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National mourning in Poland

by Migeru Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 05:22:46 AM EST

From Gazeta Wyborcza (translation contributed by ThatBritGuy in the comments):

No one survived

The first family, vice-marshals of the Sejm, tens of elected representaticves and senators, military leaders, clergy... The left wing of the government Tupolev collided with a tree on final approach, crashed and immediately burst into flames. No one survived the catastrophe.

...

The airport in Smolensk was a military installation. Until the 15th October it was Airport 103, home of the Walentyna Grizodubowa Air Transport Regiment which had been stationed there since 1946. It lacks the automated landing aids (used at civil airports) and the landing was further complicated by dense fog. Andriej Jewsiejenkow, a spokesman for the regional governor of Smolensk, has just informed us that the control tower at the airport recommended that the president's plane be diverted to Minsk in Bielarus, and that the party should drive to the ceremony. But the president and the pilots decided to land in spite of the bad weather.

...

On board were President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Aleksander Szczyglo - Head of the National Security Bureau, Ryszard Kaczorowski - the last president in exile, Jerzy Szmajdzinski - Deputy Marshal of the Sejm [Polish Parliament], Krzysztof Putra - Deputy Marshal of the Senate, Izabela Jaruga Nowacka, Jolanta Szymanek-Deresz - members of parliament, Paul Wypych and Wladyslaw Stasiak - ministers in the office of President, Mariusz Handzlik - Presidential Minister, Andrew Carrier - Secretary of the Protection of Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom, Gregory Dolniak - club vice president PO, - Przemyslaw Gosiewski and Zbigniew Wassermann - PiS MEPs , Sławomir Skrzypek - head of National Bank of Poland and Janusz Kurtyka - head of the IPN (Institute of National History).

The Marshall (Speaker) of the Sejm has been sworn in as interim President and an emergency session of the Council of Ministers has been convened for 13h. A new Presidential Election will be called within two weeks to be held in the following two months, according to the Constitution (also Gazeta Wyborcza via Google Translate).


Display:
BBC News - Polish President Lech Kaczynski 'in plane crash'

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and scores of others are believed to have been killed in a plane crash in Russia.

Officials in the Smolensk region said no-one had survived after the plane apparently hit trees as it came in for landing in thick fog.

Several other government figures, including the army chief of staff, were also thought to have been on board.

They were in Russia to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when the Soviets killed thousands of Poles.

The BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw says the crash is a catastrophe for the Polish people.

He says Prime Minister Donald Tusk was reportedly in tears when he was told.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 05:46:34 AM EST
How truly sad and unfortunate.
by sgr2 on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 06:09:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
first paragraph: caught "fire" surely?
and to make names and title consistent, my proposal for the last quoted paragraph:


On board were President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Aleksander Szczyglo - Head of National Security Bureau, Ryszard Kaczorowski -  the last president in exile, Jerzy Szmajdzinski - Deputy Marshal of the Sejm [Polish Parliament], Krzysztof Putra - Deputy Marshal of the Senate,  Izabela Jaruga Nowacka, Jolanta Szymanek-Deresz - members of parliament, Paul Wypych and Wladyslaw Stasiak - ministers in the office of President, Mariusz Handzlik  - Presidential Minister, Andrew Carrier - Secretary of the Protection of Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom, Gregory Dolniak  - club vice president PO, - Przemyslaw Gosiewski and Zbigniew Wassermann - PiS MEPs  , Slawomir Creak - head of National Bank of Poland  and Janusz Kurtyka -  head of the IPN.

What is "PO"? What is the IPN? Is the name of the NBP head mis-translated?

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 06:54:44 AM EST
Where is MarekNYC when we need him?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 06:56:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I miss having Marek around in general, but, yeah, his takes would be quite valuable here.  Whatever happened to him?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 09:03:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PO might be the political party Civic Platform (Polish: Platforma Obywatelska, PO).

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 07:00:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wikipedia says it's " Sławomir Skrzypek"

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 07:10:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read it here first, which probably says something about my waking up routine.

At moments like these I also miss Elco B - I'm sure he'd have been able to comment knowledgeable about the type of airplane and provide answers on safety issues...

Is it still normal that so many important people fly on one plane? After the 1996 Dakoto plane crash in Den Helder, it turned out that a number of bridges in North-Holland province couldn't be operated any more because 26 bridge operators had been on-board for a company-outing...

by Nomad on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 07:13:30 AM EST
I don't have the time to research properly and I never had Elco's breadth of knowledge, but I shared his interest, I think this is a pretty reasonable summary:

BBC News - History of the Tupolev-154 plane

History of the Tupolev-154 plane

The Polish presidential plane - a Tupolev-154

The Tupolev-154 was for more than a quarter of a century the backbone of Russia's and the Soviet Union's air transport system.

It carried about half the number of all passengers flown by Russia's national carrier Aeroflot and its successors in that time, with that number peaking at 137 million per year in 1990.

About 1,000 were built, and some remain in service in Russia and countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc.

The aircraft entered service in 1972 and was "modernised" in 1986, with new engines and equipment to improve its fuel consumption and flight operations.

But as an indication of its ageing design, the Chinese government decided in 2001 to withdraw the Tu-154 from its airlines.

Aeroflot took the decision to phase them out more recently, saying their high fuel consumption made them uneconomic.

Difficult conditions

An expert on Russian aviation, Paul Duffy, assessed the safety record of the Tu-154 in 2004, for the BBC News website.

Of 28 lost in accidents up to that date - a figure about normal for the quantity, years of service and technology of the type, in his view - few had crashed because of technical failure, he said.

"The Tu-154 operates in regions with not very good air traffic control and navigation equipment, and in very difficult weather conditions," he said at the time.

It's a pretty robust aeroplane, but the age is a concern - maintenance and checking for defects is critical as a plane gets older. One would think that a presidential plane would receive the best care... but things happen.

However, it does sound related to conditions and if they had ignored advice to land elsewhere... this highlights why the advice was given.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 07:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Addendum - from reading more reports it seems an accident more related to:

a) Fog
b) Lack of landing aids at the airstrip

than any deficiency of the aeroplane but we can't exclude instrument failures.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 07:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
c) an old Tupolev?
d) the pilot and the President allegedly disregarded control tower suggestions to divert the plane to Minsk?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 09:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
d) the pilot and the President allegedly disregarded control tower suggestions to divert the plane to Minsk?

This type of reason alone (if confirmed by CVR) has caused more aircraft accidents than all technical issues put together, especially when combined with a) and b).

Air safety is serious business. When professionals familiar with the area advise pilots to divert, disregarding their advice is a really bad idea.

by Bernard on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 11:12:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know this is off topic but 28 out of 1,000 planes lost in accidents?

That's super high, and they say that's normal? Really?

by Upstate NY on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 10:28:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue is many of the crashes have been categorised as down to bad conditions and bad air traffic control, especially in the wilder parts of Russia. It's unreasonable to blame the plane for those.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 11:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.
Quite a few accidents happened in Iran and others were due to terror attacks. Even Ukraine shot a Tupolev out of the air by accident en route from Tel Aviv to Siberia. [Same general responsible for shooting down Korean flight KAL007]

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 04:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
28 must have been only the number with high fatalities, the figure I find is 59; but either way, it's airplanes, not flights. While others noted non-construction-related factors impacting Tu-154s in a special way, I note that the ratio does not stand out compared to similar-aged or older airplane families. Check the stats here: for example, of 856 Boeing 707 built, 164 were lost in the past 52 years.

(I remember reading somewhere that the overwhelming majority of ships built throughout history finished their life by sinking -- which, again, shouldn't be shocking, because the danger of ship travel should be calculated in terms of trips, not ships.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 06:40:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a second tragedy of Katyn.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 07:56:20 AM EST
Poland 'to hold early presidential election' - Europe, World - The Independent
Poland will hold an early presidential election after the death of President Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash in Russia on Saturday, the government spokesman said.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 08:12:13 AM EST
It's really quite shocking to know that a group of such significant players has been lost like this.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 08:13:59 AM EST
It is clear that Poland has been decapitated by this and nothing short of a generational shift in Polish leadership may be triggered by it.

It is a little annoying that the press is focusing so much on the fact that the President died. Most headlines almost make it sound like it was a civilian aircraft on which the President happened to be flying rather than an official Polish government plane full of dignataries.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 09:21:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is clear that Poland has been decapitated by this and nothing short of a generational shift in Polish leadership may be triggered by it.

Well, Tusk is still around, and I wonder if he will abandon PM-ship to get the Presidency...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 12:05:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Non-Google translation:

Nikt nie przeżył katastrofy w SmoleńskuNo one survived the catastrohe in Smolensk
Prezydencka para, wicemarszałkowie Sejmu, dziesiątki posłów, senatorowie, dowódcy Wojska Polskiego, duchowni... Rządowy tupolew podchodząc do lądowania lewym skrzydłem zahaczył o drzewo i spadł, od razu się zapalił. Nikt nie przeżył katastrofy.The first family, vice-marshals of the Sejm, tens of elected representaticves and senators, military leaders, clergy... The left wing of the government Tupolev collided with a tree on final approach, crashed and immediately burst into flames. No one survived the catastrophe
Do katastrofy doszło 2 kilometry od pasa startowego lotniska w Smoleńsku. - Wszyscy w Katyniu czekali już na prezydenta - relacjonuje nasz korespondent Marcin Wojciechowski z miejsca katastrofy. - Aż nagle pojawiła się wiadomość że doszło do awarii. Czekaliśmy na potwierdzenie i nagle zobaczyliśmy, że pracownicy biura prezydenta płaczą, zaczęli mówić, że jest bardzo źle.The catastrophe occured two kilometres from the runway of an airport in Smolensk. (Assembled dignitaries) had been waiting for the president in Katyn, writes correspondent Marcin Wojciechowski from the location of the tragedy. Suddenly news arrived that a disaster had happened. We waited for confirmation, but then saw that the president's personal staff were in tears, and the situation was very bad.

Lotnisko w Smoleńsku to była jednostka wojskowa. Do 15 października to było lotnisko 103. Pułku Wojskowego Lotnictwa Transportowego im Walentyny Grizodubowej, który tam stacjonował od 1946 r. Nie ma tam wyposażenia do naprowadzenia samolotów, lądowanie dodatkowo utrudniła gęsta mgła. Andriej Jewsiejenkow, rzecznik gubernatora obwodu smoleńskiego poinformował przed chwilą, że wieża kontrolna na lotnisku radziła, żeby prezydencki samolot wylądował w Mińsku na Białorusi, a uczestnicy przejechali na miejsce uroczystości, jednak piloci i prezydent zdecydowali, że mimo złej pogody będą lądować.
The airport in Smolensk was a military installation. Until the 15th October it was Airport 103, home of the Walentyna Grizodubowa Air Transport Regiment which had been stationed there since 1946. It lacks the automated landing aids (used at civil airports) and the landing was further complicated by dense fog. Andriej Jewsiejenkow, a spokesman for the regional governor of Smolensk, has just informed us that the control tower at the airport recommended that the president's plane be diverted to Minsk in Bielarus, and that the party should drive to the ceremony. But the president and the pilots decided to land in spite of the bad weather.
Ekspert wojskowy wyjaśnił "Gazecie", że na pół godziny przed lądowaniem samolotu prezydenckiego na lotnisku Siewiernyj miał wylądować wojskowy Ił-76 z Moskwy, który wiózł oddział funkcjonariuszy Federalnej Służby Ochrony (odpowiednik BOR-u). Pilotował go lotnik ze Smoleńska, dobrze znający miejscowe warunki. Dwa razy podchodził do lądowania. W końcu zawrócił na moskiewskie Wnukowo.A military expert told Gazeta Wyborcza that an Ił-76 carrying a detail of Federal Secret Service staff from Moscow had been scheduled to land half an hour before the arrival of the presidential aircraft. The flight was piloted by a Smolensk regular who was familiar with local conditions, but after two attempts the pilot diverted to Wnukowo airport near Moscow.
Samolot prezydencki cztery razy podchodził do lądowania. - Polak mieszkający w hotelu w pobliżu miejsca opowiada, że samolot zahaczył lewym skrzydłem o drzewo i runął na ziemię i rozpadł się - relacjonuje nasz korespondent. - Od razu wybuchł pożar. Służby ratownicze na miejscu pojawiły się po kilkunastu minutach.The president's aircraft attempt to land four times. According to an eye-witness account from a Polish resident of a nearby hotel, the left wing clipped a tree and rolled into the ground, breaking up and bursting into flames instantly. Emergency services were on the scene within minutes.
Informację o tym, że to zahaczenie skrzydłem o drzewo było przyczyną katastrofy potwierdza rzecznik MSZ Piotr Paszkowski: - Stan techniczny samolotów rządowych jest bardzo dokładnie badany i żaden samolot z usterką techniczną nie jest dopuszczany do ruchu. W tej chwili możemy założyć, że samolot był w pełni technicznie sprawny, ale być może nastąpiła jakaś usterka techniczna w trakcie lotu - powiedział. Samolot, który uległ katastrofie, w lutym wrócił z generalnego przeglądu.Confirmation of the cause of the accident came from Piotr Paskowski, a spokesman for the Polish Foreign Office. "The airworthiness of government aircraft is tested exhaustively" he commented. "Any plane with a technical problem is grounded. We can be sure that the aircraft was fully functional at take off - although it's possible that a technical problem occured during the flight". The airliner which was destroyed in the accident had completed a general overhaul and service in February.
- Rosjanie mówią, że nie ma sensu wysyłać na miejsce karetek, wszyscy zginęli - opowiada Wojciechowski. - Do katastrofy doszło w lesie, rosyjskie służby wyrównują teraz błoto, żeby wjechać na miejsce katastrofy.The Russians are saying that there is no need to send ambulances to the crash site, because there are no survivors (adds our correspondent.) The crash took place in a forest, and the Russian emergency services are levelling the ground around the site make it easier to reach the area.

Na pokładzie byli prezydent Lech Kaczyński i jego żona, Aleksander Szczygło - szef Biura Bezpieczeństwa Narodowego, ostatni prezydent na uchodźstwie Ryszard Kaczorowski, wicemarszałkowie Sejmu Jerzy Szmajdziński i Senatu Krzysztof Putra, posłanki: Izabela Jaruga Nowacka, Jolanta Szymanek-Deresz, ministrowie w kancelarii prezydenta Paweł Wypych i Władysław Stasiak, prezydencki minister Mariusz Handzlik, Sekretarz Rady Ochrony Pamięci, Walk i Męczeństwa Andrzej Przewoźnik, wiceszef klubu PO Grzegorz Dolniak, posłowie PiS Przemysław Gosiewski i Zbigniew Wassermann, szef NBP Sławomir Skrzypek i szef IPN Janusz Kurtyka.
On board were President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Aleksander Szczyglo - Head of the National Security Bureau, Ryszard Kaczorowski - the last president in exile, Jerzy Szmajdzinski - Deputy Marshal of the Sejm [Polish Parliament], Krzysztof Putra - Deputy Marshal of the Senate, Izabela Jaruga Nowacka, Jolanta Szymanek-Deresz - members of parliament, Paul Wypych and Wladyslaw Stasiak - ministers in the office of President, Mariusz Handzlik - Presidential Minister, Andrew Carrier - Secretary of the Protection of Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom, Gregory Dolniak - club vice president PO, - Przemyslaw Gosiewski and Zbigniew Wassermann - PiS MEPs , Slawomir Creak - head of National Bank of Poland and Janusz Kurtyka - head of the IPN (Institute of National History).
Więcej... http://wyborcza.pl/1,75478,7752565,Nikt_nie_przezyl.html#ixzz0khMIzd2k
Więcej... http://wyborcza.pl/1,75478,7752565,Nikt_nie_przezyl.html#ixzz0khF0mJ1p
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 08:16:46 AM EST
I originally used a google translation because Gazeta Wyborcza takes some time to add items to their english version, and then only a selection of articles, apparently.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 02:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Polish president Lech Kaczynski killed in plane crash | World news | guardian.co.uk

The Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and his wife were among 96 people killed when their plane crashed in thick fog on its approach to a regional airport in Russia early this morning.

The governor of the west Russian town of Smolensk confirmed there were no survivors from the Tupulov Tu-154 plane, which came down at 11am (7am GMT) about a mile (1.5km) from Smolensk airport.

"The Polish presidential plane did not make it to the runway while landing. Tentative findings indicate that it hit the treetops and fell apart. Nobody has survived the disaster," Smolensk governor Sergei Anufriev told the Russia 24 news channel.

The Polish government will hold an emergency meeting later today. Officials said the head of the Polish army, the governor of the central bank and the head of the presidential administration were also on board the plane, as well as the families of other senior officials.

"The plane caught fire after the crash," said a Polish foreign ministry spokesman in Warsaw. "Teams began attempting to pull out passengers from the badly damaged airplane."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 08:19:58 AM EST
such a terrible tragedy for Poland. something is really wrong in relations between Russia and Poland if such events happen regularly even by accident.

so much for airlines safety though they usually cite statistics and say that far more peopel have died in accidents on other kinds of transport.

still, nothing may be compared to horror and hopelessness in deaths up in the air. that's why with age i grew to be wary of embarking on any aircraft and prefer to choose overland routes and take airline only if i have no choice.

by FarEasterner on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 09:04:16 AM EST
something is really wrong in relations between Russia and Poland if such events happen regularly even by accident
What are you talking about?
the control tower at the airport recommended that the president's plane be diverted to Minsk in Bielarus, and that the party should drive to the ceremony. But the president and the pilots decided to land in spite of the bad weather
We'll have to wait for the cockpit voice recorder, but the one good thing about this incident will be that there probably won't be cause for nationalistic agitation of the kind you suggest.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 09:17:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are you talking about?

you don't know history? it seems that russian soil was unlucky for polish leadership for centuries. one can say cursed. only once they had upper hand (during smuta in early 17th century) when polish king was declared russian tsar, was crowned in kremlin and ruled for few years. however it did not end well.

by FarEasterner on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 09:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
one can say cursed

If one is superstitious, that is.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 09:46:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
Worthy of a Darwin Award, maybe?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 02:12:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
Another old saying: "There's no such thing as a good pilot. There are only old pilots."
by Bernard on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 04:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"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
[ Parent ]
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 on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 02:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a conspiracy theory strain in Polish politics, and (as you say) a lingering mistrust of Russian in the country.  I wonder what sort of impact that is going to have on the coming elections, because it seems like the right wing could use this to their advantage.  Not the least because one of the conspiracy theories pushed around by the right wing was that Walesa and the whole of leftish parties were in collusion with the Jaruzelski and the Russians during the late 1980s......

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 02:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 10:32:28 AM EST
It's too tragic to oomprehend.  I know it's not kosher to say such things here, but I can't help but think those woods are cursed.  

I'm surprised so many top level officials are allowed to fly together in the same plane.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 04:02:31 PM EST
I'm surprised so many top level officials are allowed to fly together in the same plane.

On the other hand, of the President and the Prime Minister, only one was on the plane. The Speaker of the Sejm was back home and the deputy speakers of the Sejm and Senate were on the plane. And so on. The only other head of something was the military Chief of Staff...

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 04:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the National Bank.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 06:09:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, missed that one.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 10:08:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.
Pilot was advised to divert due to heavy fog, it's the captain's call and responsibility. Runway length 2,500 mtr (8,200 ft) isn't very long, came in too low trying to land not being aware of tall tree tops. Poor pilot judgement, safety record of the Tupolev TU-154M is poor and problems were pre-existent in recent past.

Crash: Polish Air Force T154 at Smolensk impacted trees

(Aviation Herald) - A Polish Air Force Tupolev TU-154M was on approach to Smolensk North Airport's (Air Base) unmarked runway (runway heading approximately 270 degrees) in developing dense fog, when the airplane impacted trees about 1500-2000 meters short of the runway and crashed onto the ground coming to rest about 700 meters short of the runway threshold.

The crew was advised by air traffic control in Belarus not to continue to Smolensk due to fog, but to divert to Minsk and later, after hand off to Russian ATC, Russian Air Traffic Controllers recommended to divert to Moscow, the crew however continued to Smolensk. [Notable passengers list]

VIDEO RussiaToday.com

Aviation Safety preliminary report

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 04:23:27 PM EST
Russian media reports said [Kaczynski] had once become angry with a pilot who refused to land in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, on the grounds that it was unsafe. The same thing may have happened at Smolensk, aviation experts claimed. They suggested he may have pressed the pilot to make at least two attempts to land. [...]

A Russian military aircraft that attempted to land at the Smolensk airfield half an hour before the arrival of the Polish plane aborted because of the fog and was diverted to Moscow.

"No one should have been landing in that fog," said a Russian air traffic control official who had been present during conversations with the pilot. (London Times)


Back in 2008, when Georgia and Russia fought their brief war, Kaczynski was on his way to Tbilisi to support Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, in what he saw as fight with the Kremlin's "new imperialism".

Air traffic control told the pilot of Kaczynski's plane to turn back because it was too dangerous to land in Tbilisi, but the president -- who also is commander in chief under Poland's law -- ordered the pilot to land anyway. (Reuters)



A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns
by Alexander on Sat Apr 10th, 2010 at 11:51:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
between Kaczynski and Putin
square in Warsaw named after Chechen rebel leader Johar Dudayev
● supported Bush in missile shield push
● supplied arms to Georgia's Saakashvili

Sabotaging the plane would have been easy but daring, even for Putin. Perhaps if the ILS equipment had a mallfunction ... or pilot received erroneous data from ATC.

Cross-posted from AG's diary @BooMan -- Putin Heads Investigation Into Polish Crash?

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 01:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Get your tinfoil on!

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:08:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm putting on a triple layer!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:49:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a good thing you mentioned that your comment is cross-posted from BoomanTribune, because it doesn't really make much sense as a reply to my comment. Why would Putin possibly want to kill Kaczynski, much less do so by sabotaging a plane filled with members of the Polish government? Normal countries just don't do that sort of thing. And anyway, Kaczynski was on his way out.

BooMan has been frothing at the mouth since the 2008 Georgian hostilities, and Arthur Gilroy is a nut. (Two years ago, he thought Hilary Clinton is America's best hope.) I really can't understand why you still bother posting on that blog. It's even worse than Huffington Post in its adulation of Obama, despite the continuity between Obama and Bush 2 being at least as great as that between Blair and Thatcher.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:17:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Normal countries just don't do that sort of thing.

And you think Arthur Gilroy sees Russia as a normal country?

anyway, Kaczynski was on his way out.

And now his brother will run for President in a special election to be held within 10 weeks. What are the odds that he will use this in his campaign?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you think Arthur Gilroy sees Russia as a normal country?

I said Arthur Gilroy is a nut. If America, with its stolen elections, unaccountable war criminals, and brazen violation of international law is a normal country, then so is Russia.

And now his brother will run for President in a special election to be held within 10 weeks. What are the odds that he will use this in his campaign?

How does that relate to the point under discussion, whether it made sense for the Russians to assassinate Kaczynski? Surely the Russians would have been able to figure out that there was a risk of Kaczynski's brother getting a popularity bounce if Kaczynski got killed. Or are you suggesting that the Russians were expecting both twins to be on the plane, and that the surviving brother's deciding at the last moment not to get on the plane because their mother was ill will turn out to be the chance event that caused the Russian plot to backfire?

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I never suggested that the Russians are to blame for the crash.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 10:07:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, normal countries do kill people by sabotaging their planes. It was very popular with the Americans in Latin America, back when knocking out a single man was still able to make a difference in that part of the world.

The thing is, it's one thing to happen an accident to someone - it's quite another level of ballsy to happen an accident to someone who's on your turf on an official visit.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 07:33:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh come on.

Let's see, Russia and Poland were on the precipice of the best improvement in relations they've had in generations, so kill Putin kills the Polish president.  That makes perfect sense.  Far more sense than the air traffic controlers' repeated requests not to land here in these conditions.  Yes, perfectly.

I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised by the class with Russia has handled this, and the sobriety with which the Polish people reacted.  I live in a city that claims to have the largest population of Poles outside Warsaw, and we've had tons of local coverage of the event.  Not once have I heard blame or even criticism of Russia, and several Polish dignitaries have even praised Putin's handling of the event.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Apr 12th, 2010 at 04:37:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Polish delegation was killed by VIP-factor, through Google Translate (corrected):

"The commander of the flight, of course, is in charge and only he decides what to do," said [aviation expert] Akimenkov AM. But he couldn't help remembering a case where the pilot did not listen to Kaczynski and refused to land in Tbilisi, paying for that with his career. Naturally, the Polish president was eager to get to Katyn, to arrive on time, and certainly it was he who forced the pilot to land in Smolensk, imposing his decision.

In August 2008 Kaczynski's pilot refused to put the liner in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, as requested by the president. On board that day were heads of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Ukraine, sent on a visit to Georgia. Kaczynski wanted the jet to fly "directly in Tbilisi, to meet as soon as possible with President Mikheil Saakashvili.  Despite the fact that the pilot was following the flight plan of the presidential plane, predetermined by Kaczynski's office and not allowing for a landing in Tbilisi, Mr. Kaczynski demanded that the pilot land at the airport. However, the pilot did not risk the lives of VIP-passengers in a complex political situation and the lack of diplomatic arrangements to fly to Tbilisi. The plane landed near the capital of Azerbaijan in the city of Ganja, and senior passengers traveled to Tbilisi by car. 'We will sort things out, at the highest level,' Kaczynski indignantly said at the time. According to unofficial information, the pilot was fired."

That the only possible reason for the catastrophe was pressure from VIPs aboard the plane is also the view of another expert, Distinguished Military Navigator of the USSR, who has investigated more than 50 accidents, who asked that his name not be mentioned in the media.

"The captain and copilot can sincerely be sympathized with," he told GZT.RU. "When Smolensk said it would be better to go to another airport, 105 percent, he went to the suite of the president, there is no doubt about it. And again after two aborted landings... Usually in this case one goes to an alternate airport. There was clearly pressure from the president or the head of the Air Force. The pilot's situation is desperate - get fired, or follow orders. But when a pilot is at the peak of his powers, he wants to work. The pilot, most likely, was taken out of a calm state. It is possible that someone even entered the cockpit and made an impression on him.

The interlocutor of GZT.RU is sure that pilot error in the TU-154 was caused by flying VIPs, but this will most likely never be publicly revealed. He noted with displeasure the undue haste with which high-ranking Russian officials arrived at the scene.

"The rules of aircraft accident investigation are clearly written concerning how a commission is created and who composes it," he clarified. "Investigators, prosecutors must cooperate with the commission, rather than forestalling it. The Commission should consist of experts - pilots and engineers who have experience with this type of aircraft. Transport prosecutors are always tuned to prosecuting the pilot, instead of figuring out what led to suboptimal actions in fact," he said. "If three independent investigators were allowed access to the radio transmissions, the transcript would clearly show what happened. But the ministers will have it under lock and key, and no one will ever know any details."


In other words, the Russians are not going to embarrass the Polish government by revealing that their president killed half of the government.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns
by Alexander on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 03:46:31 PM EST
A couple of posts at HuffingtonPost by someone in Poland:

It has been said on the Polish radio that no civilian pilot would have agreed to land and military pilots would only "attempt" to land under strict orders (remember, the commander in chief as well as the heads of all the military branches were on board - there has since been back-pedaling and possible blame shifting - as it is being reported that the pilot would have final judgment which stretches credibility). It totally fits with Kaczynski's bravado style to have ordered the pilot to land and that it would have been unacceptable to him to arrive in the less dignified manner of by bus after landing at another airport - especially in Russia - he was very much into pomp and political ceremony or late and thus miss the event - if they had gone to Minsk they would have been stuck on the tarmac for hours as they were not prepared for the security. It just fits Kaczynski's rash style that they decided to attempt anyway even with repeated aborted attempts.
It will be very interesting to see what happens politically as this has almost completely wiped out the extreme right-wing as it has become clear that is who comprised the bulk of the passenger list (with a few very notable exceptions) - it should be known that Kaczynski was in the habit of showing up at events such as EU summits unannounced to which Tusk had been invited as the official representative causing much confusion and embarrassment - the official Katyń memorial with Tusk (the Prime Minister who actually runs the administration of the country) and Putin along with Lech Wełęsa and the cultural elite such as Andrzej Wajda took place last Tuesday (Putin even acknowledging Katyń being a huge step forward in Russian-Polish relations). The plane was a Kaczynski/PIŚ (Kaczynski's right-wing political party) organized secondary 'patriotic/religious' event (to be honest, I think the first event was about Polish-Russian reconciliation where this event was about nationalism) and was thus a concentration of people from that party - talking with a Polish friend here (in Poland) last night who had lived in the US, she encapsulated it well: it is very equivalent to if when Bush was in office if he, his staff and the GOP leadership, and right-wing religious leaders had all been on the same flight and only Cheney was left - in the form of Kaczynski's more ambitious twin. Where it will go, who knows....


A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns
by Alexander on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 04:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't seen this mentioned in the Western media:

After the death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski journalists drew attention to several facts that preceded the current disaster. In particular, in January 2008, tragedy struck when the military transport aircraft CASA-295M with the high command of the Polish Air Force crashed near the city of Szczecin. The plane crashed while landing, falling from a height of 200 meters. It caught fire in the woods about 800 meters from the aerodrome. Passengers of the plane were the participants of the annual conference on aviation safety. [!] Moreover, the pilot of the CASA-295M made several attempts to land in difficult weather conditions. Evidently, no conclusions were drawn from this tragedy.

Black days in Poland

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 05:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Got back tonight to read that one of the people on this flight was one of my best friends uncles

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Apr 11th, 2010 at 09:17:13 PM EST


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