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one can say cursed

If one is superstitious, that is.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 09:46:43 AM EST
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Indeed, and the reports of so many failed attempts at landing make clear to a high degree of probability what happened here.
by Upstate NY on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 10:31:37 AM EST
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Not being a fan of Kaczynski, I'd suggest it takes a rare kind of pig-headedness to order four landing attempts at a runway without landing aids in thick fog.

Professional pilots don't get to be professional pilots without having at least some clue, and four attempts is truly exceptional. Common sense suggests that if you can't land by the third attempt, it's really a very good idea to think about a Plan B, and it's actually FAA policy to suggest diversion after two go-arounds.

Just to be clear, we're talking about attempting instrument landings in thick fog with zero effective visibility while carrying some of Poland's most important politicians.

If the reports are accurate, that really was incredibly reckless and downright stupid.

And without wanting to make light of this in any way, it's more than a little ironic that it's one of the few times in recent European history that the left wing of anything has had this much political influence.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 12:53:51 PM EST
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The Smolensk controllers must be wishing that they had told the plane to divert to Minsk instead of merely recommending it. Would they have been able to refuse permission to land at Smolensk?
by Gag Halfrunt on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 02:02:20 PM EST
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Worthy of a Darwin Award, maybe?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 02:12:41 PM EST
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Really does sound incredibly stupid, but there's an odd psychological disease that can build in events like this-- we call it "Gethomeitis"-- and it's a nasty bug. Had it myself.
Accident rate is highest at the home field in zero-zero weather. Sort of a "So Near and Yet--" thing.
Jeppesen's data says the field had a localizer approach and an ILS on runway 08-26, so it was not really ill-equipped. If the ILS was working...
As for the controllers directing the plane to another field of to take any action at all-- "Controllers" is a misnomer. They can advise, but not direct. The pilot has, in Eastern Europe as well as the rest of the world, the ultimate responsibility, so he has the last say. However stupid.
There's an old saying about those pilot calls-- "If my ass gets there, so will the passengers".
Not this time.


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 03:07:16 PM EST
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ILS would change things. The Gazeta report was implying that the airfield was bare-bones. If it had ILS and it was working, it's quite a bit more difficult to understand why the crash happened.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 04:04:26 PM EST
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Another old saying: "There's no such thing as a good pilot. There are only old pilots."
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 04:33:46 PM EST
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"There are bold pilots. And then there are old pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots."

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 12:45:19 PM EST
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This is where the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) contents will be useful to understand the decision making: it should have recorded all conversations held by the cockpit crew, both with the tower, inside the cockpit itself as well as over the plane's intercom. If Kaczynski forced the captain's hand, evidence should be there...
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 02:58:07 PM EST
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