[3] The Polish Tu-154 was modified to use western-style ILS. Disobeying the President and a high-ranking Polish Air Force commander on board, the captain flew on to the originally planned destination. The group was arriving from Warsaw to attend an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the massacre, which took place not far from Smolensk. The crash occurred as the Tu-154 air force jet carrying a high-level Polish delegation attempted to land in fog at a rudimentary airport near Smolensk, Russia. Information that Polish side had not received documentation of control flight over Smolensk nor documentation of RSP-6m2 radar system used in ATC. One was a large number of obstacles (mostly tall trees) in the area before the runway which should have been removed to keep the protected approach airspace clear of obstructions. [3], According to the Interstate Aviation Committee report from 19 May 2010, the aircraft first hit an 11-metre (36 ft) tree approximately 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) from the runway. [85] Nevertheless, both ruling coalition and opposition were represented on the plane, with six and nine members of the Sejm, as well as one and two from the Senate, respectively, some of them well known in Poland. Furthermore, the controllers gave the "Level 101" command ten seconds after the aircraft passed the 100 metres (330 ft) altitude where such call was supposed to be given. At 60 metres (200 ft) radar altitude (where the crew had set their radar altitude bugs), the First Officer called out "Go around" (this is the "confirmation" go around call referred to in the Polish comment above). Rzeczpospolita's editor-in-chief and three other staff, including the reporter of the initial claim, resigned from their jobs. ", "Berczynski: It's impossible that Tu-154 broke up in such a way", "Lets allow the evidence to speak for itself", "What we know about the course of the Smolensk catastrophe. Radios were tuned to the two Non-Directional Beacons (NDBs) present at the field, and the autopilot was set up to use waypoints from the Flight Management System (FMS) units for navigation. [3] At 9:15 Smolensk time, about an hour and a half before the crash, a Yakovlev Yak-40 jet (flight PLF 031)[3] also belonging to the Polish government[10] and carrying Polish journalists from the President's press pool landed at the airbase without incident, though conditions were rapidly worsening at the time. The aircraft was flying into a valley at this time and actually descended by 60–70 metres (200–230 ft). [205][206] The range of such theories has been described by some international media as "dizzying"; from the idea that the fog around the airport had been artificially produced, to victims' bodies being doctored in fake autopsies, to the idea that explosives were planted on board the plane. Co-pilot Grzywna had 1,909 hours, with 475 of them on the Tu-154. "It is with great sadness that I received the news of the Indonesian plane crash, which resulted in the loss of lives of more than 60 people. Edmund Klich declined to speculate on whether the pilot had been placed under pressure to land, commenting, "Psychologists will have to assess the stress levels the pilots were subjected to. All systems of Tu-154 stopped working at 8:41:04. FC Slovácko[158] and Prague derby AC Sparta Prague – SK Slavia Praha in the Czech Republic. It was Poland's worst tragedy since World War II, killing not only the president and first lady, but many other top government and military officials. Polish position that ATC gives wrong information for PLF 101 ("on course, on glide slope") and "Level 101" was given too late. Poland's Foreign Ministry said it had sent a diplomatic note to the Russian embassy in Warsaw calling on Moscow to “immediately surrender Poland's property.”. [64] Because the terrain rises up to the runway, this could have had the effect of causing the pilot to fly far too low. [118], On 18 April, the couple's caskets were driven at a slow pace through the streets of Warsaw, passing the city hall and a museum dedicated to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising which Kaczyński favoured. "[3], Meanwhile, the situation in the cockpit was one of very high stress. [3] Even if they had, an excessive rate of descent and excessive airspeed can cause the TAWS to issue a "SINK RATE" warning followed by a "PULL UP" warning. [126] Chairman of International Committee of the State Duma Konstantin Kosachev said that "Katyn claimed yet more victims". Copy link. ATC gave distance callouts on average 500 metres (1,600 ft) in advance, and told the aircraft it was on the correct glidepath when it actually was not. The Polish authorities found serious deficiencies in the organization and training of the Air Force unit involved, which was subsequently disbanded. The crash occurred as the Tu-154 air force jet carrying a high-level Polish delegation attempted to land in fog at a rudimentary airport near Smolensk, Russia. Poland says that original documentation about loading and weight measure was destroyed. The fact that the delegation killed in the plane crash had been traveling to commemorate a World War II massacre of some 22,000 Polish officers by the Soviet Union deepened the sense of national tragedy. The Russian investigation surmised that at this moment the flight crew saw the trees through the fog, and instinctively reacted in an attempt to escape their grave predicament. This was because the Smolensk airport, as a former military airfield not open to international flights, was not in the system's database and therefore the system did not recognize that the airplane was approaching an airport. Simultaneously with this final call, the control column was pulled full aft, commanding max pitch up from the aircraft, and the throttles were moved within one second from their flight idle positions to maximum power. Correction of number of specialists—with list of their certifications—that performed technical support on PLF 101. The largest pieces left were the wing roots (the strongest part of an airplane), the wingtips and the tail section. Fuel temperature was below 0 °C (32 °F). [128], After the aircraft crash, the state owned Russia Channel broadcast the film Katyń for the second time in Russia. For example, the bomb explosion theory is not supported by the fact that the plane's debris are concentrated in a relatively small 160x50 m area, and no parts of the plane's interior were found before the first ground contact. The aircraft descended far below the normal approach path until it struck trees, rolled inverted and crashed into the ground, coming to rest in a wooded area a short distance from the runway.[2]. At the end of March, after apparently receiving no reply to their first request, Poland tendered a second request for permission to fly, but did not request "Leaderman" services. Previous flights to Smolensk had been accompanied by a Russian navigator, but none was provided for the April 2010 flights, with differing reasons for this given by Polish and Russian sides. The behavior of the controller was later the subject of some criticism by the Polish media. [73] The announcement made on MAK website states that the transcripts are based on a copy of recordings identical to the one which was given to the Polish side during the investigation. At Smolensk however the situation was different. The aircraft attempted to pull up after hitting a five-metre-tall (16 ft) birch tree, but part of the left wing had been sheared off in the impact. A copy of the report was sent to the Polish authorities, who had 60 days to comment, after which the report was published on 12 January 2011. [80] New foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski announced that Poland would sue Russia in a human rights court over Moscow's withholding of the wreckage. "PULL UP" only activates when the TAWS computer believes a collision with terrain is imminent. [3] This led to controlled flight into terrain. No reason was given for the website closure. Polish specialists were not allowed to be present during control flight. The Smolensk Conferences – a preliminary summary", "Preliminary Summary of the Smolensk Conferences. [27] The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, said that the bodies of those killed in the crash would be brought to Moscow for identification. All that information is in his testimony. [30], Within hours of the crash, the President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, announced the establishment of a special commission for the investigation of the accident. [3] As such, the engines were well below the 75% minimum N2 reading, and the crew should have initiated a go-around at this point, even though they were still above Decision Height (DH). Information that FCOM of Tu-154M in fact does not prescribe using the autopilot during non-precision approach, however this is also not forbidden. It sends shivers down my spine. [160][161] The funeral nonetheless went ahead as scheduled. The "101" aircraft had undergone a major overhaul in December 2009, and Alexey Gusev, the head of the maintenance plant that carried out the work, told Polish TV that it should not have had technical problems. [7] The crash happened 138 flight hours after the most recent overhaul.[8]. PLF is the ICAO three-letter designator for the Polish Air Force used to identify the operator of an aircraft by air traffic control. [134], On 11 April, holding a bouquet of red roses, Putin was reported to have appeared truly distressed as he escorted Kaczyński's body to a Warsaw-bound plane. [114] The casket remained there throughout the week, until Kaczynski and his wife were laid to rest at the Wawel Cathedral a full week after the crash, on 18 April. [119] The funeral ceremony began at 2 pm local time (12:00 UTC) with a mass held at Kraków's St Mary's Basilica, with thousands attending. The President and the First Lady, President of Poland's Central Bank, Vice-Marshal of the Sejm (who was also a candidate in the future presidential elections), many members of the Parliament, President of the Institute of National Remembrance, and many high-ranking officials. Preliminary results of the investigations were to be released on the Thursday after the crash (including the cockpit voice recordings), but this was postponed until after the weekend when the funeral of the Presidential couple was to take place,[40][42] then postponed indefinitely until the full analysis was completed. [16][17] According to the Final Report, Russia did offer "Leaderman" services, but Poland refused, stating their crew had satisfactory knowledge of Russian and could conduct the flight without the Leaderman. They concluded that the "on course, on glide path" calls given to the pilots were made when the aircraft was actually off course, and furthermore the "Level!" As the airport is not usually open for international flights and is not ICAO certified, the air traffic controllers were not required to be fluent in English, the ICAO standard language for ATC communication. Almost immediately after the news broke, tens of thousands of Poles assembled at the Presidential Palace to lay tributes, including flowers, wreaths, and candles. None of this ever happened, with the aircraft continuing the descent through the 120 m mark while the ground control remained silent. [6], Soon after, the aircraft began hitting trees. As the accident occurred on Russian soil, Russia was tasked by ICAO procedure with primary responsibility for investigation, which it carried out with international cooperation. [57][58] However, according to the findings of the Polish prosecutor's office in January 2013, General Błasik had not stayed in the cockpit and was a regular passenger. Polish explanation that, according to Polish law, Certificate of Airworthiness is required for civilian planes and is not obligatory for military machines — instead of this certificate, Polish military planes have to accomplish conditions regulated by "Instrukcja służby inżynieryjno-lotniczej Lotnictwa Sił Zbrojnych RP" (Instruction for engineering and aviation service of Aviation Forces in Republic of Poland). [137] The Soviets had long claimed Nazi Germany were the ones responsible. [184], On 30 October 2012, Polish magazine Rzeczpospolita reported that traces of explosives had been detected by investigators in the wreckage of the Tupolev, on the wings and in the cabin. [111][112] Concerts were cancelled. [5] The airport was equipped also with both a surveillance and landing radar. [3] In the middle of March, as part of their request for permission to conduct the flight, Poland asked for "Leaderman" services and the latest airport data for Smolensk. A temperature inversion had developed, trapping moisture low in the atmosphere and causing a dense fog to develop. The aircraft then went into a roll before landing on its back and disintegrating five seconds later. Doubts about Smolensk compliance with Russian regulations because there were trees and other obstacles in an area 300 to 900 m long before the runway. The crash on April 10, 2010, killed president Lech Kaczynski and 95 others, many of them top Polish state and military leaders. The investigation also determined that the controller's radar screen was not calibrated correctly and showed the airplane as being 90–150 metres (300–490 ft) closer to the runway than it actually was. Michalak had only 329 hours, all on the Tu-154. MOSCOW — Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some of the country's highest military and civilian leaders died today when the presidential plane crashed … In a normal situation, this would dictate that the first officer be the pilot actually flying the airplane, but as the weather was bad the captain, as the most experienced member of the crew, elected to fly the airplane as well. Poland notices also that Commander of the Landing Zone had never before worked at Smolensk and in last 12 months performed this function only 7 times. The Marshal of the Sejm, Bronisław Komorowski, had previously been announced as the Civic Platform's candidate in the presidential election. Protasiuk had landed at Smolensk three days earlier on 7 April in the same Tu-154; he served as first officer on that flight. [167] The paper, however, was self-published and not peer-reviewed. Tusk knelt and briefly hid his face in his hands, then stood up as Putin patted him on the shoulder. Kaczynski paid tribute to his twin and other victims at monuments to the victims in Warsaw, at the exact moment that the plane crashed on April 10, 2010. This had the effect of increasing the altimeter's reading by 170 metres (560 ft); as the TAWS takes readings from this particular altimeter, this had the additional effect of silencing the warning. All other altimeters on board were set correctly. [3], The main points of Polish comments are:[20], At an 18 January 2011 press conference, the Polish investigation made public the information contained in ATC recordings, and their analysis of such. The remaining aircraft from the regiment, including the surviving Tu-154, were sold.[105]. [51] A Polish spokesperson said that the first withdrawals using the cards had been made around two hours after the crash. According to the Polish committee's findings, the command to level should have been issued 10 seconds sooner, when the aircraft was well below the glide path. [66] In the aftermath of the accident, Russia published a large number of restricted documents on the Katyn massacre, and declassified and published many more. The MAK completed their investigation on 20 October 2010. [3] The "trial" approach was conducted with the understanding by ATC that all risk for such an approach was to be undertaken by PLF 101 and not ATC. This year, Polish leaders had hoped to travel to Russia to mark the anniversary, but a government spokesman said Russia did not provide the Polish government with the logistical support needed to organize the visit. Malediwy solidaryzują się z Polską. At 10.41am on 10 April 2010, it crashed a few hundred metres short of the runway, killing all 96 people aboard. The Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS) fired its first audible warning "terrain ahead!" [65] This prompted a Warsaw court and a separate military investigation. "[3], The airport, which normally should have been closed due to the severe conditions, was not declared closed as its management feared that this could cause a diplomatic incident. [47] According to the news agency Interfax, the pilot was told that Smolensk North Airport was enveloped in thick fog and strongly advised against landing, but still he decided to continue with the original flight plan and attempt a landing. One second after the 100 m altitude was reached, the TAWS alert "PULL UP" activated and continued to sound for the remainder of the flight. Many bulbs were burned out, several others were missing their lenses, and others were obscured by shrubbery. Under Russian law, military flights are under the control of Russian military ATC, and permission or denial for approach and landing must be given by the controller prior to these actions being undertaken by a flight crew. It is unknown whether the crew really understood the ground control instruction (literally, "landing additionally, 120, 3 m"), which was issued in Russian and used a relatively recent expression that was only codified in 2006. As the aircraft approached the outer marker, the crew issued pitch commands (via the CLIMB-DESCEND wheel) to the autopilot. Archbishop of Kraków Stanisław Dziwisz presided over the ceremony, and addressed President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev personally: "The sympathy and help we have received from Russian brothers has breathed new life into a hope for closer relations and reconciliation between our two Slavic nations". [173] Nowaczyk analyzed data from FMS and TAWS system and came to the conclusions that the plane flew over the tree and was torn at a height over 30 m above the ground. The crew did not disengage the autopilot, but the action of commanding maximum pitch up on the control column overpowered it, causing the pitch channel to disengage. He suggested that the date of the elections should be decided by the parliamentary opposition,[97] with him acting merely to guarantee that the Constitution is respected. Documents confirm only admission for work at day and night in normal weather conditions. The head of the previous commission, Maciej Lasek, dismissed the claims as "illusions" and "propaganda". This change was made after the aircraft began its final approach and soon after the first TAWS warning sounded. [3], At 180 metres (590 ft), the "terrain ahead!" President Lech Kaczyński and dozens of senior figures from Poland’s military, financial and political establishment are assumed to have died when their plane crashed this morning in western Russia. Some concern arose that Kaczyński's funeral would have to be delayed as a consequence of volcanic ash emanating from Iceland and the resulting air travel disruption in Europe. The Scientific Committee of the Conferences was chaired by Professor Kazimierz Flaga. Allegations that documents certifying the medical examination of air controllers had manual corrections and are inconsistent with their testimonies where they confirmed that medical point was closed on 10 April 2010. [3] It would later be discovered that the FDR was partially defective and had occasional gaps in its data, but as the QAR managed to survive the crash, by synchronizing the data from the two units, a complete picture of flight data emerged. The tail section came to rest backwards, relative to the direction of flight. Built in 1990 at the Kuybyshev Aviation Plant as msn 90A837, it first flew on 29 June 1990. warning again sounded on the flight deck. [162], NATO was reportedly concerned over the possible compromise of many of its secret codes and communications procedures to the Russian government. [13], The captain and first officer's decision making may have also been affected by knowledge of a 2008 flight when the President of Poland ordered a change in destination right before departure and again while airborne. [3] The crew began calling out radar altitude every 10 metres (33 ft). ... Hawaii Plane Crash Caught on Tape ... ABC News Recommended for you. [101], Following the publication of the Polish Accident report, the 36th Special Aviation Regiment which operated the flight was disbanded, and 13 Polish military officers were dismissed. [55], The discrepancy among the time of the crash registered by MARS flight recorders (10:41:05.4), ATM-QAR recorder (10:41:04), and when electricity lines were cut by the crashing aircraft a second or two before the final crash (10:39:35) was never explained. [62] At one point in the recording, Mariusz Kazana, the Director of Diplomatic Protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, enters the cockpit and was told by the pilot "Sir, the fog is increasing. In addition to the lighting system not being depicted correctly, the airport's location was charted approximately 116 metres (381 ft) to the North of its actual position. "The pilots ignored the plane's automatic warnings and attempted an incredibly risky landing," Klich said. [71], As part of their investigation, MAK conducted an experiment in a Tu-154M simulator to determine how late the crew could have gone around. Smoleńska", "Some technical and constructional aspects of the Smolensk air crash", "The analysis of visualization of the Smolensk air crash", "Are the reports of MAK and Miller's committee reliable? [102][103][104] In the second round of the election, Komorowski defeated Kaczyński with 53% of the vote. [3] Additionally, the MAK report found an "immediate cause" of the accident was the presence in the cockpit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Air Force, which placed extreme stress and "psychological pressure" on the Captain to "continue descent in conditions of unjustified risk with a dominating aim of landing at any means. [186][187] The author of the article in question, Cezary Gmyz, maintained that what he wrote was confirmed by four independent sources. [202] In April 2018, the commission headed by Antoni Macierewicz published a report which said that the plane was destroyed in the air by an explosion, and that Russian air traffic controllers at the Smolensk air base had misled the pilots about the plane's location during its approach to the runway. April 10, 2019 4:02 am WARSAW — Nine years ago, a plane crash that killed Poland’s president and 95 others created one of the most potent myths in the country’s history. [168][169] Szuladzinski's report stated that: any landing (or fall) in a wooded area, no matter how adverse, and at what angle, could not in any way result in such fragmentation, which has been documented. The head of Poland’s ruling conservative party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, lays down a wreath during a scaled-down observance in memory of his twin brother, the late President Lech Kaczynski, and 95 other prominent Poles who were killed in a plane crash in Russia 10 years ago, at the late president’s monument in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, April 10, 2020. [109] Flags flew at half mast in Poland. Some US Republican congressmen supported this idea but the U.S. has never acted upon it. [87] [37] The two Flight Management System (FMS) units were also recovered. Info. The Polish Air Force Tu-154 plane crashed near the Russian city of Smolensk on April 10, 2010, killing all 96 people on board, including President Kaczynski. He said that there were no doubts about the plane's airworthiness. The Yak-40 crew replied, "Well, generally it's absolute shit here," and that, "(we) were lucky to land at the last moment. [3] As the descent continued, the crew realized they had started descent too late. The investigation ruled out a terrorist attack, explosion or fire on board the aircraft as the cause of the crash. [169][174][175] Wacław Berczyński, constructor of Boeing pointed to the pulled out rivets of the sheeting and claimed that it could be caused only by an internal explosion. Most Polish officials were instructed to fly on regular civilian flights. Request for document confirmation that Commander of the Landing Zone was allowed to work in bad weather conditions. As such, all communication between Smolensk ATC and PLF 101 was carried out in Russian. The commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre was split up because of the political conflict between the liberal-conservative government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk and national-conservative President Kaczyński. Standard practice would entail calling out the readings on the pressure altimeter, which is set according to atmospheric pressure and thereby references the elevation of the actual airport. [citation needed], Another major difference was a conclusion that Russian air traffic control played a part in the accident by passing incorrect information to the crew regarding the plane's position. They also determined that the aircraft was 40 metres (130 ft) lower than it should have been. The Final Report confirms this is exactly what happened.[3]. According to the Polish report, the radar was unstable and swung within ±10%. [123] The crash fuelled anti-Russian sentiment among far right extremists, with Polish nationalists invoking the tragedy during a riot outside the Russian embassy in Warsaw in November 2013. Nie lądować! [3] Therefore, upon being handed off (transferred) to Smolensk ATC, the captain took over communication duties from the navigator. [159] Only one airport in the country was open, and several international dignitaries were unable to attend. At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated more than 5,150 hours in 4,000 cycles. [citation needed] There is a method of setting up the TAWS to prevent false warnings when flying into airports not in the database, known as "terrain inhibit" mode; however, the crew did not utilize it. [46] The final accident report would later conclude that the captain's knowledge of Russian was "satisfactory. Failure to monitor altitude by means of a pressure altimeter during a non-precision approach; failure by the crew to respond to the PULL UP warning generated by the TAWS; attempt to execute the go-around maneuver under the control of ABSU (automatic go-around); Approach Control confirming to the crew the correct position of the airplane in relation to the RWY threshold, glide slope, and course which might have affirmed the crew's belief that the approach was proceeding correctly although the airplane was actually outside the permissible deviation margin; failure by LZC to inform the crew about descending below the glide slope and delayed issuance of the level-out command; incorrect training of the Tu-154M flight crews in the 36 Regiment. Russia dismissed his claims.[213]. Both the Russian and Polish official investigations found no technical faults with the aircraft, and concluded that the crew failed to conduct the approach in a safe manner in the given weather conditions. Cause of accident according to Polish report: Circumstances contributing to the accident:[2], In addition to Kaczyński and his wife Maria, and Ryszard Kaczorowski, the former last President of Poland in exile, on board were the military chiefs of staff (army, air force, navy), the national bank governor, a deputy foreign minister, head army chaplains of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, head of the National Security Bureau, three deputy parliament speakers, Olympic Committee head, the civil rights commissioner Janusz Kochanowski, trade union activist Anna Walentynowicz, and at least two presidential aides and widely known national lawmakers (including core members of the Law and Justice party). [citation needed] Shortly after the 2015 Polish parliamentary elections the website was shut down and all documents removed by the new government,[80] but were subsequently restored on an independent mirror. In Poland, the public reacted with shock and grief to the disaster. The commission was to be supervised by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Poland's government on Friday marked the 10th anniversary of the plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others by demanding that Russia return the wreckage of the plane. [2] However, it was impossible for the autopilot installed in the aircraft to conduct an automatic go-around from a non-precision approach. The nose impact resulted in forces exceeding 100g, which killed everyone on board instantly. The control column briefly moved to neutral at this point, then moved full aft and remained there for the duration of the flight. Share. MAK states that camera, voice recorders and photo laboratory not worked properly and a lot of information was not saved. Two seconds before the "level" command, the aircraft commander made the decision to go around. The committee is headquartered in Moscow, Russia. [3] The Captain then requested and was given permission to conduct a "trial" approach. 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