o)

19th Apr 2010, 15:39

First, thanks again for all your efforts in translating and posting.

I have another question...

Reeference your photos of TU flight decks (post #760). When you say that the first photo is of "101" (the accident aircraft) I want to confirm that we are still not sure of what the instrument panel of 101" looked like, because that photo was taken before the refit of December last year. Am I correct?


19th Apr 2010, 15:43
However, for the time being it is not confirmed that Smolensk north had either RSBN or PRMG transmitter installed and operating.

It was rumoured in Poland, that such system was (temporarily) installed
before the April 7th visit of Tusk and Putin, and then disassembled before
the arrival of Kaczyński.

Of course tooted widely as part of conspiracy theory.

Blasted down with the argument, that the Tu-154 101 was anyway not capable
of using it, so it was put up for Putin only, and put down, for obvious reasons,
after he left. (If fact at all.)

19th Apr 2010, 15:48

When you say that the first photo is of "101" (the accident aircraft) I want to confirm that we are still not sure of what the instrument panel of 101" looked like, because that photo was taken before the refit of December last year. Am I correct?

I am pretty sure the cockpit looked on April 10th the same as in the picture.

The modifications, inspections and maintenance done in Samara were purely
ones to extend the TBO. It was a general overhaul, as prescribed by Tupolew

I am pretty sure, that the modifications of the avionics were done in Poland
before, and on both aircraft simultaneously, to maintain the uniformity of the fleet.

I will try to dig deeper to confirm it.

19th Apr 2010, 16:00
NASA satellite images at the moment of crash.

Chmury i mgła: Clouds and fog
Pożary pl: fields fires.


19th Apr 2010, 16:10
While re-reading, found several things.

1. Smolensk Northern has another entry route for planes (called here "glissade"), from the opp. side to the same runway.

These ways are established by some "flying laboratories" flying around and? like? ? setting markers? on some equipment?

2. The "minima" for the opposite entry way is not much better than for the way the Kachinsky plane was directed to; 80x1,000 and the minima in the way he took is 100x1,000.

But still I have a vague feeling that the opposite entry route is equipped with smth useful better.

3. The entry route taken by the Polish plane is also equipped with something on top of the 2 beacons (Far and Near and some "markers" to them) (to the Near one only?) - because the flying laboratory Smolesnk people say is back and flied and flied around like mad, they suppose checking, the commission, that whatever it is there is set correctly.
As I understood - checking that aeroport sees the plane on this entry route adequately on their aeroport screen. Described on forum as "checking course-o-glissade system and the landing locators"

4. Far beakons are set not alike in the 2 "ways" (glissades) leading onto the runway.
The glissade not taken this time - has the Far beakon away 4,000m from the run-way.

The glissade/the way that was to be taken this time by the Polish plane - has its Far beakon at 6,000m away from the runway (one chap says) - and the other says - at 6,300m.
They are crawling there with a roulette measuring tape :o)

5. Some "decision taking height" is 100m for that TU154M or may be for all? May be for all, in that "glissade".
Over the Near beakon it should have been at 60 m height.
So the "decision taking height" is even before the Near beakon.

6. Various pilots say some "RCP-6" and those ? whatever landing abbrev. other is very ? straight and un-destroyable? like simple straightforward system into which nothing can interfere (weather, other signals, radio), it is reliable. That beakon + markers + some locators? anthennaes? to make it a package.

7. The runway enough for TU154M is 1,000 m (well, can be), so they say if he even missed the beginning of it by 200 m. would be quite alright, to say nothing to skip the first 20 m, to be sure it doesn't touch earlier than needed. (in discussions could it have landed theoretically being off course 45 m when in the area of the Near beakon)

8. They say probably less victims if when 3.35m from the ground, like, realising practically ? (nobody knows when they understood they are near the ground) say, 10 seconds away from the runway. Or 15. they took measures to, like, land, instead of going up away off from the land.
Like, the cockpit would have def. be ruined but may be some passangers survived in the back. But very vague ideas re that. Because when that near that was already it, basically.

9. They say possibly the kommander knew they are wrongly near the ground way off away from the first trees' clip and trees' touch, as from the time they began clipping trees the route was definitely up up and up.

Which means they took the decision to go up up and up earlier than when they met the trees thre first time. As it takes time with TU to change its mind from landing onto ascend. To adjust. Some say 5 seconds others say 10 seconds, and dispute weight distribution in the plane and the engines a lot, protecting their 5 sec or 10 sec.
But all say when doing that change from down to "up" it will sink down, by? inertia" adapting.
And that sinking can be from 10 m down to 50! 60!m, depending on the speed vertical and horizontal, with which it was landing.

This speed is unknown. Without data from black boxes they don't know when it began going down, being how far away. Some say 1,700 m away, others - 2,000 m away.

This "landing" speed btw 1,700 (2,000) m away from the runway - some calculated as 11m/sec others as 6.3 m/sec. Both too much.
To all it looks more like a fall in height, of a kind, than a "landing" speed.

5. These 2 opposite in direction entry ways onto the runway are un-changeable, like, fixed, as I understood for myself, set once and forever for the aerodrome functioning.

19th Apr 2010, 16:19

Thanks for the clarification. That makes more sense.


19th Apr 2010, 16:22
The other forum say the "shassi" the wheels? are standardly let out, even before the Far Beacon, as part of the procedure.

So it can be both - the Polish president's plane was seriously minded to land OR it was "proving" to the bosses on board that they are seriously minded to have a look around and attempt to do it. Because what if will see the runway.

They think in either case the kommander would let those wheels out.

19th Apr 2010, 16:33
In contrast to serial machines, our Tupolev received during the operation and subsequent repair / maintenance primarily modern avionics. Thus became one of the most advanced Tu-154 used in the world. Pilots' cabin is a mosaic of old Soviet equipment and that from Western countries. Communications equipment HF radios are Micron, Orlan-85ST VHF, satellite phone (since 2008), R-855UM radio station, the device's internal communications SPU-7B, the speaker system SGS-25, tape recording conversations of the crew Mars BM.
The modern navigation equipment includes:

* Doubled navigation system FMS UNS-1D (the production of Universal Avionics) with the computer navigation Navigation Computer Unit (NCU) and two control panels (FPCDU - Flat Panel Display Control Unit) and two sets of 12-channel GPS receivers with antennas CI 401;
* Radiocompass (ADF?) ARK-15M,
* Radio altimeter RW-5M
* Navigation and landing system Kurs-MP-70,
* Additional navigation receiver GPS Bendix / King KLN-89, previously was used receiver Garmin 155XL, on a plane / b had another 101-1000 GPS receiver with antenna type CI 401,
* Radio receiver for radio signals from the antenna to the Reference Sensor DME, VOR splitter,
* Aircraft Control System (AutoPilot?) ABS-154-2
* Track following system TKS-P2
* Aerodynamic parameters system WBE-SWS,
* Collision avoidance system TCAS-II
(detects up to 45 objects, illustrated 30 of them),
* Weather radar RDR-4B
* Multifunction display MFD-640
* Doppler meter of drift angle and speed of travel DISS-013,
* Portable disk drive (Omega DTU) at the navigator desk.

I am not sure about what some of the systems are, but will try to dig deeper again.

19th Apr 2010, 16:42
The plane carrying the president was also equipped with a flight management system (FMS), by the American company Universal Avionics Systems and TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System). To make these devices work properly, appropriate maps must be loaded onto the disks, including land survey map of Smolensk region. AFAIK, perhaps these maps were not loaded, although probably NATO has them, because it can not be commercially purchased.

19th Apr 2010, 16:43
- a quote from the plane manual given there "the allowed ? deviation sideways? for the height of the maneuvre beginning of 80m and distance to runway 1,500m for TU154M is 70m."
TU154M text-book by Petin, p.62, Table 9.

- by Polish media, the current kommander was in the second pilot capacity during Kachinsky's flight to Tbilisi. :o(

- some "reverse" capability of TU154M was there, not "blocked" at landing automatically (video by other TU154M brought as proof)

- During the 7th April flight of Tusc the "metric" system was used (from the Polish media interview with Stronsky who stayed at home this time but was flying that flight to the Northern)

- someone said that "my friend delta-planer insists GPS is off by 300 m after the war with Georgia" but was responded "I don't know what your friend says; my 100euro navigation for the car is 15-20m lying steady in the parking lot :o), as it were before the war with Georgia - the same it is now" :o)

-TAWS someone commented is "tomohawk system adaptation; set for 200 m above the ground, no use with tiny variations of the ground closer. Would be useful for them only for that big hill further on. "

- Smolensk Northern is not in some IATA certification ? books?

19th Apr 2010, 16:45
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. He said the company could not discuss the investigation into the crash or other details.

19th Apr 2010, 17:14
In the East, the pilot reports flight passing set points (1000 m, 600 m, further NDB, closer NDB, etc.), and RSL controller confirms, he is giving the distance to the runway threshold. RSL controller, in principle, is active only in fixed locations, but also whenever the pilot deviates from the axis of the runway or in a vertical plane - from the approach path. Then he gives the command, eg "5 degrees to the left" or "reduce by half the descent." Each time the pilot shall acknowledge receipt of this command with his height AGL.

In turn, according to NATO procedures "Talk down" is done. Precision approach radar controller (equivalent to a RSL controller) presents a continuous monologue, giving the amendment or affirming the movement of aircraft at a fixed path approach. By the way, precision approach radar controller did not say "five degrees to the right" only "course 265" if the course is 260 degrees belt. However, in the continuous chatter of the controller cannot be interrupted by the pilot, so there is no read back or confirmation. Precision approach radar controller knows that the pilot can hear him, because he sees whether the pilot performs his command.



(much more information available there)

19th Apr 2010, 17:29
-7 - (http://museum.radioscanner.ru/avionika/aviomuzejs/rsp_7/rsp_7.html)

That's about No 7 (in the museum :o) , but No 6 in Northern one would think is not much different. Wiki informs No 6 is in use currently in Russia.

19th Apr 2010, 17:30
The question was put if the inertial navigation system aided by GPS (IRS / GPS unit), the GPS unit installed in the Tu-154M did work or did not work?

In the case of CASA 295M in Mirosławiec the GPS block IRS / GPS not working with this very prosaic reason that the Polish mechanics did not know that the GPS unit in the system INS / GPS used in military aircraft, need additional crypto module, which is required for decode the code P (Y) which is encoded accurate GPS signal (P-code) on both the L1 frequency and (especially) L2.

INS / GPS anyone can buy and install. But only the army, and it is not all, have access to navigation by using P-code.

The module needed to decode coded cipher P (Y), which protects the P-code is probably a secret, and it changes regularly Combination Lock keys are probably top secret. These things are no longer need to receive channels from the U.S. military, by NATO. Maybe not every ally in NATO may get a piece of electronics?

Nay, I would also not be surprised if after receiving an order that the plane has to fly to Russia the order was to remove all the secret material, dismantle the crypto module in the block IRS GPS navigation system / GPS. Or module lies somewhere in the safe and was never installed, as in CASA-295M. Or it has never been and will not.

If the GPS unit with the military P (Y) Code does not work, because there was no crypto module in the receiver, the GPS and precise altimeter were not necessarily operational...

19th Apr 2010, 17:43
As for special navigation equipment brought last week for Putin - for Putin everything is possible :o)

May be they carry after him, ahead of the way, whenever he flies to, a something? For he flies to many interesting places in Russia, where no nothing at all :o), I would think. But I don't think they'll share it with other statesmen, how to say.

Anyway the day of the catastrophe - he flew in normally, soon after the crash, on the same conditions as everyone else. Hardly it is so quick, to install something, for him personally?
(and our Medvedev flew to Warsaw yesterday, position obliges, even the volcano or whatever, the rest who came, like Ukraine - drove). (and flew back)

19th Apr 2010, 17:47
grizzl ptk
you guys are discussing what was in this plane
maybe this video is the anwer post 750

Plane and pilots 2,5 months ago
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 flightshttp://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/smile.gif Greetings from Warsaw.

19th Apr 2010, 18:43

When you say that the first photo is of "101" (the accident aircraft) I want to confirm that we are still not sure of what the instrument panel of 101" looked like, because that photo was taken before the refit of December last year. Am I correct?
I am pretty sure the cockpit looked on April 10th the same as in the picture
grizz ptkay maybe post #750 is the answer did you see the video?
it shows both pilots sitting if front of the panel

19th Apr 2010, 20:18
Hey guys what are you talking about what a secret module? 101 aircraft looks like it has no any military equipment. P code is well known for Russian intelligence. Polish TU 145 has reliable but old fashioned avionic they have no money for something advanced. She was only transport plane with satellite phone that's it!

19th Apr 2010, 22:07
Anyway, in Smolensk wind was 2.5m/sec.

(On Yak with journalsists read in another place it could have still be carrying on old Russian RSBN (Radiolocating System of Blizney/Near Navigation) parts compatible with what Northern has for the approach to it but fron the opposite side of entry into the runway.

That this RSBN equipment was definitely carved out of TU154M, when modernising it for Poles with ? modern avionics systems.
RSBN they say is Russian old equivalent of foreign VOR DME. That this is used for night/day hand piloting or semi-controlled piloting to (ex-USSR and around) airports at weather minima.)

The other blog is lost for absence of new data and spent last 30 pages discussing spies crawling around with false beakons temporarily installing them to navigate the plane away :o). Likewise terrorists capturing the controller and making him say what they want. :o) Likewise what the only Polish word said that became known through the chap who listened to the record but doesn't say what it was - what it could mean - in English "Are we on time?" - like when was it said.

The new date set by Polish side is Thursday when the Polish General Prosecutor promised to publish the black boxes again.

19th Apr 2010, 23:47
Mo?liwe Przyczyny Katastrofy Samolotu Rz?dowego Tupolew 154M - ZeZeM: "ZeZeM" - Salon24 (http://mariusz.fryckowski.salon24.pl/170097,mozliwe-przyczyny-katastrofy-samolotu-rzadowego-tupolew-154m)

20th Apr 2010, 02:22
Ed. Question about RSBN already answered above, I see.

"RCP-6" from Alice's post is the RSP-6 radar system mentioned above, which they did say was practically indestructible.

20th Apr 2010, 05:27
More on military PAR approach from an ex-Russian AF pilot:

"When you land at minimal visibility and nothing it is visible, you simply say the height "two hundred twenty fifth 200" and controller there and then gives you lateral deviation and deviations from glideslope and if they are not present that tells "on a course on glideslope"
It is possible to chirp like that every 20m."

20th Apr 2010, 07:45
Apparently there was a Katet landing system at Smolensk-North, but it was taken down when the AF unit there was disbanded. This is a pure-military system which probably was compatible with the Polish Tu-154 anyway.

20th Apr 2010, 12:16
Last theory from the Smolens.ru forum.

The outer NDB with marker in Poland is usually 4 km from the threshold,
and the inner NDB with marker - 1 km.

It has been confirmed, that the outer NDB in Smoleńsk,
due to terrain situation was 6 km from the threshold.
(Which is quite common in Russia.)

If you assume the 2,6 deg glide-path the 2 km error in distance
would result in 90 m altitude difference at the 1 km NDB,
which corresponds approximately to the altitude deficiency the
accident aircraft experienced at this point.

The pilots, assuming outer NDB at 4 km and following the
normal glide path were 100m lower then they should be.
Continuing with the angle of 2,6 deg they were still 2 km
from the runway, at the moment, when they expected threshold,
and at 1 km from the runway already below the runway level...

Fits the fact known until now quite well.


The lowest line in this diagram corresponds to 2.66 deg from 6 km NDB.
It's 0m QFE point is exactly 2km back from the touchdown point 300m
down the runway.



20th Apr 2010, 12:29
Yes, it is. But...
Протасюк [...] садился на аэродроме Северный за три дня до катастрофы.Protasiuk had landed in Smolensk three days before the crash
Was it possible that they (had not used/had not to use) NDB in that flight?

20th Apr 2010, 13:27
Was it possible that they (had not used/had not to use) NDB in that flight?

Not only possible, but almost sure.

On April 7th, when they arrived with Tusk, it was CAVOC in Smoleńsk,
so they probably did a VFR approach and landing.

20th Apr 2010, 13:50
looking at this drawing it looks like at any point on this lower green line one can start to go full thrust upward
looking at red line at which point could it happen it looks to steep going down
posts in this thread say that tu 154 needs time to full thrust it sinks for a while before it starts very gradually go up

on the other hand this tower which is supposed to see you on radar shoud see it long before that height over runway is close to 0
on this drawing at distance 2300 is 30m maybe 40m
thay said that they lost it from radar suddenly this would be the case with the red line

20th Apr 2010, 14:05
at 1250m distansce from runway it is 250m from lowest point
enough to start going up?

20th Apr 2010, 14:06
Directly translated from the Russian forum:

Excerpt of the rules:
"Antenna near a marker beacon should be located on the continuation of the axial line of the runway at a distance of 850-1200 meters from the runway threshold of the approach and the displacement of less than 75 m away from the centreline of the runway.
The antenna far-marker beacon should be located on the continuation of the center line of the runway at a distance of 4000 200 meters from the runway threshold of the approach and the displacement of not more than 75 meters away from the centreline of the runway."

But the long-range (outer) NDB in the North is located at 6 km ...
Fog and stress added to the confusion ...
"The correct rate of descent" in this case is somewhat different from "traditional", "victim of automatism".
That's all the "false glide path", favourite local trolls ...
Descending to the correct height, waiting for the signal passing inner NDB.
And it is not coming ...
Feverishly look out in the fog for the runway - there is none.
The navigator starts counting on the altimeter - 100,100, 100 ...
It is in this place (2 km) opposite side of the ravine.
Stress, hair standing on their necks - you cannot change the laws of physics ...
At a distance of 1700 meters go lower still in disarray.
Hear the cries of the dispatcher.
Finally, everyone understands. There is still 1500m to the threshold ...
Well, about this point begins the diagram by the distinguished Aml ...

(Aml - nick of Amilin, who created the photos and drawings quoted above)

20th Apr 2010, 14:21
Mo?liwe Przyczyny Katastrofy Samolotu Rz?dowego Tupolew 154M - ZeZeM: "ZeZeM" - Salon24

Another BS on the net....

20th Apr 2010, 14:43
Ptkay, just for the reference: who has confirmed the location of the LOM (ДПРМ)? And where and when?


20th Apr 2010, 14:43
tu 154 needs time to full thrust it sinks for a while before it starts very gradually go up

any object which weighs 100 tons, you cannot just turn it around on a dime. It will continue going in the original direction ie down for a while due to momentum

20th Apr 2010, 14:56
One can blame NDB on 6NM.

One can blame NDB on 4NM.

Another one can blame QHN/QFE.

Also some one can blame Russians for not having full CAT III ILS in Smolensk.

I want to know how presidential crew did not prepare their preflight briefing to cover all relevant informations and data for flight?

Also I am very curious to find out how and why this crew end up below minimum on this approach?

Leave stories about this or that equipment aside. Focus yourself to understand how fully trained crew has flown fully servicable A/C into CFIT!!!

All respect to Polish people and to Polish pilots, but do not try to find scape goat.

Find the thruth!!!

For your sake and for sake of all of us.

20th Apr 2010, 15:14
Dude, everyone knows that they've crashed!
The question is why they flew so low, having all the stuff except ILS !
We cannot focus on anything important because, there soon will be NO official informations!
It's total amateur investigation, from all the available infos.
And we are not necromancers!
If You can't stand it, just don't read this tread.

20th Apr 2010, 15:14

All respect to Polish people and to Polish pilots, but do not try to find scape goat.

I think you miss the point. This is not a search for a scapegoat.

This is obvious and clear, that the pilots made an error.
The question is: what kind of error?
And: why they made it?

The Polish pilots were excellent in the war time.
Creative, brave, daring.
The Polish 303 Squadron was the best of all in the Battle of Britain.
But they were also well known for rather lax attitude against procedures.

These are not the features you are looking for in the peacetime.
And certainly not in a transport aircraft carnying the most precious cargo.

But what were they supposed to do, when this precious cargo told them
on one of the previous flight: "The Polish pilot shouldn't be cowardly".

So they were not "cowardly", not at all...

"There are bold pilots, there are old pilots,
but there are no old bold pilots."

These boys were young and bold.

20th Apr 2010, 15:21
Sorry guys, after years of my involvent in air accident investigations, I do not ask for NDB on 6NM or NDB on 4NM one milion dollar question.

I ask why they descend below minima and did not cary immidate go-around action. Regardless of postion at 1km before RWY or at 5km after same.

I do not care if CAT III ILS is there or no radio facilities at all. I ask how they did perform their preflight brief.

And I understand very well pressure from above. I do not blame pilot for his error. I blame him for not correcting same.

Being 6 meters above ground is insane.

20th Apr 2010, 16:01

I ask why they descend below minima and did not cary immidate go-around action. Regardless of postion at 1km before RWY or at 5km after same.


Being 6 meters above ground is insane.

I suspect they had no idea they were too low until it was far, far too late.

20th Apr 2010, 16:04
I do not blame pilot for his error. I blame him for not correcting same.

Yes, they corrected it adding more thrust (according to witnesses and snapped tree marks). But it was already too late.

20th Apr 2010, 16:13
If one execute go-around at published minima can not end up being to late.

Published minima are calculated to take in account the worst performing aircraft for certain approach category of A/C.

One either obey published minima or other discuss about him at PPRUNE. :ugh:

Also one do not suspect his position over ground level. One reads radio altimeter and crosscheck at least three different sourced altimiters onboard A/C.

That is paramount of approach briefing. Either in civil or military operations. ;)

20th Apr 2010, 16:16
Well it's a huge pity, that You was not pilot at that flight.:mad:
They'd be well and safe at the ground today.

20th Apr 2010, 16:19
It is not about me. And if you do not see that, sorry.

It is about rumours and news. It is about PPRUNE. It is about learning from mistakes, own or mistakes commited by others.

And Mirogoster if you contributions to this sad accident is:

" Well it's a huge pity, that You was not pilot at that flight. "

You are not worth talking to.

20th Apr 2010, 16:26
I was afraid of such thing, it was just matter of time.
That some young keyboard fighter will show up and start :mad: ... trolling.
Please try to contribute here, not asking sily questions.

20th Apr 2010, 16:28
Well, Vasily Ershov wrote the Polish kommander is talanted. (text-book author on TU154 piloting)
But also that piloting book - incl. minima - are not there just? as words but were "written by blood".

20th Apr 2010, 16:33
You are not worth talking to.

So give us a break and run away.

20th Apr 2010, 16:43

In 21 century we should not relay on rules written in blood. In modern aviation today we relay on rules, procedures, CRM, discipline, proffesionalisam, knowledge and else.

False proudness and sentiments are for amateurs.

20th Apr 2010, 16:50
It is about PPRuNe. It is about learning from mistakes, own or mistakes committed by others.

Yes, you are absolutely right.

But to achieve this goal we have to know, first of all,
what kind of mistake the pilot made,
and then, what was the reason, he made such mistake.

So the first mistake, as you properly stated, and we know for sure,
was flying below minima.
Why he did it? I think, IMHO, the pressure, direct or indirect was the reason.

The second mistake, already in approach, he was flying wrong glide path.
Why did he do it? At the moment we can only speculate.
Taking into consideration, that, for political reasons, the true reason
might be never revealed, we are left with our "educated guesses"
or, if you prefer to call it this way, useless speculations.

Whatever the name, the educational value is undisputed,
at least IMHO.

20th Apr 2010, 16:55
So the first mistake, as you properly stated, and we know for sure,
was flying below minima.

Nope. The first mistake was commencing the approach.

20th Apr 2010, 16:58
Falcone, take it easy.

In modern aviation today we relay on rules, procedures, CRM, discipline, proffesionalisam, knowledge and else.

"WRITTEN IN BLOOD", means based on tragic experiences of the past.

The "rules, procedures, CRM, discipline, professionalism, knowledge"
come from experience, also bad experience like accidents.

They were not given to us like the 10 Commandments by God the Almighty
curved in stone.

They change with every accident that happens, also in spite of them.

BTW: I hope by "proffesionalisam" you mean "professionalism"... :}

20th Apr 2010, 17:00
Nope. The first mistake was commencing the approach.

You are absolutely right. (As usual) :)

My mistake. (...not the first one...)

20th Apr 2010, 17:01

I undersign your post.

We can learn from mistakes only if we try to identify same. For more then 25 years in air investigating commities I have never seen fully disclosed reasons for crash. Ever!!!

In this case wrong glide path is obvious, what is less obvious is what has delayed go-around? If any has been executed.

I say if any, becuase a lot of preliminary facts are pointing to no go-around or at least not fully commited go-around was executed.

I hope one day we will found out thruth.

20th Apr 2010, 17:06
Commencing approach alone is not mistake. But if one continue approach behind certain point (OM/4NM/1000ft) is mistake.

Descending below minima is definitely mistake.

Sorry for misprint. English is not mine native tongue and keyboard does not help. It is bit old.

20th Apr 2010, 17:22
If one commences the approach when wx is so much below minima, for me it's a mistake which possibly shows the mindset of get-there-itis.

Falcone, but that's exactly the point you either don't get, or there is some misunderstanding. That they were too low is an obvious fact. But what we don't know is why they were so low, and were they aware of that fact. You seemingly already apportioned the blame and the case seems easy for you - they were too low, and surely altimeters showed it, so it's a pilot error. Yet, there are dozens of possibilities here - wrong wx information from tower, wrong setting in the cockpit, instruments failure, human error (wrong readout), wrong charts (as we know, aerodrome info wasn't really high standard), going deliberately below minima, and many more. That's the whole point of investigation, and also our discussion here.

20th Apr 2010, 17:29
If one execute go-around at published minima can not end up being to late.

Published minima are calculated to take in account the worst performing aircraft for certain approach category of A/C.

If he doesn't know he's too low how is he going to know he needs to do a go-around?

20th Apr 2010, 17:31
It has been mentioned that their first "hit" was below the level of the runway threshold.
Even if they decided to push their luck and descend a little below minima (say 200' rather than 300' QFE) this would not result in what happened.

Either these guys have knowingly descended to ,at or even below, the level of the runway without the required visual reference (or they "thought" they saw the R/W lights ) . . which seems insane in its criminal ineptitude, and therefore scarcely believable to any professional pilot OR. . . . . . they didn't realise how near the ground they were, which means no-one was looking at the altimeter (again scarcely believable)
OR . . it was incorrectly set.

Even if they set the wrong (too low) minima, or decided to bust them "a bit" they wouldn't manage to hit the ground BELOW the height of the R/W without some other mistake.

20th Apr 2010, 17:42
I'm pretty sure i've read the entire thread and I have one question that i'm unaware of a clear answer to. I know that ATC "suggested" they head to an alternate destination. I know that the pilots elected to a landing attempt with the understanding (or so ATC thought) they would abort if conditions were unsuitable. I do not recall any clear indication that the approach was flown as a "PAR" approach....so did ATC call out the glide slope errors?

My understanding is that any plane not stable on the glide slope at a certain point is normally going to abort simply based on that instability regardless of other factors.

If in fact ATC did call out the error I can't fathom how/why TOGA wasn't immediate once the instability in reference to glide slope was recognized??

20th Apr 2010, 17:48
Amen to that, captplayistation. To find anything more, we need more information, hopefully released on Thursday.

20th Apr 2010, 19:59
I'm pretty sure that pilots 'knew' that airfield and specific procedures of Russian ATC (military/non military/civil).
They were there few days earlier.
And if I'm not mistaken, that a/c also was there not for the first time.

20th Apr 2010, 20:42
Not a question of how familiar they were with the airport, just a question about the non stabilized approach. If they were under the glide slope isn't the approach considered unstable?

they are way under the glide slope (looking at chart in post #803) well before they were in danger. Did ATC call out the deviation and if so was it then obviously ignored? These guys got way out of whack long before they got whacked by tree's....

20th Apr 2010, 20:44
these posts are from Sergey Amielin blog made by Tom tu154 pilot
"Considering horizontal visibility 400m if they had under the plain flat terrain
crew would start to see anything in front of them after being at height approx 40m above
terrain.At approach speed 70m/s which was correctly astimated with acuracy -2/+8 ms
plane flied in best case after 6 s at place which crew managed in best case see
6s earlier."
"on tu-154 taking into account time needed for turbine to reach starting power and
plain inertia at mass about 65 ton especially at ascendnig terrain 6s
is a bit to little time to go from normal height decresing to incresing and not touching
the ascending terrain"
"not considering wrong setup of MDA/MDH or wrong given/set QNH/QFE crew probably
decided to use RA in order to get at 40-50 m AGL about 1 km before threshold
only from this hight they had a chance to land at visibility 400m whicch above
forest before runway could be even worse. For some reasons they did not control
barometric altimeter and did not notice they got 10m under threshold of the runnway
(255 m above see level)"
"they had a chance to succceed if not the deep ravine seen on google earth.
Observing that they are constantly high (according to RA because of ravine)
they increased lowering speed, later they saw in the end terrain going up
in front of them, being at about 40-50 m above ground, initiated dramatic go-around,
but it was to late"
"it's possible they could support themself with FMS, using its simplest functions
(unfortunately not VNAV) and manually set threshold coordinates and landing course.
As well to estimate distance to threshold. Unfortunately a lot points it was
not set correctly or if at all."
"it's bad this airport was not measured with WGS084 (PZ-90). If it was
and was placed in AIP it would be also in database EGPWS and FMS. Corrrect use
of FMS especially its advanced functions could prevant tragedy.Our reconesance
would be usefull when airport was used many times, including bad weather.
Airport mesurement and obstacles as well"
"but MDH 120 m rather would not change. and what goes with it visibility condition
1000-2400 m would remain. Approach lower is a break of basic safety rules.
Does not matter with EGPWS or FMS or without them"
"i would like to be wrong but i am afraid that CVR recorded "turn off EGPWS,
to not scream airport not found in database" or "we ignore EGPWS - this aiport
is not in database". We will hear also "we approach according to RA so
that at 1 km before threshold/passing BLR we will be at 30/40/50 m. Otherwise
with this visibility we can not make it, and we can not not to try"
"Anybody knows if Outer NDB located 4 km from the threshold exists? I can't located in Google
Earth, while the Inner NDB can be located 1 km from the THR in Google Earth"
"as i wrote before, terrain in front of him he would be able to see
being at apprx. 40 m above ground (but when terrain is flat, when it goes up/down
it could be a little more or less). It would be good if Siergiej could make this
picture to the right about 500 m apposite approach direction. This would allow
to estimate the moment he noticed the terrain"
"Сергей, could you please be so kind and extend the picture about 500 m to the right, in the
direction opposite to the approach direction, so an analysis can be made when the crew was able
to see the terrain, considering 400 m visibility. They had to be approx. max. 40 m above ground
level, maybe lower, when they saw the terrain and trees in front of them."
"Сергей, are you aware of existance of Outer NDB, located usually 4 km from the runway
threshold? I can't find anything which looks like NDB facility anywhere on extended runway
centerline, except for Inner NDB, 1 km from the threshold. using Google Earth"
"Continuing, with terrain going up and visibility 400m crew could notice terrain if front of
them later at a bit lower height apprx. 30 m above ground. On the other hand with
terrain going down crew could see terrain if front of them at a bit higher height
appox 50 m above ground. Analizing earlier profile i conclude that crew noticed terrain
being approximately above ravine bottom, or rather 100 m after it. being at height
apprx. 260 m over see leverl (5 m over threshold level)"
"Peter, as i said earlier it is possible crew did not notice in previous flights
slightly hilly terrain on approach and deciding sickly to land even if it meant
break the rules and common sense, concentrated on reading radioaltimeter.
turning off in the end scanning barrometer altimeters. Knowing that
in these visibility conditions they will see ground at approx 10 seconds
before touchdown. Everything happens than very quickly."
"Becouse ravine bottom goes about 50 m below runway threshold, they increaced
lowering speed thinking they are to high. They saw terrain going up being
a few meters about threshold level. But lowering at 6-7 m/s, weighing ap. 60-70
ton Tu 154 configured to landing can not be forced to ascend in a second.
You loose next 15-20m and fly in this time ap 350-400 m before
transisioning to ascending - in first seconds free"
"it takes a few second before plain reaches his max accending speed
in landing configuration. At the same time it is only after reaching
positive ascending that the chasis is hiding and position of
flaps to starting position decreases eg from 40 to 20 degrees.
This takes anogther few several seconds. I think crew using radio altimeter
wanted to approach to aprox. 50-60 m above ground and only than
do eventually go-around. It was not reasonable."
"additionally they forgot about ravine which bottom was about 1300 m from threshold
If it was not there if terrain was flat as they assumed they would manage to land.
but it seems to me that with 400 m visibility and approach speed
apprx. 135 knots (70m/s) little probable. or they would do succesful go-around.
Landing with ILS cat I approached to 60 m abouve ground,
and with cat II even to 30 m legally. Tu 154 has autopilot with function
autoland but you need ILS for that. It was not there."
"i think if they did not see terrain using radioatimeter about 2 seconds
later they would start go around. They were not suiciders only they
had to high selfesteem. How do i know? Because i have a few landing like that
behind me. and it also seemed to me that published minimas are for loosers
and not "ases" like me. Only i had a little more luck and stayed alive to point when
i was able to kick these ideas out of my head"
"aha plane found itself at lowest point 10m aprox. 245 m abouve see level)
under threshold runway level and not several dozen meters."
"Сергей, спасибо. It means probably only 1 or 2 NDBs and approach monitoring radar. No PAR. The
question is only: 1 or 2 NDBs?"

20th Apr 2010, 21:16
didn't really matter a jot how well they knew the airfield or whether 'the aircraft had been there before'. Looking out the window at fog :ugh:

20th Apr 2010, 22:49
We don't actually know yet that they were on a type of approach that actually had a glideslope. They may have been on an NDB or twin NDB approach - for which the minima is typically around 3-500ft AGL, depending on terrain etc - or the Russian equivalent of a PAR or GCA approach - the radar-based "talkdown." (A PAR does have a glidelsope; the pilot follows it by reference to controller instructions. It is not displayed in the flight deck.)

If they were on a PAR approach, for example, and it was calibrated and working correctly, the controller would have been telling them for quite some time prior to the collision to climb.

If they were on a twin NDB approach..well, I would hope there would be no pilot in the world who would deliberately go so far below the published minima on purpose "for a look", as indicated above by captplaystation. Maybe sneak a hundred feet lower, but not 4 or 5 hundred.

Another possibility was that they were in clear air above the fog bank and attempted to visually navigate to the runway, underneath it. That sort of approach is generally unsafe, considered bad airmanship, and illegal (usually) even in a light, slow, nimble aircraft like, say, a 172. It would be highly unlikely anyone would attempt it, regardless of outside or internal pressure, in anything at all, and especially not a jet airliner. There's no future in attempting to navigate visually, at low level, when the visibility is 500M. Or even 1000M.

There are indications that there were communication difficulties between the crew and the controller/s. Especially in (readbacks?) of numbers. There was a suggestion in a television broadcast from a senior ranking Russian officer that the controller had been telling the pilot to "level out" at some stage during the approach.

I would be very interested to know what altimeter setting the crew used, whether it was QNH or QFE based, and whether the crew knew which it was; the approach in use, the charts used for that approach - and especially what reference was used for altitudes or heights on those charts; any cross-checking of height against the radio altimeter, and any discussions on the landing minima and missed approach procedure.

I believe that it's likely the crux of the reason for descent below the minimum will be associated with these factors. It seems likely the crew did not realize there was anything wrong until (possibly) they actually hit the trees or maybe a second or two prior. I would not be at all surprised if a QNH reference was selected on the altimeter sub-scale, but the crew inadvertently flew the approach using QFE reference. Or (very simply) the wrong QFE reference was set, due to language differences. It would have to be about 15- 20 Hpa out. Maybe more. (The difference between QFE and QNH for this aerodrome is approx 29Hpa.)

I would imagine the reason the approach was commenced in the first place under the circumstances would be to satisfy themselves and (especially) their passengers that at least they'd had a look, expecting it to be unsuccessful. Some would consider that a reasonable course of action provided the approach and missed approach was briefed for and the correct altitudes displayed and used.

All this talk about cutting down trees on the approach, or a NDB/beacon at a possibly non-standard distance from the aerodrome, or what blind-landing aids were or were not fitted, is red herrings, I'm afraid.

20th Apr 2010, 22:57
I ask why they descend below minima and did not cary immidate go-around action. Regardless of postion at 1km before RWY or at 5km after same.If you take the fact the outer marker was at 6 km and not 4 km, and that they had somehow ended up working on 4 km, one conclusion I can draw is that they thought they must be over the runway, and given the pressure of needing to land, descended to get the lights/runway.

The only other plausible cause I could see is the terrain under them; did the navigator check RADIO ALTITUDE, and see it was OK/increasing, before they flew over the up-going side of the hills, or was everyone looking out the window trying to acquire the runway?

The rest as they say, is history.

The Russians have a system whereby if the Captain is flying, then no-one monitors him. The F/O handles the radios, the navigator navigates, but for some reason it appears even he failed to notice the outer marker was further way, and that they were subsequently too low.


We don't actually know yet that they were on a type of approach that actually had a glideslope. They may have been on an NDB or twin NDB approach - for which the minima is typically around 3-500ft AGL, depending on terrain etc - or the Russian equivalent of a PAR or GCA approach - the radar-based "talkdown." (A PAR does have a glidelsope; the pilot follows it by reference to controller instructions. It is not displayed in the flight deck.)From all the information available, it would be a dual NDB approach. There isn't an operational RADAR at the facility, so this was not even an option.

ECAM Actions.

Green Guard
20th Apr 2010, 23:40
If one commences the approach when wx is so much below minima, for me it's a mistake which possibly shows the mindset of get-there-itis.

Come'on criss
are trying to say that you neither trust your altimeters nor any minimums ?

If so then it would be even wrong to start the flight, better stay at home.... but then when yo decide to leave your home and come in VMC, the VMC may not be there any more.

MET people can not give you 100% true air-to-ground visibility.
Beside wx is not like a wall painting, it is alive and changing...
It is up to you to decide, that is why we have mini-mums ooops minimums..


21st Apr 2010, 00:30
Green Guard, I'm not talking about commencing a CAT I app with 500-600m visib and OVC002, when you have a chance to legally get in. But if you start an NDB app in these conditions then - cmon Green Guard. Of course, if you set your altimeters correctly and go around at minima, nothing should go wrong, but then, what's really the point in commencing? In such a case, one can really wonder if get-there-itis is not involved.

21st Apr 2010, 00:54
From initial iterview of the controller it followed the aerodrome warned the aircraft that they are way below the gliding path. That initially they were going "very steady" but then began losing hight rapidly for the reason unknown to the aerodrome.

Can be the controller saw them somehow on own screen otherwise how would he know? Unless the crew kept giving the controller its own idea of their height?

Since investigation committees took over - apparently the controllers were prohibited to talk to the journalists, and only as much is known as got out in the first day during the general rush and ran around.

Confirmation of the contents of the talks ground-aircraft are in the black box record - delayed and delayed to be made public. Besides, there was a small article in Polish media that the Polish Defence ministry monitored the whole flight, its location and route throughout, and has records as well - of talks in the pilot cabin. But that the Defense Ministry only aknowledges they have all that but doesn't plan to let it known publicly.

The only leak of the content of the talks was in Russian internet, listened to, in Russia, approx.? already 5? days ago. And the only thing the man who listened to it shared was that "they would have landed come anything - cows on the runway or Virgin Mary standing on the runway herself". And that at one point the commander asked "Are we on time?"
That's absolutely all that was available from un-official sources.
And official ones keep it to themselves.

21st Apr 2010, 00:56
And that the record gives no pressure from President Kachinsky - as minimum nothing like that was recorded.

21st Apr 2010, 06:38
The ATC ordered the aircraft to change to horizontal flight and go for go-round at 1500 m from the runway according to the information available at the moment. They did not respond, apparently they'd stopped responding even before this moment.
Smolensk-North has the RSP radar system which means the controller would have been aware of the aircraft going below the glideslope.

21st Apr 2010, 07:41
how it could be

"Becouse ravine bottom goes about 50 m below runway threshold, they increaced
lowering speed thinking they are to high. They saw terrain going up being
a few meters about threshold level. But lowering at 6-7 m/s, weighing ap. 60-70
ton Tu 154 configured to landing can not be forced to ascend in a second.
You loose next 15-20m and fly in this time ap 350-400 m before
transisioning to ascending - in first seconds free"
"it takes a few second before plain reaches his max accending speed
in landing configuration. At the same time it is only after reaching
positive ascending that the chasis is hiding and position of
flaps to starting position decreases eg from 40 to 20 degrees.
This takes anogther few several seconds. I think crew using radio altimeter
wanted to approach to aprox. 50-60 m above ground and only than
do eventually go-around. It was not reasonable."
"additionally they forgot about ravine which bottom was about 1300 m from threshold
If it was not there if terrain was flat as they assumed they would manage to land.
but it seems to me that with 400 m visibility and approach speed
apprx. 135 knots (70m/s) little probable. or they would do succesful go-around...
.... How do i know? Because i have a few landing like that
behind me. and it also seemed to me that published minimas are for loosers
and not "ases" like me. Only i had a little more luck and stayed alive to point when
i was able to kick these ideas out of my head"

Somehow I also feel this is what could have happened. We (maybe) know more when some data from the recorders have been published.
Unfortunately, as of today, Polish authorities postpone the release date and started warning "this investigation is going to need much more time".
It seems for a reason unknown they are changing their plans now. Just a few days ago they were planning a recording script release for Thursday, now it not that clear any more.

21st Apr 2010, 08:34
Another interesting piece of info which has been mentioned by the locals- apparently together with the journalists a Polish flight control group arrived on the Yak-40, and they were in the ATC tower at the time of the 101 landing, not clear on what they were doing there exactly apart from watching.

21st Apr 2010, 10:21
I fully believe in the ravine theory.

21st Apr 2010, 11:46
Pavel Valerjevich Plusnin was "rukovoditel' poletov"/head of the flights'
group, in the Northern, on that day. There is his interview given to journalists on that day, telling about the "steady" line? flight? until suddenly the aircraft began losing height and they warned them, etc.
In the TV interview his face is not shown, only voice, but his name is given as exactly P.V. Plusnin.

All is fine except Smolensk forum people say it's not his voice.

And can hardly be because he is career officer and they can hardly imagine his media chat after the crash, even with his face not shown, he'd "lose epaulettes" for that.

Who the media interviewed, 2 hrs post the crash? unknown. May be someone, from the aerodrome, from the larger group, someone of civillians. Someone present in the control room, or who knows something.

So Smolensk "self-investigation group" remind each other that 1,500m distance away from runway is not confirmed, steady flight at 2,000 m distance away the runway is not confirmed, it is all "media".
The same media who kept saying there were 4 landing attempts, basing it by different "interviews" as well.

One thing they estblished for sure, the crash time, 16 minutes earlier than the "official", as went to their electricity board who had electricity line by the road torn by the plane, and the elctricity office record gave them minutes and seconds.

Between the crash and the start of the Polish TV broadcast (by the TV programme that the Poles quoted) of the ceremony there were 30 minutes left. They were in a hurry 100%, given that the delegation also had to get out of the plane and drive to the Katyn museum.

21st Apr 2010, 12:05
Power cut time makes more sense (10:39:50 Smolesnk time),
8:39 am Warsaw time, as TV broadcast of the church service was advertised as 9:10am beginning/introduction, 9:30am the service itself, Warsaw time.
At least, they were hurrying to make it, barely but they would, while with the official crash time they were already past making it, when in the air.

This could mean they had no time for a turn-around, the second go.

(It is very un-well to withhold the records because 2 countries worry, at least, something, they could have said. )

21st Apr 2010, 12:45
Pilot in command of the crash flight near Smolensk, Cpt. Arkadiusz Protasiuk, was also on the flight with the president in Tbilisi in 2008. One of the crew, PIC, was called coward after refusing landing due to bad conditions. - Could it affect the crew? - Monika Olejnik asked her guest, General Anatol Czaban, head of Air Force training.

According to the head of training of Polish Air Force Gen. Anatol Chabany, the pilot who crashed in Smolensk, might have wanted to check whether the conditions at the airport are really as bad as it reported by flight control.

ATC opinion is another view of the weather conditions from the land, another is from the plane, a Tupolev first pilot Arkadiusz Protasiuk knew that an hour before Yak-40 flown by less experienced pilot was landing at the airport Smolensk, so he could check to see if weather conditions were really bad.

"The pilot knew that the ceremony is important"

Czaban said that Protasiuk already flown several times in the Smolensk airport. He pointed out that an explanation of why the disaster happened is the matter of a special commission.

According to Czaban, the pilot "had to take into account several factors", such as the importance of Katyn ceremony and the fact that the delegation was late, and therefore "decided to check whether he can make it." - For some reason he has not taken the decision to divert - said the general. When asked if there is something like " VIP airplane syndrome", he said: - As I am 32 years in aviation, no one trains pilots to risk more than what is in legislation.

This pilot was called a coward because he did not want to land

- And how it has contributed to the accident, the famous situation when there was pressure on the pilot to land in Tbilisi? They had the pressure to land. Do you remember that the prosecutor investigated, and that the pilot was insulted as a coward - the program moderator, Monika Olejnik asked.

Arkadiusz Protasiuk in 2008 was then the second pilot in the crew, which refused the landing.

Czaban said that then the situation was different, because the airport in Tbilisi had been closed and did not accept any airplanes. - He and his colleagues of the crew were called cowards after refusing landing due to bad conditions - he said.

He said that the crew did not meet any unpleasant consequences and Protasiuk in that flight was the second pilot.

He also considered it unlikely that the crew before deciding to land has consulted with the Commander in Chief of the Polish Air Force Gen. Andrzej Błasik being on board of the flight.

He also rejected the supposition that the crew just before the landing attempt stopped feeding information about the height of the tower of the ATC due to language difficulties. He assured that Cpt. Protasiuk spoke Russian well.

Asked about the opinions of civilian pilots, according to which the landing attempt was inadmissible in these weather conditions, Czaban said that "the LOT (Polish Airlines) pilots generally operate to an airport and back," while military pilots flying in different places.

I leave it without comment.

W Smole?sku zgin?? pilot z za?ogi, gdzie by? 'pilot-tchrz' (http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80273,7796230,W_Smolensku_zginal_pilot__ktorego_Kaczynski_ kiedys.html)

21st Apr 2010, 12:48
"According to newspapers, the officials were supposed to say, that up to distance of 2 km (from runways threshold, or touchdown zone), everything looked fine and correct - the aircraft was 100 m above runway threshold elevation (even though the MDH - minimum descent height was 120 m). The aircraft than increased the rate of descent to 6-7 m/s. It is possible that the rate was even higher in later stages although it was not registered by the approach monitoring radar which, unlike PAR, has a delay 5 seconds."
"Сергей, you have done a great job. Based on available information and your hard work, only two primary reasons may be concluded. (1) Intentional descent by the crew below MDH, using primary RA and excluding baro altimeter from the scan"
"(2) Airspeed lost during level-off at 100 m above runway threshold elevation following by the development of high sink rate, initially not observed by the crew due to RA indications affected by the lowering terrain. There was not enough time and spare altitude to recover especially considering now rising terrain, In any case no help from EGPWS available, due to lack of XUBS in EGPWS database. If EGPWS was inhibited to avoid TCF warnings, also the RFCF warnings and altitude callouts were absent"
"If the information is true, that the aircraft was at 100 m height above threshold, at the distance of 2 km (from the runway threshold, I guess), then its altitude was 355 m AMSL (above mean sea level)."
"Anyone can verify that Smolensk airfield was not in the EGPWS database by entering its ICAO code XUBS into search window of EGPWS Mk. VIII airport database: MK VI & VIII Airport Search - Honeywell (http://egpws.com/forms/search_mk68.html) . This answers the question why the EGPWS did not warn the crew. It would give TCF (Terrain Clearance Floor funtion) warnings after descending through 700 feet (about 210 m) AGL above ground level, so the crew ignored the warnings or even inihibited EGPWS audio warnings to avoid distraction by them."
"For comparison one may enter EPWA (Warszawa/Okecie) and see the results. Inhibiting EGPWS audio to avoid "distracting" or "nuisance" warning casued that no RA altitude call-outs were inhibited as well. RFCF function was not available since the airport was not in the EGPWS database (because it was not measured according to WGS-84/PZ-90 and was not published in Russia AIP). More on that here: http://www51.honeywell.com/aero/common/documents/Terrain_Clearance_Floor.pdf with a classic example"
"The Presidential Tu-154 which crashed on 10th of April will become another sad example, why all airports should be in EGPWS database, even though it was not the primary reason for the crash - just a contributing factor."
"Regarding http://www51.honeywell.com/aero/common/documents/Terrain_Clearance_Floor.pdf "Height Above Field Alert Envelope refers to RFCF protection"
"Anybody can learn more about EGPWS by reading the EGPWS Pilot Manual: http://www51.honeywell.com/aero/common/documents/Mk_VI_VIII_EGPWS.pdf"
"Сергей, I do not accuse anybody. It is expensive to have the airport and surrounding obstacles measured in WGS-84/PZ-90. However the aircraft operator should consider before any operation if it is safe to land at such an airfield, especially in IMC, with low visibilities and ceilings. The operator shoulld have special procedures for such situations. And the crew should never, ever ignore EGPWS warnings or inhibit the EGPWS audio system."
"I would add however, that in most countries, including Poland, even small VFR-only airfields, which are published in AIP Poland, has been measured in WGS-84 and are included in EGPWS database providing the runway has suf ficient lenght. Since the airfield was used by state aircraft, including Russian state aircraft, it was not senseless to have it measured. But like I said before, it was kind to allow the use of airport, and the aircraft operator (Polish Air Force) should by thoroughly familiar"
"with all the limitations. I do not suggest that PAF should demand anything, and the airport management was not obliged to provide any extra facility or measures, including WGS-84/PZ-90 measurements. BTW, I know that measurements of all airports in Russia iaw PZ-90 has been on the way for some time. This is good for safety."
"This is just frustrating for a pilot, when he or she flies with EGPWS, and yet the great capabilities of this life-saving device are compromised, in case of airports which are not in the EGPWS database, and yet they have legal instrument approach procedure and can be used legally in IMC. This frustration is also mine. The EGPWS creators didn't envision such a possibility."
"Yet the decision is left in the hands of aircraft commander - to inhibit EGPWS audio warnings, or listen the nerve-wrecking "Too low! Terrain! Too low! Terrain!" throughout the last part of procedure flown in IMC, close to the ground."
"There is something very helpful in situation like that. It is called TLS (Transponder Landing System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transponder_Landing_System)), and is compatible with any airborne ILS avionics. A mobile version can be deployed in less than 3 hours, and gives the same capablities as conventional ILS. In certain aspects it is even better system. PAF should have one or two such system to be used on ocassions like that in Smolensk. But I'm just a pilot. As always, the governent knows "better"."
However, it is not clear to me, whether Russians would allow for such a mobile installation to be deployed at their airfield in Smolensk for several days. I am not aware if Russian version of TLS (if any is available) is compatible with ILS/TLS. Of course TLS needs flight inspection - it takes a few hours. And if not TLS, then JPALS: Joint Precision Approach and Landing System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Precision_Approach_and_Landing_System) . Maybe it's even better than TLS. PAF definitely need one."
"One remark on EGPWS - this is known now, that TAWS manufactured by Universal Avionics Systems was installed on board and not the Honeywell's EGPWS. Nevertheless the problem has been the same. XUBS airfield has been not in the database, causing initially nuisance warnings during approach, and therefore TAWS had been likely inhibited by the crew, or the warning had been ignored almost to the end by the crew (except for the very last RA altitude callouts)."

green line vertical speed 3m/s red 6m/s


21st Apr 2010, 13:15
One possibility is that the crew saw a hole over the valley and chose to drop through it with the intent to scud run the remaining distance to the runway.

Perhaps one of the locals in the valley at the time could tell us if the cloud deck was above the valley level.

21st Apr 2010, 14:00
I leave it without comment.
The "VIP syndrom argument" could be valuable provided that the pilot didn't know:

who would be in the plane, and
what is the weather in Smolensk, and
what is the time margin between the planned arrival and the beginning of the ceremony, and
all these facts were provided right after he took off.
Since this is clearly not the case - the Gen. Czaban's opinion remains his own opinion.
Furthermore, expressing publicly such an opinion before the investigation end, he - purportedly or not - blames pilots rather than passengers for the accident.

21st Apr 2010, 14:05
It's really depressing, but it looks more and more like a typical cover-up. Alice knows (and a huge thank you to You for giving an idea about the forums, I'm not THAT fluent in Russian!). No recordings released, times and data messed up...

As for my question that was supposed to be the only one - about landing on a slope - I understand a TU will still go down for some time (physics!) after starting a climb-up ('command' from the pilots' cabin). Does a pilot 'feel' when the gear touches the ground? And supposing these were the gear marks on this photo of the grassland, if the pilot had understood (is that possible at all?) that the gear was touching the land, could he have gone to the landing regime instead of trying to get up again? I'm sorry, I'm not fluent in aviation-English. Still the forum has been extremely interesting and good to read the opinions of people who really KNOW something.

21st Apr 2010, 15:14
Another explanation which has been offered (not by me, by a pilot) is that they ended up in the ravine not intentionally, due to whichever miscalculation, but due to a piloting error which lead to an uncontrolled increase in the vertical speed which they did not have time to correct. To a layman this sounds like they simply fell into it.

21st Apr 2010, 16:06
probie, you are very welcome. I don't know nothing, I am translator, if you wish, summarising from that blog over to this blog. Google Polish-Russian works very bad, as google itself say the quality-ty depends on the level of comms btw two langauges. Google English-Russian though works very well. It is because the translation system feeds on the internet material as it comes in, self-learning, on the way, not pre-set by the programme makers initially. I am glad if my translation helps - anybody.

From what I read TU154M once touching the ground can NOT go up on the second round again. Some IL can, TU - can't.

Tyre traces in grass were not found by Smolensk locals after someone published them, the photo. So they are not sure it ever touched ground. May be it was trampled over the place, later on, however the fact is - it's not there. The lowest it were established for fact is that 3 metres some centimetres, by measuring tape, from the first tree tops clipped down to the ground. They think it's not wheels but ? those flaps? under the aircraft "belly", let out in landing, as the tree tops were cut in very even straight line, like shaved.

They think the captain realised they are by the ground before the plane began clipping tree tops, as its "path" over the trees is "marked" so, shows it was in ascend way, already when in trees.
That the captain may be finally saw something straight in front of them before the plane hit the trees. Or they simply realised they are falling by own, how to say, normal senses feeling! before that. without any devices.

21st Apr 2010, 20:16
Tu-154 crash probe strives to clean 'noisy' voice recording (http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/04/20/340861/tu-154-crash-probe-strives-to-clean-noisy-voice-recording.html)
"Voice information is very noisy and there are many sections that need restoration," says the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK).
Is it actually unusual that the voice data are contaminated by a noise?

21st Apr 2010, 21:53

No it's not at all unusual. Many factors, including the type of recorder, the recording medium itself, the microphones, how those mics are worn or used, volume settings, as well as levels of background noise (engines, air con, fans, etc) -- all contribute to dimished clarity of voices.

Other noises on the recorders are also very useful to investigators (such as audible cockpit warnings, alarms, horns, etc), so enhancing and otherwise cleaning up the sounds on the tapes is often done, and sometimes quite necessary.

21st Apr 2010, 22:09
There are three other facts that confirm described here time of crash.(8:39)

1. Plane started from Warsaw at 7:23, planed time of flight ( in documents ) was 70 min so it give us 8:33
2. Plane with PM Tusk on 07-10-2010 was flying 80 min if President trip took also 80 min they will land on 8:43
3. President call his brother on 8:20 and said "lądujemy za kilkanaście minut" this means between 11-19 min this give us arrival time between 8:31 and 8:39

The question is why they are not giving us real time of the crash?

21st Apr 2010, 22:19
Excuse this quote from a literary gent who has a PPL.

It is a quote from a novel by Honore de Balzac which is curiously apposite given the terrain and partly explains the psychology behind this accident. Naturally not the complex aviation science but in the end fallible men are at the controls. In Warsaw I see it all the time in the driving too - everyone is in the Targa Florio race going to work.

In La Cousine Bette Balzac created the Polish nobleman Count Wenceslas Steinbock and wrote perceptively of Poles: . . . for if you show a Pole a precipice, he is bound to leap it. As a nation they have the very spirit of cavalry; they fancy they can ride down every obstacle and come out victorious.

This laudable attitude which was so famously successful in Spitfire Squadron 303 tragically failed on this occasion....

21st Apr 2010, 22:31
Exactly, and I believe this to be high on the list of "possibles", in the lack of further official information.
It fits.
Of course, it could be something else entirely.

21st Apr 2010, 23:55

Thanks for the scaled chart that shows the horizontal and vertical on the same scale.

What is your opinion of the following:

1) visibility - per this new version of the crash video (taken just minutes after the fact, the visibility appears to be along the lines of what has been reported - about 400 meters (at :45 in the video, it pans away from the smoke area to a clear view of the far side of the field.

YouTube - deshaked version of the plane crash footage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyGWiU0LuUg&feature=player_embedded)

Given this level of visability, how do you explain the AC flying so low in the first place. On your chart, were they to have 400m vertical visibility, they would have been able to see the ground during the approach for several miles.

Do you agree?

2) This photo of the port engine (?)

???-??????? Picasa - ?????? ?????? - ?????????????... (http://picasaweb.google.ru/Amlmtr/MWzNeJ#5462241782973958306)

has no indication of blade fracture or centrifugal slinging of debris - is there any chance this engine was under power at the time of the crash?
It appears the blades are largely intact despite the crushing of the housing and the mud seems to have been deposited onto a stationary rotor.

22nd Apr 2010, 04:49
Re QNH vs QFE, yes possible, but highly unlikely. You would have to press really hard to get a QNH from a military controller in Russia, difficult enough on an international airport. I guess they just succumbed to the pressure of having VIPs in the cabin and decided to have a look, and simply got it wrong.

22nd Apr 2010, 05:43
decided to have a look, and simply got it wrong

If the Chief of Training of the PAF suggest exactly what you have written,
than it's really hair rising...

Do they have a procedure in their training "have a look" ???


"The pilot knew that the ceremony is important"

Czaban said that Protasiuk already flown several times in the Smolensk airport. He pointed out that an explanation of why the disaster happened is the matter of a special commission.

According to Czaban, the pilot "had to take into account several factors", such as the importance of Katyn ceremony and the fact that the delegation was late, and therefore "decided to check whether he can make it." - For some reason he has not taken the decision to divert - said the general. When asked if there is something like " VIP airplane syndrome", he said: - As I am 32 years in aviation, no one trains pilots to risk more than what is in legislation.


Google T?umacz (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://www.tokfm.pl/Tokfm/1,103085,7796230,Gen__Czaban__Pilot_podjal_decyzje_na_sprawd zanie_czy.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.pl&usg=ALkJrhgQGW_PaEf2WWH2IHc6kTgAlkIuXg)

Gen. Czaban: Pilot podj?? decyzj? na sprawdzanie czy si? uda (http://www.tokfm.pl/Tokfm/1,103085,7796230,Gen__Czaban__Pilot_podjal_decyzje_na_sprawd zanie_czy.html)

22nd Apr 2010, 09:26
re "why they don't give us the exact time of the crash"; Smolensk site believes that 16 min later is when it was officially, like, verified, may be ? written in some procedural ? books. Registered. May be the time when the aerodrome staff and the meeting, Polish group staff - made it onto the scene.

First were definitely fire brigades, they drove the run-way and turned right into the? field - but stuck there - the first truck turned around spoke it's no go from this side, drove the run-way back, so that others don't follow them here, and they drove to the crash side from the outer, other side.

But they find important to pin-point it as several media wrote "at 8:50 the plane ...." "flying over... and "at 9 o'clock the aircraft" noting that at "8:50" the aircraft and at "9 o'clock" "the aircraft" - did nothing of the kind. As has crashed already.

There was even a joke there, on the site, that the investigation committees - Polish and Russian - wait for what this on-line Smolesnk investigation blog has to say on the matter - afraid to publish something - and get wrong - against Smolesnk forum facts!

22nd Apr 2010, 09:40
Anyone can comment on this?

In Presidential Tupolev the system - according to Colonel. Pietrzak - was probably blocked. Both the aircraft types Boeing , Airbus or other, which have TAWS, if the pressure is given in absolute sea level, do not use it because it will provide false information - said the colonel.

Full text:
Google Translate (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80277,7800848,Prezydencki_TU_154_mial_zablokowany_wazny_sy stem_ostrzegawczy_.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhiJca0ou56NHR5kj4-MsL_6ZX0iKQ)

22nd Apr 2010, 09:52
On this page photos of two sample fogs in Smolensk; poster Aml.
The general view over the forest and by the wall going around the old town.

? ????????? ???? ??????? &bull; ?????????? ????? (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48375&start=6280)

The photo with one big building is fog in another city.

22nd Apr 2010, 14:09
There is polish investigation team press conference right now.
About CVR:
Seremet: Decission about black box records (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=nl&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80273,7803216,Seremet__Decyzja_o_ujawnianiu_tresci_nagran_ dopiero.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhhqPYPuzdlC3IoUFVv9k0K3L8rt2A)

22nd Apr 2010, 15:44
Tonden, the link you gave has been edited (censored?) in the meantime.

Here is the link to the original interview with Col. Pietrzak.

Tomasz Pietrzak: Tupolew mia? zblokowany system ostrzegawczy (TAWS) - Wywiady - Opinie w RMF24 (http://www.rmf24.pl/opinie/wywiady/kontrwywiad/news-tomasz-pietrzak-tupolew-mial-zblokowany-system,nId,273873)

Google T?umacz (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://www.rmf24.pl/opinie/wywiady/kontrwywiad/news-tomasz-pietrzak-tupolew-mial-zblokowany-system,nId,273873&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.pl&usg=ALkJrhjJzdIXVS_vE-tHMj4xSYHqHxO-CA)

22nd Apr 2010, 16:17
How come no one is talking abt the Tu-204 which crashed in near identical circumstances a month ago?

Those guys tried to land in poor viz w/o ILS and they landed in the trees short of the runway. The Polish Prez plane tried to land sans ILS and they crashed in the trees short of the rwy. Am I the only one who is detecting a pattern here? Maybe it's not such an easy thing to do.

22nd Apr 2010, 16:43
The Tu-204 accident was mentioned by me on this thread,
but at the beginning and in the context of engine failure.

In the meantime the engine failure has been more or less eliminated
as the reason for the accident, therefore the Tu-204 has been more or less

But I think, it would be interesting to know more.

Anyone form Russia knows anything more?

22nd Apr 2010, 16:47
QNH/QFE is not an issue.
There is a radio altimeter on board.
With this type of terrain it had shown 8 meters (or ZERO) at the time of first tree impact.
Radio altimeters are precise and redundant they have a warning flag as they fail.
The typical OCH for an NDB approach is something like 60 or 100 meters RADIO ALTITUDE (RA).

How to continue to fly with an indication of ZERO is a miracle to me, unless they thought they are overhead the runway.

22nd Apr 2010, 17:03
The first (outer) NDB was 6km instead of 4 km from the runway in Smoleńsk.

So after flying 4 km from the outer NDB they expected to be over the runway,
although the haven't found or got the inner (second) NDB marker.

The firat impact and 0m altimeter was 4 km from the first NDB.
So they might have expected to be over the runway there.

Also bear in mind, that due to the ravine the RA readings just
few seconds before were 100m or more, quite confusing...

22nd Apr 2010, 17:34
The tu-204 preliminary report:

* Pilots didn't inform ATC that ILS wasn't used
* Apparently, there are indications on CVR that a GPS navigation system was used instead
* Last message from ATC to pilots was that they were left of glideslope, crash occured while they tried a course correction

22nd Apr 2010, 17:53
>> re Tu204

No, no mention of any engine probs in the official materials posted so far. With the ILS indicators out, they were trying to land using nav aids which were available (whatever those were).

22nd Apr 2010, 19:00
Just a quick question .
If there was a plane landing just before the tragic crash , why no one bothered to
interwiev pilots of that plane about language that they were using to talk to control tower , what correction for altimeter was given , what kind of approach was it
etc. ? and also aids avaliable ? If I'm right it was less than an hour before .
So lights before runway for example should be same.
Sorry if I'm talking bull...

22nd Apr 2010, 19:26
Thoughts about the engine turbine intact.
Everythig at high rpms exposed to impact tend's to self destruct very fast.
Try to lift and drop running vacuum cleaner ( which is sort of a turbine ) and see the insides after. So looks like engine wasn't runnig at high rpms when pilot was trying to pull up ( full throttle ? ) . Strange ? Dont know how much time it takes to spin up , so maybe didnt , becouse there wasn't enough time.
That maybe another bullsh..
Sorry if it is

22nd Apr 2010, 19:55
Exactly my point.

Here is a fan that shows the typical damage when it impacts under power.


This is not seen on the Polish engine and it leads one to think it was not under power.

22nd Apr 2010, 20:57
Ptkay, you've asked on TU204. That was indeed quite recent and MAK still researches. Nobody hurries them, because not much public pressure, no casualties and all at home, all, how to say, ours.
Unlike this highly politicised case.
I can look up at MAK site what they have published on TU204.
MAK-Mezh Avia Commission-Btw States Avia Commission-working for the Commonwealth. we have a Commonwealth here, ex-USSR countries minus Georgia and Baltics, let me see, 15-4, commission for 11 countries. Say, 10. Ukraine goes in :o), goes out :o), and others fluctuate, it's flexible Commonwealth.

What I heard is TU204 - for strarters - had a fire all along :o), on the way to some health resort, full of passangers. Now, on arrival, forgot to where, Egypt? all passangers ran away out of it very happy, and returning to Moscow passangers naturally didn't board, because who will take them. Given they were so lucky they flew with fire on board the whole way and landed. So the crew in that unknown place fixed themselves a bit as they could and flew back home. And crashed in forest, in approach to airport. And survived. So we don't even know, given the circumstances, if to consider this plane travel as unlucky or actually incredibly lucky.

22nd Apr 2010, 21:07
TU204 didn't turn over, that was lucky. Though they left behind them a whole path of trees fallen and cut. And didn't blow up, no fire. And din't fall into small pieces, like TU154M here, but as they say eh? collapsed along the sewing lines? where they forged it together, the metal, when making it. Into big pieces cracked, along the production "lines".

Now the TU154M (the forum disputes) must have landed on roof, which is bad, because floors are strengthened, for the case of "landing on the belly", and roofs aren't, these TU-s are not supposed to fly upside down, they are not avia show destroyers.
TU154 can make a "barrel" in the air, turn over and fly further on, but this was just done once, by a naughty graduate, his name is famous, as his study in the piloting academy ended for him on that trick, no qualification, 5 years of study lost.

22nd Apr 2010, 21:24
As for lighting in the Northern, nobody in the forum knows was it on or off during Kachinsky plane arrival.
This knows the Polish side, and MAK now, because whatever it was - the crew was briefed on that by the Russian aerodrome, before taking off from Warsaw. It is part of the procedure - they say - briefing the travelling side will there be lights on or off in the day time. As they briefed them about the weather - must be have briefed them about the lights by the runway expecting them.

Smolensk explained the system at Northern aerodrome is
day time - no lights
day time fog and other visibility problems - yes lights on
night time - lights on.

At that, they switch them on differently, and may be carry back and forward some, the difference is between "day time fog" mode and "night time".

At "day time fog" - the ones in front of the runway - are positioned like open gates, and are turned towards the aircraft approaching. They are like? positioned as open gates, at an angle, widening outside. To meet the plane, and light - towards the plane.

At night time the ones in front of the runway - are turned and positioned differently - no "gates" are formed, and no light turned towards the aircraft, but all are pointed at the runway, inside.

Along the runway they have something permanent, digged in forever, and what it is in immediate approach to the runway - these are various funny buckets perched on on some beton poles, chunks, digged into the ground.

As I understood they are also in different colour, green ones are solid, and the yellow ones the forum suspected like, look like improvised very much.

Anyway - whatever it was - colours at military aerodrome and the position - pointed inside or pointed outside or not switched on at all - Warsaw must have been briefed about, before the take off. It's part of the briefing procedure when such, basically, charter flights, one off, are organised.

22nd Apr 2010, 21:34
The main news of today is that there isn't news, what was promised to be told today in Poland was not told. Recording content not published.
There was a press-conference in Poland but they managed to speak for a long time and say nothing.

Smolensk forum now lays hopes only on tape records leak into internet.
It's Russia, after all; someone should have mercy on ordinary locals of both countries lost in theories (one wilder than another) and in ideas and put the contents out.
MAK has the tapes but won't publish the content of talks in a foreign aircraft - unless Poland gives agreement.
MAK though can publish talks of own aerodrome with the aircraft, our ground, our control tower, in our jurisdiction - to make public or not.
But may be they were asked by Poland to hold on a bit.

The crew was identified last and is only today will be flown to Warsaw from Moscow.

22nd Apr 2010, 22:09
That the outer NDB is about 6 km from the runway threshold instead of 4 is irrelevant. I doubt such a so-called "standard" would exist in any regulation worldwide. As PJ2 explained, an approach has to be prepared using a specific chart on which all the necessary information is printed.

A possible QFE / QNH confusion appears remote since the crew was certainly "current" on the russian altimetry procedures and had a recent experience. It seems an erroneous reference pressure (QFE most probably) like an error on the next to last digit would be more consistent with the position of the first tree hit (assuming that a correct vertical speed was used).

Obviously, such an error could have multiple sources. One of them could be bad radio transmissions. By the way, ATC reported the crew had problems understanding numbers. Whilst the captain was said to be a fluent russian speaker we don't know who was tasked with radio transmissions.

Just a theory...


22nd Apr 2010, 22:09
"We have reason to believe that the implementation of the third proposal of the Polish side to the Russian legal aid - to pass the record of the preliminary analysis of flight recorders, is likely to be implemented in next two weeks' - said Seremet "Until we receive the rest of the evidence that Polish side acquired from the Russian's, Polish prosecutors can not make a decision on disclosure of their contents" - general attorney added
General Attorney Andrew Seremet

google translation from polish that I've tried to fix. Still may be bad

That mean's maybe 4 weeks after crash . Why ?

22nd Apr 2010, 22:28

That mean 4 weeks , after crash . Why ?That's very short . 4 weeks .... do you not stay waiting for the release of the ones of the Beirut crash ? :)


22nd Apr 2010, 22:32
2) This photo of the port engine (?)

???-??????? Picasa - ?????? ?????? - ?????????????... (http://picasaweb.google.ru/Amlmtr/MWzNeJ#5462241782973958306)

has no indication of blade fracture or centrifugal slinging of debris - is there any chance this engine was under power at the time of the crash?
It appears the blades are largely intact despite the crushing of the housing and the mud seems to have been deposited onto a stationary rotor.

It's a stator, not a fan disc - D-30 is a two-shaft low-bypass turbofan engine, referred to as a "bypass turbojet"; see photo: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Solowjow_D-30_III.jpg


22nd Apr 2010, 22:47
Hi jcjeant
just briefly looked at that thread
and you are right ,comparing to that , 4 weeks is short
but the question is , why ?
why not kill all the rumours and conspiracy theories and give information to the people?
why all that we are getting is more like missinformation ?
is there something to hide ?
in both cases

22nd Apr 2010, 23:06

When politics and money and other vested interests meet it's always somethings to hide or coverup.
It's why it will be better to have another system of investigations than the existing one.
Why not for the investigations a international independent panel of experts and for the legal side a court of justice completely independent like the International court of justice of Den Hague ?

22nd Apr 2010, 23:18
You are absolutely right about independent investigation.
But we all know that it will never come true :(

22nd Apr 2010, 23:42
There can be many reasons for delay.
The crew not even buried yet - one.
Polish Presidential elections - two. Where the party of late President is about to put forward from them Kachinsky's own twin brother.
Waiting for the interest to die out, public attention re-switching onto something new - and then release the materials - three.
Hard to say.
But surely absence of even minimum data only feeds rumours and at present helps to build up tensions.

22nd Apr 2010, 23:45
Victory day as well. That Poland comes to celebrate with us in 3 weeks' time.

22nd Apr 2010, 23:45
PJ2, for dual NDB approaches in Russia, an OCH (obstacle clearance height above the threshold or the airfield elevation) is defined, typically somewhere between 90 to 150 meters (≈ 290' to 490'), which for a typical Russian 240' glideslope corresponds to about 1900 to 3200 meters of horizontal visibility. Obviously, the reported wx was not quite adequate for these minimums.

23rd Apr 2010, 09:47
Self-correction on TU-204.
It didn't fly having "fire all along on board" . But a smoke initially, at some wire in the cabin, returned back to airport, checked/fixed it, and took off again, with the same passangers on board.

Sorry, I am no aviator; what I wrote initially is what our Russian newspaper told us.
See what media does with us general audiences :o)

23rd Apr 2010, 10:03
Rachinsky, Commander of the Polish Air Force regiment (special regiment No 36), part of which the crew were, told in the interview to the Polish TVN24 that
"it is painful for me to hear in mass media information that Capt. Protasiuk didn't know Smolensk aerodrome. He was flying there every year on Katyn' tragedy anniversary. Sometimes was flying there twice a year. The aerodrome he knew excellently well." and "I don't have one other pilot who flew to Smolesnk as frequently as Protasiuk." "Did he make a mistake or not - only the investigation can tell."

Protasiuk became Commander of the crew in 2008, after the previous one retired, but overall he was flying the Polish leaders for 13 years."

From other sources Protasiuk graduated from Air Force academy in 1997, and then had 2 higher educations more on top. One Diploma in journalism and politology, the next Diploma technical again, in cybernetics.

23rd Apr 2010, 10:47
Hi jcjeant
just briefly looked at that thread
and you are right ,comparing to that , 4 weeks is short
but the question is , why ?
why not kill all the rumours and conspiracy theories and give information to the people?
why all that we are getting is more like missinformation ?
is there something to hide ?
in both cases

One thing is sure for me. They did it in a most inappropriate and irresponsible way they could. :ugh:
Why did they promise to release the full script on Thursday, then organized a press conference to say "obviously we have to wait for this and that and that, not sure if we can release anything before the investigation has been finished"???

23rd Apr 2010, 11:00

23rd Apr 2010, 11:45
from Sergey Amielin blog posts by Tom tu154 pilot
"It's interesting to observe the location of runway thresholds, inner and outer NDB in the Google Earth. Did the crew use the runway 26 threshold raw coordinates (from the chart) with their FMS to assist with the approach? It would explain they were slightly to the south. Definitely the coordinates are not iaw WGS-84 or PZ-90.02. Did they create VNAV profile in FMS? Did they err with meters and feet, AMSL (above mean sea level), AAL (above aerodrome level) - these are some of the questions - need CVR asap."

One can observe divergences between the true runway course indicated on the chart 266d46m and true runway course in Google Earth 266d73m. All coordinates seem to be shifted to the east by 180-300 m, but while runway threshold coordinates are shifted 30 m to the south, the inner NDB coordinates are shifted to the north by 100 m. I wonder if and what coordinates were entered to FMS by the crew"

23rd Apr 2010, 12:08
... both planes had radio contact with each other. In their view, the crew talked with them when the presidential Tupolev was still in the air, and Yak-40 has landed on the airport runway.

Pilots passed the information to colleagues about the weather in Smolensk. They said that the weather is getting worse by the minute- say newspaper informants. In particular, warned of the thickening fog. One of the pilots' claims that such correspondence is a kind of procedure that apply to pilots of the squad - whenever possible, to communicate important information to their colleagues.

Google T?umacz (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://wiadomosci.gazeta.pl/Wiadomosci/1,80273,7805185,Jak_40_ostrzegal_przed_mgla.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.pl&usg=ALkJrhhxHXZ_cRtPU8NphJ75PDX1d6Czog)

23rd Apr 2010, 12:41
The map confirms 6.1 km outer NDB and 1.1 km inner NDB.
2.40 deg glide slope.

300m at outer, 70m at inner.

23rd Apr 2010, 13:01

I am not sure that is the stator - the Polish jet photo looks like the nacelle popped off fully exposing the fan.

NASA - Making Future Commercial Aircraft Quieter (http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/about/fs03grc.html)

In any case, lets call it a widgit.

Now if this widgit was spinning at 30,000 RPM , would you expect the blades to be damaged/missing once the crash crushed the housing?


23rd Apr 2010, 13:55
the person who took video of the plane crash, was found mudered. (today s news)
do you still think this is an accident and it has to be investigated as such?

23rd Apr 2010, 13:59
Any link to the news?
Fact or rumour?

23rd Apr 2010, 14:11
fact. its already in latvian media as well.
if u know russian language and want to google directly, use translit.ru , that will help u to get news directly.
i don 't think western world knows much about these accidents, political situation and all the aspects, that's why i never read western media sources, as they run on the google translated materials (in most of the cases) and they don 't know, where to look.
i'll get u links shortly. brb

23rd Apr 2010, 14:16
Someone spread this rumour in comments on websites, and not it lives its own life...

23rd Apr 2010, 14:22
Unfortunately the prolonged dribbling on publishing
the CVR tapes or transcripts is provoking such rumours...

23rd Apr 2010, 14:26
i'll translate literally:
april 15 th nearby Kiev, was found murdered man, who april 10th tool a video (the same video we heard gun shots.( RED. i personally think, that wasn't gunshots at all, that was several explosions of amunition onboard. in video i heard men yelling "back! everybody step back!")) at the crash site of Polish government jet.
the reports about this are in polish and ukrainian internet forums ,also in kavkazcenter.com.
authot of this video was stabbed and people ,involved aren 't identified yet. the victim in critical condition was transfered to the hospital, but april 16 th he was attacked 2nd time by 2 men in masks. he was stabbed again, this time- lethally. the information (RED. video itself and the fact of the attack) nobody didn't deny by officials, but they didn't confirm it as well. although the crash scene, we can see in this video, is precise and match the photos, taken at the crash site. this video, was shown in Moscow TV channel, censored, though. shortly before that even appeared in youtube in full lenght.
i have attached youtube link as well. if u follow related links, u might find out more about this.
if u need my help with russian, give me a shout in mailbox.

http://ads.diena.lv/www/delivery/lg.php?bannerid=1545&campaignid=808&zoneid=300&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.diena.lv%2Flat%2Fpolitics%2Farzemes%2Fn ogalinats-pie-polijas-prezidenta-lidmasinas-uznemta-video-autors&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.diena.lv%2Flat%2Fpolitics%2Farzemes %2Flidmasinas-avarija-krievija-87-bojagajusie-lidmasina-atradies-ari-polijas-prezidents%3Fcomments%3D25&cb=43ed09c8df pilna tā versija You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxIFh3NkEvM&feature=player_embedded).

denied? today it had appeared (AGAIN) and already was denied? WOW! such a rush! := as i said- the true story will not be disclosed. that's all.

http://ads.diena.lv/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=300&n=1730363 (http://ads.diena.lv/www/delivery/ck.php?n=1730363)

23rd Apr 2010, 15:33
the person who took video of the plane crash, was found mudered

A story which was reported by several outlets, then found to be untrue and subsequently denied. But what's one more piece of unverified information...? :hmm:

23rd Apr 2010, 16:09
I dont know if the following has already been mentioned - but may be of interest, Some time after the discovery of the mass graves - In 1943 the head of the Polish Govt in exile in the UK - General Sikorsky- suffered a similar fate to the recent Polish aircrash when shortly after taking off from Gibralter in a British Liberator his a/c crashed into the Straights of Gibralter.

Rumours have abounded ever since that this was a deliberate assassination - with Russian and even British Government involved - On the basis that the General had become an embarrassment for the British at a time we were seeking to please Stalin.

It is understood that to this day the British Govt are unwilling to release
certain relative documents.

23rd Apr 2010, 16:14
Hi all.
Looks like Mike is right about that part being a stator not a fan.
Just looked at that foto again and those "blades" visible are not angled.
They are parallel to the flow of air .

Polish internet portal annouced that official time of the crash ( 8:56 ) was wrong.

Onet.pl Wiadomo?ci (http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/2159992,28350,wiadomosceu.html)

23rd Apr 2010, 17:31
Russia saw that video titled "3 FSB men shooting down survivors of the crash in the smoking debris" :o))))))))))))))))))))))

Sorry, I know that laughing is un-appropriate in this case, but it seems to me, really, how to say, maniacy approach.
I looked all my eyes out trying to see any thing in that film and hear, as was urged to (it stops every 5 sec and says "we repeat again - watch! listen!" someone said a word - this is the name of the pistol that KGB used in 1937 - we recognise the word!) but honestly, apart from "Damn, xxxx!" (in Russian) haven't "seen" or "heard" any thing.
I think someone saw the crash site.

There are dozens of links to journalists video-s from the crash site, done immediately after, in youtube. The crash site was invaded by journalists from all sides. It always ends up by quarrel with some big Russian guy, in ab. 2-3 minutes of shooting the scene, some shaking of camera :o), beginning to show sky and ground, and you hear in Russian get out and stop this and how you dare - and swearing a lot.
Apparently at this point the camera is being grabatised from the journalist.

Note, though, that the Poles visiting Smolesnk forum have all noted, that if their Polish security took the camera-s - the journalists would never get their film back, to put into youtube.

23rd Apr 2010, 17:33
Foxie, there are other sites on the net for this nonsense, give us a break.

23rd Apr 2010, 17:53
pasir, Sikorsky is national Polish Hero, buried in Wawel cathedral, where all the kings are. Archives on him in the UK classified, yes. For 50 yrs longer, still. Famous mystery crash and Russians we always interested, because could be us :o), could be not at all.
For Stalin, though, Sikorsky was useful, as he declared war to the USSR, on behalf of Polish government in exile. And thus un-tied Stalin's hands in terms of thinking what to do with captured Polish officers. Sikorsky was a live proof USSR and Poland are officially in the state of war.

23rd Apr 2010, 19:05
There has been one press appearance of MAK.

"MAK Investigation committee, based on black boxes data, inform that TAWS was on during the President Kachinsky flight and was not switched off."
("Poland and Russia agreed to jointly address the producer for further clarifications.")

23rd Apr 2010, 19:43
And yesterday news: "MAK informs that info from the recorder of the parameters and the speech recorder has been synchronised, incl. the in-put of data from control point (aerodrome) recorder and the results received from desiphering of the plane exploitation registering devices on-board".

23rd Apr 2010, 21:43
And there is no such a simple thing as the *whole* descent profile data, not just the last mile or so? Also, couldn't have been that the a/c lost power (someone posted a photo of the turbine, which seemed to suggest that possibility) and that would explain the sudden altitude loss?

23rd Apr 2010, 21:45
Some calculations fr Smolensk forum.
Standard Russian glissade - 2.66 (2 degrees 40 minutes). And theoretically, the TU in Nortern should have followed this route:
Far Beacon distance 6,100m, height 300m.
Near Beacon 1,100m, height 70m.

Let's count:
tan(2.66/180*pi)*6100 = 283.4008 (edge of the runway, height 17m)
tan(2.66/180*pi)*(6100-1100) = 232.2957 (when above Near Beacon, height 68-70m.)

(Checked by Windowds in-built computation ? device
2.66 tg * 6100= 283,40076306540161906494420247723 m)

Now, an Aml idea. "What if the navigator, instead of Russian 2.66 took IKAO recommended 3 degree glissade? Then, to the edge of the glissade the plane arrive at -20m; nearly 40 m difference to what it should have been. While they were going over the ravine all was compensated more or less. But then there started the climb up of the terrain and I think at approx. 1,200m from the edge of the runway the systems warned them of the dangeous nearing the surface. At 1,200m away from the runway, lowering at 3 degrees, they'd have height 46m from runway level - at the planned height of 72m.
On finding this, the crew changed regimes for take-off at which point the aircraft sank even lower. An idea to think over."

23rd Apr 2010, 22:59
As I've mentioned before , it was confirmed in Poland that plane crashed earlier than official version stated.
In polish article they stated that the original time was the time when siren in the airport went off .
So it's almost 15 minutes after , as we knew before .
Now , the famous video from youtube . The title sais "first minutes after..." , but thats when the siren starts , so it look's like it's 15 minutes after . No sign of fire or firefighters . They didn't know that plane crashed couple hundred meters from the airport ?
From what I understand video was made from the spot where engine and tail of the plane was left .
Actual haul was about 100 meters away ? Not really visible from the camera.
That's when all analysys of that clip with "people" shown becomes stupid.
Why would you climb on the engine and jump of it . And that is the "first" survivor (pilot :confused:) found in this video .
The audio from this clip is a different story. I mean the background ( from 100 meters away , where the haul is ? ) It is bad , but you can hear shouting in russian and it sounds like someone is trying to scare bypassers off . who ? It's military airport ,so I'm assuming that it was either army or some sort of securty , maybe ? and gunshots ? It sounds like gunshots , and before anyone start laughing at me , I was in the army , and I realy know how the gunshots sound like. I was listening to the audio from that clip after I've done some work with editing it with cool edit ( proffesional software ).
This is not a theory or idea.
Only my though's and doubt's
please comment or share your's
but without conspiracy theories

24th Apr 2010, 13:57
These "gunshots" are just the wind hitting the camcorder mike. If you ever held a camcorder you'll know it.

Mods, can someone clean up these conspiracy theorists please?

24th Apr 2010, 15:01

I dont know which one of you took care of last night's interruptions by S of D, but thank you so so much. I was hoping I would wake up this morning to find it all was a bad dream. Perhaps it was!


Old School Flyer
24th Apr 2010, 15:30
Good Lord, this thread has turned into the National Enquirer. Enough with the conspiracy theories and wild unfounded conjectures already. Find a forum on the net more suited to this type of garbage, plenty of them out there. This isn't the place. Newbies.....take a hint. A big hint. Buy some Imodium and give it a rest.

24th Apr 2010, 16:50
Cpt. Grzegorz Pietruczak, PIC of the flight:

"The president came to the cockpit and asked, gentlemen, who is the head of the armed forces?" I answered, You, Mr President. So, please fulfil my order and fly to Tbilisi - the President said, and walked out without waiting for any explanation. "

This excerpt from the account Cpt. Pietruczuk Gregory, who on 12 August 2008 commanded the crew of the presidential plane which was flying to Azerbaijan. Quotation comes from the file of the investigation, which was ran in autumn 2008 by the military prosecutor's office, checking whether Pietruczuk committed a crime, because he did not follow orders of President Lech Kaczynski.

Witness and participant in the conflict of his commander with the president was Cpt. Arkadiusz Protasiuk - the second pilot.

After almost 20 months, 10 April 2010, he commanded the Tupolev, which, with the president and 95 people on board crashed at the airport in Smolensk. In both flights Mjr. Robert Grzywna also took part as the navigator.

No comment on my side. :ugh:


More... Google T?umacz (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=pl&tl=en&u=http://wyborcza.pl/1,75478,7808706,Incydent_gruzinski.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.pl&usg=ALkJrhh6wDRSe8IWQwDNIDkL6D7tjzWddA#ixzz0m2Mazn6X)

(Sorry, in this case google translation sucks...)

Original here:

Incydent gruzi?ski (http://wyborcza.pl/1,75478,7808706,Incydent_gruzinski.html)

24th Apr 2010, 18:26
The source you linked is from "Gazeta Wyborcza", a major Polish newspaper that has always been very hostile to President Kaczynski and his political formation.
40 min. ago in the main Polish TV news, a couple of witnesses who were onboard of that flight to Tbilisi in 2008 denied the "revelations" of the newspaper you quoted. One of them was Kaczynski's assisstant who was with him all the time during that travel, the other one - a well-known Polish publicist who flew with them to Georgia. They both confirmed there indeed was a disagreement between Kaczynski and the pilot but on the ground in Ukraine during a waystop where they were taking onboard the President of Ukraine. Nothing like the President walking into cockpit inflight happended. They stated that after this disagreement it was clear to all that the flight was bound to Dagestan the moment it took off from Ukraine. They said the PIC at some point indeed was ordered to divert to Tbilisi but it was an order received by fax given by Polish Minister of Defence. The PIC decided not to carry out this order for safety reasons.

My conclusions:
- as it was stated a number of times in this thread, one should take media reports with a grain of salt, especially if "news" come from media engaged in political struggle
- so far, both Polish and Russian official sources have said there is no evidence of any influence/pressure on the pilots prior to the crash
- even if the 2008 incident had looked exactly as presented by "Wyborcza" newspaper, in my personal opinion, the experienced military pilots from an elite air regiment can hardly be considered so mentally fragile that they could (if needed) breach any procedures fearing that "the president would be angry". Especially if in 2008 the pilot did not face any career-wise consequences for his decision (some say he was even awarded a medal). Poland is not a banana republic.
- grief period in Poland is over. Political war is erupting again, especially as it enters a very short unplanned presidential election campaign. Today's large publication in "Wyborcza" may just be a bullet in this political war with arguable relevance to the 2010 TU154 crash but being a fuel for political discussions.

24th Apr 2010, 19:30
It was announced that on wednesday information from investigation will be passed to the public.
I'm really looking forward to this.
origin :
Kiedy opinia publiczna dowie si?, co sta?o si? w Smole?sku? - Wiadomo?ci - WP.PL (http://wiadomosci.wp.pl/kat,1342,title,Kiedy-opinia-publiczna-dowie-sie-co-stalo-sie-w-Smolensku,wid,12204908,wiadomosc.html)

I've tried google tranlation to include some quotations , but it's a mess

24th Apr 2010, 20:52
The plane, after hiting first trees, cut a power line. According to the latest news, it was 10:39:35. So, the plane crashed at 10:40 and not at 10:56.


24th Apr 2010, 21:02
this is veery old information :)
confirmed by polish officials

24th Apr 2010, 21:44
Nope. So far there were only rumors and even yesterday, the official information was that maybe, maybe the crash was some 10 minutes earlier than 10:56.
This time it's not a rumor. It comes from the local Smolensk energy company and their control systems. Source: Sergiei Amelin.


24th Apr 2010, 21:45
few pages back there was fierce discussion about the fact, that they descended bellow the minima in order to land. I saw this kind of "approach" several times by crew of L-410 (Turbolet) when LVP were in force with 150 m RVR..but they contiued approach with very low speed and HOPING they will end up over the runway. They were lucky. I was stupid to allow them to proceede. After Smolensk I will not allow anyone to perform approach when it is obvious that they are neither equipped nor trained for CAT III approaches (type of aircraft is strong indicator of that).

24th Apr 2010, 21:50

24th Apr 2010, 22:00
From today's newsru.com

The Polish delegation lead by the Minister of national defence of Poland Bogdan Klihom on Saturday visited Moscow Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) and took note of the preliminary data investigation into the crash of the President plane in Smolensk.
"The Polish delegation was informed of the preliminary results of the investigation by the technical Commission of the IAC. Answers provided satisfied the Polish side, as was stated to Interfax by IAC.
"The Minister was given the opportunity to listen to in full to record of voice emergency recorder and familiarize yourself with the preliminary results of joint processing of parametric and voice recorders," stated in the Committee.
IAC also said that the Committee head Tatyana Anodina asked head of the military Department of Poland for "data on the preparation of the crew and aircraft to flight, noting that the Russian side has scrupulously provides technical Commission all necessary materials for investigation".

24th Apr 2010, 22:27
sorry to disappoint you, but nothing "confirmed by Polish offcials" in yesterday's article you are quoting. Just some press rumors, like many, many others, this time even without any precise final conclusion. As for now, the 10:56 time, even if wrong, still offcially remains.
There were many other, earlier rumors about the time of the crash, but again, only rumors.
Sergei's information is precise and based on hard facts. Quite a difference here.


24th Apr 2010, 22:45
Didn't Russians confirm that the power outage occured at 1039? And the Polish journalist who filmed the aftermath confirmed he did it at 1047, a few minutes after the event.

24th Apr 2010, 23:07
Are you sure it's official? I don't think anything can be called official right now. It was simply reported by media as having happened at 1056, and so far stayed that way. But now reports are coming up it might have actually happened earlier.

25th Apr 2010, 02:42
YouTube - Bu?at Okud?awa - Las smole?ski (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4Qggda6tgk&playnext_from=TL&videos=tA3OWTCckUA)

25th Apr 2010, 07:46
ten minutes earlier... doesn't it indicate the tower was not up to their task? 10 min is a long time to discover the approaching plane has crashed practically 'under your nose', isn't it?

P.S did the power cut include the tower?

25th Apr 2010, 10:39
The crash was at 10:40. The alarm was sounded at 10:56.
According to the Polish journalist, who was a witness of the crash from the window of the nearby hotel, he was at the crash site around 10:47 and you can see the first firemens arrive some 2 minutes later on his film.

Now, a question comes to my mind.
Temp. around 0-1 Celsius. Heavy fog. Cold plane.


25th Apr 2010, 10:59
Why do you assume first alarm was sounded at 1056? And if so, why first firemen a few minutes earlier. Also, if you read reports from similar accidents, it's not unusal for alarm to be started 5-6 minutes after the crash.

25th Apr 2010, 13:46

Why do you assume first alarm was sounded at 1056? And if so, why first firemen a few minutes earlier.
Methink some have to buy a Rolex :rolleyes:

25th Apr 2010, 14:26
criss; Thank you for publishing an approach chart of Smolensk North. Too bad I can't read russian. Could you tell us whether the Minimum Descent Height is specified on this chart and what it is ?

25th Apr 2010, 14:47
jcjeant, think again.

DJ77, I don't know much Russian either, it's just a repost. I think it has 1500m vis and 70m AGL as minimums, but I stand to be corrected by someone more fluent in Russian (70m seems low). Anyway, it's not 100 percent that's what they were using - it's from 2005, might be outdated, and they might have used completely different charts, for example provided by Polish services.

25th Apr 2010, 14:50
Far Beakon looks, of Northern. Sergey Amelin took a trip to it, 2 hrs ago, and took pictures.

? ????????? ???? ??????? &bull; ?????????? ????? (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48375&start=8280)

? ????????? ???? ??????? &bull; ?????????? ????? (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48375&start=8300)

Below, the doggie, by the marker anthennae, so he didn't climb over the fence :o)

25th Apr 2010, 15:28
Old Time,

I can understand your concern for conjecture but quite frankly, I am sure many of the newbies are equally concerned at the quality of information coming from professionals.

For instance, isnt it clear that this control tower uses a military radar system to guide planes in during low visibility approaches? If so, why all the comments on guidance systems that could not have been used.

Also, I have asked twice for comments on the lack of broken turbine components given the crushed housing on the port engine - the only comments were pedantic ones, criticizing the terminology that was used.
Well, was the engine under power when it hit the ground or not?

Finally, it is very apparent that visibility was 400 meters or more - thus, how could the crew not see the ground for several miles during the approach - just as the AC was witnessed from the ground.

Thus, in the absence of the experts to determine (in general) what happened, there is nothing else to do but offer conjecture.

25th Apr 2010, 15:33
BMP, there's a difference between horizontal and vertical visibilty, some people wrongly assume that with such a visibility you'll see ground from a height of 400m. 400m is nothing when you're flying such an a/c, especially in a nose up attitude.

It was officially announced that according to CVR and FDR engines were working correctly - we can either accuse commision of lying, or accept their statement.

25th Apr 2010, 15:51
Mike already explained turbine problem
visible part is stationary , actual turbine is behind

25th Apr 2010, 16:20

First, welcome to pprune!

Now... please take what I'm going to say in the spirit I intend -- which is to be helpful.

It's important to understand the purpose of the different threads and fora. This one (R&N) is intended for professionals to discuss aviation issues and events. So, for instance, the questions you posed above would not be asked (either because theyve already been discussed, or they arent relevant in the minds of the professionals). If a non-aviation professional has a question, there are several fora and threads on pprune for that purpose.

Im sure you understand the reason for this: If I were to show up on a surgeons medical forum, for instance, and start asking questions about why certain equipment or procedures are used, it would rightfully be frustrating for the surgeons on the forum. They are participating on that forum to discuss issues of interest to them at their level. Of course it may be interesting for others to read whats there but the surgeons (in my example) are not signed on and participating on that thread to explain things to lay people.

In the case of the three questions youve posed above, youll find that all of them have already been answered (if you read the whole thread). Additionally, in the case of the military radar availability, no, its not clear that this control tower uses a military radar system as you mention. And even if they did, an aircraft such as this one had its own onboard capabilities that are more precise in terms of position information and assistance than most ground radars. This is an example of a question that you should pose on spectators balcony or a similar forum. Any such questions you have will (hopefully) be answered in a polite and helpful manner. (Whereas here on R&N that may not be the case because, as I say, the professionals get somewhat tired of lay people taking up time and space with items that are simply distractions to the professional discussion.)

I for one (and many others) will gladly attempt to answer any questions you might pose, but please try to do so on the correct area of the site. Or feel free to PM me if any of the answers you find are not clear.

Again, welcome to prrune.


25th Apr 2010, 18:37
Thanks - now I understand -I did not realize that the stator is in front on this design.

25th Apr 2010, 19:01
"If I were to show up on a surgeons medical forum, for instance, and start asking questions about why certain equipment or procedures are used, it would rightfully be frustrating for the surgeons on the forum."


Were the surgeons discussing an operatin that was progressing without a hitch, your analogy is absolutely correct. However, the discussion here betray's no such confidence level.

I dont mean that as an offense to anyone here as I personally believe that this incident has been hampered by lots of disinformation, unintentional or otherwise. I stand corrected on the stator - I did not realize the stator was in front but for on other issues, there still seems to be not much discussion on critical issues. For instance, given a glide path of 3 deg, 400 meters of visibility means being able to observe the ground for several miles before impact.

I think in the absence of an "official" explanation, it it incumbant on the pros to crystallize the issues to determine the ultimate reasons for this failure. I think the discussion needs to focus on what several things might explain how this AC wound up too low and too soon.

25th Apr 2010, 19:59
For instance, given a glide path of 3 deg, 400 meters of visibility means being able to observe the ground for several miles before impact.

Same thing as grizzled mentioned again. 400m visibility means 400m horizontal visibility. And that is at GND level. In fog as higher you are you have less horizontal visibility. You might have visibility straight to the GND, but horizontal in the approach you have as good as nil forward visibility.

25th Apr 2010, 22:16
Hi all
From what was mentioned before and above , there's nothing to talk about for now .
Not until we get some more facts.
My summary ( please have mercy if I'm wrong ) :
There was a fog . If there wasn't they wouldn't crash.
Pilot was familiar with that airport.
He was flayng there once and sometimes twice a year ( as second )
They were flying blind , by instruments.
Probably there's no need to mention that from obvious reasons they couldn't look down , only forward and to the sides ( view from cocpit :} )
That's about dispiute about visibility , they could see nothing even when ac was visible from the ground .
They didn't realize their altitiude for some unknown so far reason.
Pilot was trying to pull up , when he could see the ground .
Unfortunatelly it was too late , sad thing is , that he was short only about 3 meters to make it :sad:
Only question is , why they were wrong with altitude , and why they had no warning from control tower.
Pilot was speaking russian .
I'm about same age as RIP pilot , and russian language was very important in primary school.
It was still communism back then.
Didn't use russian since then , but I remember numbers , and can speak a little (after 20 years)
And pilot was flying to russia , piloting russian plane ( probably tonns of manuals in russian) , and in published interview with ATC he mentioned that they couldn't understand numbers :confused:
I hope on wednesday we will know a bit more .

25th Apr 2010, 23:02
I understand my newbie deficiencies :o), but will also add that from 2009 it became more difficult to fly to Northern for the Polish crews.
Say, two flights in 2009, one with Polish PM in 2010 = 3 max.
Until 2009 they were renting their navigator for flights to Northern from Russia, then cancelled the service. It could be that the three following flights were without fog.:sad:

25th Apr 2010, 23:13

The pilot was fluent in Russian and was familiar with the airport having flown a test run the week prior and having flown there during prior year Katyn commemorations.

Polish Crash Probe Points to Human Error - WSJ.com (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303828304575179541464058282.html)

25th Apr 2010, 23:18
I know
that's what I've written above

26th Apr 2010, 05:49
On the last flight before crash they were landing the opposite direction.

NDB there is on 4km.

Niestandardowy rozk?ad radiolatarni zmyli? pilota Tu-154?- Onet.pl - Wiadomo?ci -26.04.2010 (http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/2160618,11,1,1,item.html)

26th Apr 2010, 11:45
My professional background is in the development of navigation systems and I tried to compute the Dilution of Precision (DOP) for current GPS constellation, crash location and time. It is interesting that there is a short period of bad DOP that agrees with the time of the crash. It means that the performance of standard GPS positioning was worse than usual at that time.


P.S. I apologize for posting this and not being a professional pilot (just a private one)

26th Apr 2010, 11:49

Thank you for a valuable new point.


26th Apr 2010, 14:17
That's scientific approach! Where is that short bad period, on the chart?
(I'm sorry. If that's possible to explain to outsiders, at all)

26th Apr 2010, 14:25
I did some research and according to the type certificate the NDB approach minima for the newer Tu-204 are 100 by 1500 m. For the 154 I've seen figures something like 120 by 1800 m. It is obvious the actual visibility conditions were nowhere near what's required.

So it sounds like this whole thing was a bad bad idea. It would be miracle if they didn't crash.

26th Apr 2010, 14:58
very interesting, but, as we know, the crash was at 10:40 but Russian time. If I'm not mistaken, it would mean 7:40 UTC, when, according to your calculations DOP was around 2.
Could you also calculate VDOP?

Tu-154M minima data

minima-Tu-154M.jpg | arrakis | Fotki, Zdj?cia, Obrazki Fotosik.pl (http://www.fotosik.pl/pokaz_obrazek/46c3a00022c413d1.html)


26th Apr 2010, 15:53
It was 6:40 UTC

26th Apr 2010, 16:15
You are right. Moscow is +4 now. It means DOP between 2-2.5.


26th Apr 2010, 16:22

The Captain of the Flight; Protasiuk apparently had 2937h on type (post #564) and was fluent in the Russian Language (post #851)

However the ATC Controller Pavel Plusnin stated that a language barrier existed (post #567)

Post #840 - The Russians have a system whereby if the Captain is flying, then no-one monitors him. The F/O handles the radios, the navigator navigates, but for some reason it appears even he failed to notice the outer marker was further way, and that they were subsequently too low.

Was F/O Grzywma handling the radio comms? was he fluent in the Russian language?

The navigator only had 59 hrs on type.

This thread has noted all the above facts, but who actually handled the Comms?

26th Apr 2010, 16:37
Drop the language barrier pls. First of all, we don't know if the interview with the "controller" is real. Second, even if it is, most probably he's referring to crews of other a/c that arrived later with Polish officials and relatives of the President. An alleged ATC to crew recording that circulated on the net was not from PLF101, but IGA703, SAAB 340 with Mr. Kaczynski's twin brother and his party's officials. Crew had problems with Russian, mixing some English words, but landed safely. There's no chance that Tupolev crew had problems with Russian - flying there often, having materials in Russian, and being over 30, they must have had Russian in school. And basic words like numerals are so similar that it's impossible not to understand them.

The supposed "Russian procedure" of not monitoring is implausible. Bad CRM - probable, but no monitoring at all - not really.

26th Apr 2010, 16:37

Though (as criss points out above) language itself is most likely not an issue, your point is still a good one (re, who may have been doing what on the flight deck) and I don't think we know those answsers yet. If the CVR is released, or portions thereof, we will know. Or if MAK includes that info in a briefing or preliminary report.

Human factors -- specifically flight crew interaction and communications (i.e. CRM) -- are, of course, common contributors to CFIT occurrences. As many readers of this thread are aware, the roles, duties, and therefore the CRM issues here, can be quite different than what most "Western" crews are used to.

Hopefully we shall see; and then learn from this.


26th Apr 2010, 18:41
On the last flight before crash they were landing the opposite direction.

NDB there is on 4km.

Two things. First, there is a lot maybe, maybe in the article. Just some suppositions.
Second thing, there wasn't any opposite direction approach. Impossible.


26th Apr 2010, 18:56
It's like saying that someone previously had landed on 09L at LHR, before crashing on 27R. It's pointless.

26th Apr 2010, 19:31
After the unit was disbanded, the equipment for the opposite approach was dismantled. No approach from opposite side.
Quoting such press B.S. it's assuming they went to Smolensk without any airbase/approach documents :ugh:
and if you are quoting something, at least try to do it correctly, without changing the meaning of the article.


26th Apr 2010, 20:13
There is no "standard" or "no standard", distance is on chart. And it doesn't solve the issue of descending below minima.

26th Apr 2010, 20:44
All this nonsense about reciprocal approaches and the like is a waste of time. As a professional pilot I am expected to be able to fly somewhere for the first time and not crash. I do not need to have been before or to have approached on the other runway. It does not matter how far the NDB is from the runway.

This crew either had a technical problem or they made a dirty dart, either blind or with SOMETHING in sight which was not the runway, and encountered rising ground which they could not outclimb.

Thank heavens the 'KGB assassination' posts appear to have died down.

26th Apr 2010, 22:26
It must be something new - compared to what it was before. I mean, Polish delegations did come before, and several times. And OK, nobody was even once interested.

aerodrome - same old Beakons prehistorical
access side to the runway airport - as min it was the same on April 7th, just days before
ground control - same
Capt. Protasiuk - same
Even, President Kachinsky - same, he was coming by same very plane with same very Protasiuk, to same very aerodrome - and - alright, somehow. No harm at all.

New components:
1. fog
2. likely - navigator
3. TU-154M - same, and did flew on the 7th April.
But still did have a restoration 4 months previously - and - new foreign navigation equipment was installed, on which they could over-rely, being happy they have it.

26th Apr 2010, 22:30
With all due respect, if the professionals are deeming each others analysis as "nonsense", then we newbies can add little to the conversation. And if anyone expects transparency in an investigation taken over by a former KGB general, it will be a very long wait indeed.

26th Apr 2010, 22:59
With all due respect, if the professionals are deeming each others analysis as "nonsense", then we newbies can add little to the conversation.
With all due respect, it would perhaps be a good idea to look at the profile/past posts of each poster in an effort to determine the experience level, from which a determination can sometimes be made as to whether they are indeed a "professional".

Analysis? So far, the known facts are so limited as to make analysis basic at best. "Educated guesses" (and often, uneducated guesses) are the best that posters can come up with at the moment.

It is not expected that newbies with little aviation knowledge can add anything meaningful to the conversation. In fact, it would be far preferable if this didn't happen.


27th Apr 2010, 02:26
Well that's unequivocal "Let me wish you a very good day", and I, for one, am packing. Will glance in from time to time, to see how professionals sort the riddle without Smolensk blog un-professional in-put.

After all, who needs aerodrome charts and Amelin's photos and measurements, time of crash and other annoying data standing in the way of professional vision. All know how Russian military aerodromes are equipped and what's TU154M of Poland Air Force configuration is after the fix.
If foreign pilots are happy to rely on the media data - who am I to have an idea. Besides, it is reasonable to wait for the results of Russian Investigation Committee results - they analyse the crash, after all, and will come up with formal statement. Incl. recommendations for the industry. Then the profi-s can make their conclusions.

If any newbies are interested to continue, with facts in hands - welcome to Smolesnk blog at ? ????????? ???? ??????? &bull; ?????????? ????? (http://forum.smolensk.ws/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48375&start=9240)
There English and Polish and Russian are acceptable tongues; MIG pilots don't snob to give explanations to industry outsiders, Northern aerodrome staff are quite helpful, and, how to say, I really think it'll be better for all.


27th Apr 2010, 02:38
I'm sorry but some of this is absurd.

The simple reality is that flying a complex aircraft is simple, right up until it's not. Every thread specific to controlled flight into terrain seems to come back to fundamental errors in judgement. There is no conspiracy, no international espionage or any dime store novel stuff.

The folks who man the pointy end of the aluminum tube accept the stark reality that any momentary lapse in judgement might cost the lives of those entrusted to their care. Accordingly a tremendous interest exists in exploring the possibilities, in some instances like 447 all that exists for now is that curiosity and speculation and the impossible to answer "what happened?" and "could I recognize and prevent the tragedy if it was me?".

Here is seems a very simple reality that all of the "rules" exist for a reason and a harsh reminder that fate is still the hunter....

27th Apr 2010, 02:46
Alice025, that wasn't specifically aimed at any particular poster.
Just to anyone that may have a cap that fits...

If you choose to place yourself in that category, so be it.

There have been a few posters clearly ignorant of aviation procedures that have posted all sorts of outlandish theories, and asked some questions that would be better asked in the spotters corner.
Some have taken information (like a reported visibility, for example) then posted a theory so out of context that it's clear they have zero understanding. Someone has to clean up after them, when they get too outlandish.

At this point, without hard data, such speculation is pointless. It seems the professionals know this. Look at the posts.

27th Apr 2010, 05:45

don't be offended by some "stiff upper lip" snobs here.

As I stated before, we are extremely grateful for you effords in translating
and posting all the valuable information on this forum.

Please, do not give up and continue providing us with important and valid

Bolshoye spasiba.


27th Apr 2010, 06:40

It was the conspiracy zombies fluttering about this thread that caused most readers to lose patience -- not you.

Your contributions have been of significant value to understanding what the people closer to the situation (in both Poland and Russia) are thinking and saying. And with specific reference to your translations from the Smolensk forum, and other sources, your input has been invaluable.

Please don't give up.


27th Apr 2010, 08:12
Recent press report quote the time of accident at 10:41 LT.

This is the time, when, allegedly the MARS BM (CVR) stopped registering.

Co odkryj? g?osy z MARS-a? (http://wyborcza.pl/1,75478,7817225,Co_odkryja_glosy_z_MARS_a_.html)

27th Apr 2010, 08:35
It was the conspiracy zombies fluttering about this thread that caused most readers to lose patience -- not you.- absolutely, but as we approach 1000 posts, I am puzzled why links to B*L*O*G*S (normally automatic post deletion), conspiracy theories (normally automatic post move to JetBlast) have not happened. From around 16 April - whenabouts PJ2 lost interest - we have been bombarded with bizarre comments, including baddies shooting at mutilated corpses, conspiracy over the time of the crash etc etc.

If these posters are to be allowed to continue to post these things, can we at least have ONE of them tell us CLEARLY what the 'theory' actually is behind these 'theories'?

I think most of us who have flown professionally actually have a pretty good idea what happened here, and it does not involve little green (or black) men from Mars with revolvers.

As with many threads here, it is becoming impossible to extract useful information from all the gossip.

27th Apr 2010, 09:22

unfortunately, as long as we have no official information we are condemned to base on
rumours (as the name of the forum and this particular section is.)

Unfortunately the a.m. rumours are to be found on blogs, in newspapers etc.

It is not our fault that the administrators and moderators are less active
on this thread, and acting slower, that on the others.

It is also not our fault, that this particular accident is creating unusual
public interest and attracts all kind of jerks.

So, we humbly take your point, but will keep posting whatever rumour
we will find in the web and elsewhere, that is relevant to this case.

27th Apr 2010, 09:54

I completely agree with you. The extraordinary situation around this crash results mainly from the people and countries involved. And it is of utmost importance to people in Poland and Russia as well.

I registered to this forum some time ago only to have the ability to search for certain information I needed, without the slightest intention to post here as I do not deem myself an aviation professional. Nevertheless the extraordinary situation made me write a few lines here. And I think this applies to a certain number of new members here, who really try to post valuable information here, as Alice does.

The dynamics of the situation, mainly here in Poland, where media try to find daily another "expert" to reveal the "real cause" of the accident. And because the information IMO is badly managed by Polish authorities, it feeds also all kinds of more or less crazy speculations. This increases the temperature of the public discussion on this topic in Poland to a point where it becomes unbearable any more.

So I hope we can get soon some hard data that can be discussed by professionals on this forum, for the benefit of everyone.

27th Apr 2010, 10:22

let's hope, this time they'll keep the promise and publish something tomorrow.

Keep the fingers crossed.

Ground Brick
27th Apr 2010, 10:36
Sergey Amelin (the author of many pictures and shemes posted in Smolensk forum) today posted crash site satelite picture with marked majour plane parts.
As hi is writing - initial version, some innacuracies are possible.

Currently the tail part (red with ? mark) is indentified as laying in another place.


Corrected sheme is here: http://s41.radikal.ru/i091/1004/44/5dcbe16522b5.jpg

27th Apr 2010, 10:57
Most of the discussion between professionals here ends up with statements, "We don't really know the answers, we have to wait for the conclusions of the official investigation - but - we ask questions in the meantime to sort and clarify all possible causes of this tragic accident. This means that you, at least for now, are formulating hypothesis, not theories.

In that sense, there are no wrong questions, although there may be many wrong answers. This is what inquiry is all about.

Let me point out to you that 99% of all discoveries and inventions started with asking questions to which we didn't know the answers. One could say that we owe all our knowledge to "educated guesses" or to "conspiracy theories".

Having said that, if you knew history and understood our reality better than just being trained in a narrow field of flying airplanes (no matter how "professional"), you would know that possibile causes of this accident are much wider than technical failure of the equipment, a pilot error, or a "mess" in Russia's procedures. They also include a huge and very real area of politics. There are many historical facts that support this view and excluding this area of inquiry in this particular case proves that you are not being objective. Or perhaps, it is just an excuse to be politically correct? But remember, once you start down this path, you compromise your chance to find true answers to your questions.


27th Apr 2010, 11:02

as a first tool of any investigation, I suggest Occam's Razor.


For those unfamiliar:

Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor), is the meta-theoretical principle that "entities should not be multiplied beyond what is necessary" (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem) and the conclusion there of, that the simplest solution is usually the correct one.

Occam's razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor)

27th Apr 2010, 11:14
From around 16 April - whenabouts PJ2 lost interest - we have been bombarded with bizarre comments, including baddies shooting at mutilated corpses, conspiracy over the time of the crash etc etc.
I think most of us who have flown professionally actually have a pretty good idea what happened here.
Be sure that your opinions are appreciated.
As it was mentioned by Ptkay, we try to deliver/translate the "a.m. data" from the available Polish/Russian sources to learn an independent judgment. There is a huge political tension now in Poland (the catastrophe, the subsequent presidential election, etc.) and the unbiased guesses/statements/observations are wanted badly.

as a first tool of any investigation, I suggest Occam's Razor.
A priori (before one learns the facts) one should rather follow the Pascal law..
to assume a uniform distribution [of hypotheses] in the absence of reasons to the contrary

27th Apr 2010, 11:34
a small correction. The people familiar with accident investigation/analysis do not actually "have to wait for the conclusions of the official investigation", just some more actual facts.
Derived from data such as flight recorders, ATC/CVR transcripts, captured readings from the flight instruments etc.

I don't think it has even been confirmed yet what type of approach the aircraft was carrying out. (A twin NDB approach seems to be a likely candidate.)

So the questions of, shall we say, a political nature, tend to be promoted by some in the absence of hard data.

Folk who work in the operational side of aviation are usually a fairly pragmatic lot, and prefer to wait until some facts are in.

27th Apr 2010, 11:42
Then, the only problem is to decide what is "necessary". And that is where people disagree.

Anyway, I don't want to take space and time on this forum to divert your topics to "unwanted" area. I respect your right to select and protect your discussions according to your intrests and your area of expertise. (Did I say it right?)

However, I have a question of a more technical nature that professionals in this forum may help me answer.

Amelin has posted some information and a couple of pictures on the structural strength of an airplane similar to TU-154 - see here:
Google Tłumacz (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://smolensk.ws/blog/172.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhhcSRepw41Oj2bf-X6iDUWFB7IRIw) .

It suggests that large airplanes have some sort of a solid, massive frame that runs along the fuselage. This frame is needed to provide secure connection with wings and the tail sections with the engines. It holds the whole structure together and provides safety to passangers and crew (for example, seats may be securely fastened to the frame through the floor).

If this is true, the "frame" itself must be a rather large and sturdy part of the structure.

Ami then explains that in the TU-154 accident, the entire front of the plane disintegrated. As the A/C was inverted during the impact, the roof and sides of the fuselage were practically stripped off and torn into small pieces. This explains why there is no fuselage on the pictures from the crash scene. But, there should be a frame or at least large fragments of it. I tried to find anything that would resemble such a frame or parts of it in the pictures and videos available but could not find anything.

My questions are:

1. Is there a solid frame (sort of a spinal cord) in a TU-154?

2. If yest, could it just desintegrate and disappear during an accident like this?

3. Or, am I missing something in the pictures and videos that are online?

See the video here:
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)

showing all the parts being prepared for re-assembly.


27th Apr 2010, 11:54
A few bits of new (?) information (in Polish):

Nie mo?na poda? godziny rozbicia si? prezydenckiego samolotu- Onet.pl - Wiadomo?ci -27.04.2010 (http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/2161569,11,nie_mozna_podac_godziny_rozbicia_sie_prezydenckie go_samolotu,item.html)

27th Apr 2010, 11:56
@ Tarq57

So the questions of, shall we say, a political nature, tend to be promoted by some in the absence of hard data.

Not necessarily "in the absence," as technical causes and political circumstances don't really exclude each other.

For example, trying to figure out wheather or not the pilot acted under pressure to land is at this stage a pure conspiracy theory, and yet, some people here feel that it is appropriate to discuss this aspect of the case. That's what I mean.

But I take your point, too. Yes, there are some who turn to conspiracy theories out of lack of more educated ideas. But not all.


27th Apr 2010, 11:57
posts from Sergey Amielin blog made by Tomasz tu154 pilot
"I have confirmed information that the pilots of Tu-154 and their colleagues from the 36th Special Transport Aviation Regiment routinely used the non-WGS-84/PZ-90.02-compliant coordinates (runway threshold) given on the Smolensk instrument approach charts. They should not if the FMS was set to WGS-84. Evidently their training was lacking in that area."
"The error estimated was 180 m east-west and 30-40 m north-south. That explains why the aircraft was 40 m south of runway's extended centerline - it was pefectly tracking runway's extended centerline to the runway threshold. The crew had the distance from the threshold - the indicated distance ws 180 m shorter than the real one - but it is irrelevant to the crash - this position error is not significant enough "
"One should not expect better guaranted accuracy than 550 m (0.3 NM) with GPS RAIM anyway. Unfortunately their vertical navigation was much less perfect."
"I have made an analysis of possible Tu-154 approach profiles with use of available flight simulator and I am now leaning towards the third primary reason, not mentioned by me before - barometric altimeter setting error. I don't know who made the error - controller or pilots, if this theory is right. Simple entering QFE value 759 mm Hg instead of 749 mm Hg would put the aircraft 120 m lower than intended by the crew."
"It seems to me a bit less likely now, that the crew intentionally doubled the rate of descent, being as close to the ground as 100 m above aerodrome threshold, because it seems to be contrary to common sense of majority of airmen. Possibly, they could have believed, according to the baro-altimeters (with wrong QFE) that they were high on the glidepath (virtual, since no glideslope existed) and close to the Inner NDB."
"That's why they increased rate of descent trying to reach MDH shortly before Inner NDB or over it. Unfortunately the RA altitude callouts could have been unavailable, due to TAWS inhibition by the crew (depending on type of TAWS) caused by lack of XUBS airbase in TAWS airport database - possibly they never included scan of the RA - maybe it was intented later, after passing Inner NDB, as I previously noted, providing they had ever considered going below MDA. Maybe they never intended to go below MDH."
"On the other hand you don't try approach with 400 m visibility and 120 m MDH. The success, even without considering the tragic approach lights technical condition, was unlikely, without ducking under MDA close to the Mised Approach Point. Maybe they had reason to believe that the visibility had been better than reported. Or maybe they just wanted to close the mouth of their supervisors ungry that they didn't give a try. Definitely there was lot of pressure (even if not spoken verbally)."
"Staying high on glidepath could be misleading to the controller, who was not aware of wrong altimeter setting or anything else going bad, until they increased the rate of descent. Increasing rate of descent at about 2 km from the threshold, when you know you are in heavy jet just 100 m above the ground is a bit strange to me - however if they wanted to try really hard and had never thought about the lower terrain 1.5 km from the threshold"
"(I bet they were not aware of its existance - you don't see such insignificant things during approach in VMC), they just had concentrated on RA and artificial horizon and pressed on, however the pilot monitoring should be looking occasionally outside. Likely he saw the ground just two or three seconds too late."
"Regarding the wrong QFE the question is whether the error was made by the controller or by the crew, and exact circumstances of the error making. And no doubt, it always unsafe when you mix QFE with QNH, mm of HG with of hPa, and meters with feet, especially if you are accustomed to QNH, hPa and feet, because it always adds some unneccessary confusion and distraction."

27th Apr 2010, 12:09
Given the forces involved, there must be something solid and sturdy to connect all the parts of the A/C. Ami was explaining it in Part 4 (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=pl&ie=UTF-8&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://smolensk.ws/blog/172.html&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&usg=ALkJrhhcSRepw41Oj2bf-X6iDUWFB7IRIw). Looking at al available pictures and videos, I cannot find anything that would resemble a "main frame" structure. Even on this video (http://www.tvn24.pl/12690,1652391,0,1,skladaja-tupolewa-ze-szczatkow-zobacz-unikatowe-zdjecia,wiadomosc.html).

I can understand why the top and the sides of a fuselage would be stripped and torn to pieces during an inverted impact. But a solid frame could not just desintegrate, could it?


27th Apr 2010, 12:14
I hope that our professional colleagues here will accept that the above is
also a professional pilot opinion, just translated and reposted by an
unprofessional layman, although with good command of Russian language.
(Uphill, no offence I just don't know you.) :ok:

27th Apr 2010, 12:26
Yes, absolutely. That comes from someone who knows what they're talking about, FWIW from me.

27th Apr 2010, 12:40
Uphill's post is the best we have seen for days, but the hypothesis is easily sorted by the settings on the instruments, which will be known now. They will confirm or trash the QNH/QFE/mis-setting issue. There is little point in surmising.

Back to the conspiracy theories - I'd like someone to be brave enough to say exactly what the 'theory' is behind all the stuff about gunshots/incorrect crash timing etc with which we have been entertained recently.

I may have missed it in all the froth, but have we ever seen a confirmed RVR and DA/H for this approach here? Is it actually 120/400?

Bahrd - I fully understand your comments on the 'tensions' etc, but I wonder how a reasonable 'independent judgement' can be arrived at? By the way, like Ptkay, I favour Occam

27th Apr 2010, 12:49
BOAC, what's your point now? Posts advocating conspiracy theoires that appeared a few nights ago were deleted, so at the moment we have more complaints about them than actual posts about them. It's not helpful either.

27th Apr 2010, 12:56
OK, criss - probably not surprising, but I had not bothered to look back at them and didn't actually expect that to happen - bravo! In which case apologies to all and on we go. You never know, we may even get PJ2 back.

27th Apr 2010, 14:36

I was one of the "regulars" who at first tried to rebutt the conspiracy poster(s) with facts. I should probably have done as PJ and realised they wouldnt stop -- as they basicially hijacked the thread. I then complained quite strongly to the mods, as did others I'm sure, and eventually all was cleaned up.

For whatever bizarre reason, I saved some of the more ludicrous postings. I'll pm them to you if you really want to see them (but I would advise donning your tinfoil hat prior to reading ;) ).


27th Apr 2010, 14:52
I'll pm them to you if you really want to see them - err thanks but no thanks:)

27th Apr 2010, 20:22

There's no frame in the fuselage. It's a semi-monocoque, fail-safe structure -- however there are some reinforcing elements (stringers and stations), it's the skin what bears significant part of the loads. (see Fuselage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuselage), nice picture of the 747 fuselage structure: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c2/Fuselage-747.jpg/100px-Fuselage-747.jpg). Fail-safe means that the structure is somewhat redundant and can retain required properties (stiffness etc.) even in case of partial failure, like in case of the Aloha B737 mentioned by Amelin.

However in crashes like that in Smolensk such a structure behaves like an egg's shell (in fact an egg's shell is exactly a monocoque structure).


27th Apr 2010, 20:46
Bahrd - I fully understand your comments on the 'tensions' etc, but I wonder how a reasonable 'independent judgement' can be arrived at?
I hope we will learn the investigation data soon.
There are, in fact, two investigation boards (in Poland and in Russia), however:
Like the intertwined triple line is difficult to break, so the conclusion, demonstrated in three ways, will not be easy to overthrow.