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Polish Government Tu154M crash

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Polish Government Tu154M crash

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

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Old 15th Apr 2010, 09:36
  #582 (permalink)  
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Facts from official webpage of 36 SPLT:
3528 hrs total
2937 on type

As mentioned before, PLFs are flying mostly around the country, both in service and in training. So I believe any 100 hrs would mean similar (if not greater) number of landings. Some of them (airports) are not equipped with to-date equipment (CASA case, anyone?). In fact, only the civilian airports are equipped with ILS (plus EPSY airport, which is in fact now non controlled, I believe, staffed only for training and when required). So, I believe with plenty of landings (thousands) and - even considering the probability - at least some of them in poor conditions, their experience cannot be evaluated as "inadequate". I believe what happened is much more a difference between civilian and military pilots when considering acceptable risk, plus pressure, leading to pilots error (approach below minimas). Lack of information about strip and/or approach might be contributing factor as well, of course, if it turns out to be true.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 09:48
  #583 (permalink)  
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If that is the case, one could wonder perhaps, when the radar was last calibrated/checked ?

If this was indeed a PAR & not a 2NDB procedure the hairs on the back of my neck are getting tingly.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 10:07
  #584 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by captplaystation
If that is the case, one could wonder perhaps, when the radar was last calibrated/checked ?

If this was indeed a PAR & not a 2NDB procedure the hairs on the back of my neck are getting tingly.
The experience of the preceeding, successful approaches would be interesting; if the approach was in any way hairy or innaccurate due to instrumentation or human deficiency I'm sure the press would have dug that up by now.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 11:05
  #585 (permalink)  
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To open up a closed airfield within 3 days and bringing it up to a minimum amount of safety status, which would qualify it for any kind of instrument approach in weather conditions other than special VFR seems to be out of question.

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

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


Last edited by RetiredF4; 15th Apr 2010 at 12:15.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 11:31
  #586 (permalink)  
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Facts from official webpage of 36 SPLT:
3528 hrs total
2937 on type
can we trust these numbers?
the ac had only some 5000hours itself for all the time it was in Poland, it was flown for long time by other crews, so how the pilot could have accumulated 2000hrs on type?
i am sincerely sorry for the crew but it seems like a cover-up operation by some s****d military who has allowed relatively not prepared pilot to fly this ac on this very specific flight.

deep sympathy to all who perished
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 11:36
  #587 (permalink)  
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so how the pilot could have accumulated 2000hrs on type?

Perhaps he was flying a different 154...?
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 11:46
  #588 (permalink)  
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36SPLT has two planes of this type.
Arek was an instructor on this type. They were flying not olny with VIPs. Many of moments they were spending on training flights (f.e. approaches in EPGD or frequently flying in EPDE or other airports) so, Wojtek, please don't speculate..
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 12:14
  #589 (permalink)  
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As the media speculate about some "special navigation equipment" installed in Smolensk before the landing of Putin's plane on April 7 (and immediately removed thereafter) there is also a remark concerning the approach type flown on April 7 and probably 3 days later as well (Google translation):

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

The most difficult at the airport in bad conditions may be the lack of precision approach. Instrumentation must be suitable airport to be able to perform precision approach - explains. He adds, the airport is equipped with two radio beacons - closer and further leads. According to them, shall be the approach for landing."
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 13:01
  #590 (permalink)  
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Before the last
overhaul, which began in May 2009, Tu-154 has logged 5000
hours 19 minutes and made 3,821 landings.
(Rather low average time of single mission: 1h20min)
This numbers would confirm the relatively high number of landings,
and the comment and points made by Gloom_PL might be valid.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 13:05
  #591 (permalink)  
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Here is the interview with the President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko regarding the event (in Russian):


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

Last edited by liider; 15th Apr 2010 at 13:41.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 13:47
  #592 (permalink)  
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Don't forget that clown is the last dictator in Europe..this text shows how much he understands about the responsibilities of the Flight Deck. And is probably an example of the rest of his decision making.

I wonder if this is the beginning of a diplomatic fallout between Poland and Belarus..
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 13:49
  #593 (permalink)  
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Interesting USA Today article on the aircraft's avionics. It states that it was equipped with a TAWS, which should have warned the pilot about ground proximity, and helped him avoid the trap of rising ground on the approach..

Device spurs questions in Polish crash - USATODAY.com

A few quotes of interest:

If the safety device was working properly, it would be the first such crash of an aircraft equipped with the system since its introduction in the late 1990s.
"I really would like to know what was going on in that flight deck because no matter what kind of pressure other pilots have been under or what kind of weather they encountered, no pilot has ignored a TAWS warning. What is so different about this plane that it would break that chain?" Cox said.
Bill Voss, president of the non-profit Flight Safety Foundation, said that the crash may highlight a weakness in the TAWS. Maps of the U.S. and other developed nations are highly accurate, but gaps exist in the maps for countries such as Russia and in the developing world, Voss said.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 14:15
  #594 (permalink)  
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And another article describing the final events:

Black box reveals pilots of Polish president's jet knew they were doomed and made a 'dramatic' flight deck speech | Mail Online

An "anonymous source" said:

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

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

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

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Old 15th Apr 2010, 14:15
  #595 (permalink)  
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They probably got the warning, as the tree cuts measurements show, they were climbing,
but terrain was climbing faster.

It looks like few meters higher and they likely might have landed
short or off line, but with high possibility of good survival chances.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 14:31
  #596 (permalink)  
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This shouldn't have been a surprise, since the look-ahead feature of TAWS over basic GPWS should have warned the pilot in sufficient time that he wouldn't be reacting at a point where the aircraft couldn't outclimb the rising terrain.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 14:34
  #597 (permalink)  
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An acquaintance of mine knew President Kachinsky. My friend said to me last Monday "......all very sad, he was a nice fellow, but the pilot would have been under great pressure to make the landing."

Draw your own conclusions from that.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 14:34
  #598 (permalink)  
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There were some doubts expressed in the Russian forums, re who was the commander of the plane, as from the Polish official obitary site it follows the commander was in the captain's rank, while his officer - in the major's rank.

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

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

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

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

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

Having lost the wing the airplane seemingly turned over later, that's why no survivors. TU-204 "landed" in a similar "fashion", in Moscow, recently, cut all trees there were, but didn't turn over, and no casualties at all.
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 14:57
  #599 (permalink)  
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There may be records of talking done inside the airplane. Russian Izvestia, in an article about Maria Kachinsky, the First Lady, to who here there is a lot of sympathy, clearly wrote that before the landing she went from the front of the plane, where her husband was, to the end, to chat with other ladies.
Now, how would they know?
Did she phone a friend, from on-board?
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Old 15th Apr 2010, 15:01
  #600 (permalink)  
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In many EGPWS systems, if the aircraft is in landing configuration in a shallow descent the warnings are inhibited, otherwise the system would be shouting at you on every approach as you closed on terrain beneath the flight path.
So in this case it probably wasn't providing much protection at all.
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