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Crash of Tu-154 at Smolensk-North--could it have been a bomb in the Polish plane?


MediaWatch 10 | 945
9 Sep 2010  #151
Yep..all the technical equipment in the world cannot show what is going through a pilots mind....why they made a decision that resulted in disaster...

You conveniently forgot the third explanation which was just given a basis by that recent Polish article on Polish investigators of the crash, that Seanus just referenced.

And that is that the Polish crew was actually GIVEN PERMSSION TO LAND, AFTER the Polish crew REQUESTED permission to land, despite the adamant repeating of the opposite by Russian authorities shortly after the crash.

Wildy why did you overlook that 3 ton elephant in the room??? LOL I know you like mother Russia but......
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #152
The plane cleared the distorted reading zone and then readings normalised as there was not terrain with valleys. However, they declared 'odchodzimy' at that point but there was no way they could get up by that time. Simply put, the ATC didn't guide them through the troughs in the land well enough. It could well have been that a KGB guy ordered them to read incorrectly. Also, they are looking into that video. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
9 Sep 2010  #153
How could they not tell how quickly the plane was descending at the ATC?

It would take only seconds for a big aircraft like this to drop below the height where it was in danger , there may not have been time to give a warning to the aircraft...In any case , the crew had to know that there were hills and valleys around the airport covered in trees and that they were flying well below a safe height....

I still believe they flew low on purpose to try and spot the runway..too low...!

And that is that the Polish crew was actually GIVEN PERMSSION TO LAND, AFTER the Polish crew REQUESTED permission to land, despite the adamant repeating of the opposite by Russian authorities shortly after the crash.

If a pilot requests permission to land , he is given it...its normal...ATC can recommend another place to land , advise against it due to weather , but the final decision lies with the pilot only....

ATC do not know what the situation is on the aircraft , what problems they may have , what are the skills of the pilot....The decision about landing is always made by the pilot , and no other person...and being given permission does not mean you have to go ahead and land if you consider it not safe....

You cannot blame the ATC for giving permission if a pilot requests it...
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #154
Wildrover, they would have known but they needed to be guided in and they weren't. The inaccurate readings were caused by the dips from ground level and the irregular descent velocity. They were not informed of this in time.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
9 Sep 2010  #155
they needed to be guided in and they weren't.

But have we not already established that this poorly equipped old airfield did not have the technical equipment for guiding an aircraft down in bad weather...?

The Russian military aircraft that normally use this base are always diverted to another landing site in bad weather for this very reason....

If there was any doubt in the pilots mind that they could land safely then his duty was to divert to another location , but for reasons we are all aware of the pressure was on to push his luck a little...
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #156
Simple question, wildrover. Why was the aircraft 15 metres below the runway upon first impact? Just visualise that first.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
9 Sep 2010  #157
I think it was because the crew were looking out of the windows to try and catch sight of the runway...and failed to keep an eye on their instuments..

This was one of the major causes of the Polish miltary aircraft crash near my home that wiped out most of Polands top air force people...

I think its more than possible it has happend a second time...
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #158
Keep their tools out of it ;) ;)

The two readings measured different things and they should have known that. Still, they needed guidance which was lacking, especially given that they didn't have an ILS but merely a beacon (NDB?). They landed before but needed extra help given the foggy conditions. In Heathrow, they installed MLS's for extra guidance security. They were well off and not told to correct course until too late. Also, their true velocity was not given to them.
Matt32 4 | 83
9 Sep 2010  #159
I wouldn't understand much of it!Do you say that it was deliberate sinister action taken by unknown culprit?
Terrorist maybe ?
What for?
wildrover 98 | 4,452
9 Sep 2010  #160
I have a feeling the uprated instruments in the Presidents Tu 154 were somewhat superior to what the ATC had available to them...

But as i say..the instruments were not looked at as the crew all stared through the fog trying to spot the runway...
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #161
smolensk-2010.pl/2010-05-10-long-hands-of-fsb.html
have a read of this, wildrover.

There was clearly some kind of distortion. Some speculate that electromagnetic pulses caused it. It's entirely possible given their position. I don't like wild conspiratorial conjecture but there was tampering with the bulbs, a point made by a Russian journalist and captured by a Belarussian. The guys at TAWS also found it a bit fishy. Russian ATC guidance was to kick in before that.

Also, sth interesting in Polish,
smolensk-2010.pl/2010-08-03-pozegnanie-z-koncepcja-zmylenia-pilotow-przez-%e2%80%9cjar%e2%80%9d.html

It refers to the 'jar' I was talking about and the distorting effect.
convex 20 | 3,978
9 Sep 2010  #162
This is idiotic. Bulbs didn't matter, at all, crashed well short. EMP wouldn't matter either, steam gauge altimeters aren't powered. Please stop posting BS.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #163
Convex, you have some pilot experience, right? Tell me honestly, hand on heart, do you really believe that the jary (canyons) had nothing to do with it? The Russian ATC must have known that the readings from the land were different from those to the canyons. The crew were under the impression that they were a certain altitude from the ground but they were actually a certain altitude from the canyons which were significantly lower.
convex 20 | 3,978
9 Sep 2010  #164
A little bit...The crew should have trusted their instruments and not descended. Easy as that. I wouldn't have, why did they? I'm not under pressure to land, nor do I feel the need to show off to anyone.

Social Darwinism 101, try not to fly into the ground.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #165
True! The "then we have a problem" is telling. It was said at a time when they could have pulled away. My personal stance is that if the canyon effect was abundantly clear then some smart cookie would have formulated a clear and plausible hypothesis based on the available transcripts and distortion calculations. Nobody has proferred such a report in any visible place. We have much to go on and people more versed in likelihoods of this nature than I haven't put together 'The Canyon Report', LOL.

In this way, I still side with the official version. There needs to be a full and open debate but won't be with PO at the helm.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
9 Sep 2010  #166
Lots of interesting theories there...but i have yet to see anything that convinces me that this was anything other than a tragic accident caused by a combination of errors..all of them Polish i am afraid...

Despite the fact i have a Russian girlfriend , i am more than ready to condem the Russians if i believe they they screwed up at Smolensk , or even worse assasinated the people on this aircraft...but i just ain,t seen anything to convince me it was anything other than a Polish screw up...

I had my own ideas about what caused this crash within a few hours of it happening , but i was ready to change my mind if any evidence emerged to point in a different direction , but nothing has changed my mind....yet...!

I am sure that the inquiry will reach the same conclusion , but sadly , the people who hate and distrust the Russians will simply say that they covered it all up very well

Remember , it was the Russians who tried a hostage rescue a few years back , and wound up killing most of the hostages , these are the people who were not able to poke some dissadent in the leg with a poisen umbrella and get away with it..but now we are supposed to believe they can assasinate the president and elite of a Nato country and leave no evidence whatsoever of the crime...nooo sorry i just can,t see it...
MediaWatch 10 | 945
9 Sep 2010  #167
Wildy,

Come on you're a little more Russian then just some guy having a Russian girlfriend. lol

Maybe that's why you don't want to see certain things.

You mean to tell me the fact the Russians have not given back the black boxes (just their transcript version of what was said) and that the Russian airtower personnel all of a sudden resigned never to be heard from again and that other pilots find inconsistencies with those Russian transcripts like the length of time, mysterious 16 seconds missing, etc doesn't at least make you think there is at least a CHANCE of something is fishy here?
wildrover 98 | 4,452
9 Sep 2010  #168
doesn't at least make you think there is at least a CHANCE of something is fishy here?

I really do not understand your obsession that i must be in some way Russian...! I was born in north Yorkshire to English parents , and served in the British military in a role that sure as hell would not be given to anyone connected with the Soviet union as it was at that time...

Do i think that there is a chance that something fishy is going on with this air crash...Yes of course there is a chance something is not as it seems , but i have not seen anything so far that makes me think this....

Historic distrust of the Russians is not evidence , nor is the many postings on various sites by raving lunatics....

If there is something dodgy going on then for sure there will be some evidence of that , but i suspect that the result of the inquirey will be that it was a tragic accident caused by several human errors...

PS... my girlfriend and i are currently struggling with a mass of documents to get permission to marry and live in Russia....something i would not be doing if i am an ex member of the KGB as you seem to suspect....
convex 20 | 3,978
9 Sep 2010  #169
You mean to tell me the fact the Russians have not given back the black boxes (just their transcript version of what was said) and that the Russian airtower personnel all of a sudden resigned never to be heard from again and that other pilots find inconsistencies with those Russian transcripts like the length of time, mysterious 16 seconds missing, etc doesn't at least make you think there is at least a CHANCE of something is fishy here?

Funny that the people in charge of the investigation on the Polish side aren't complaining...

Have a link regarding the controllers? Pavel Plusnin has disappeared?

Maybe you're just seeing what you want to see?
wildrover 98 | 4,452
9 Sep 2010  #170
Funny that the people in charge of the investigation on the Polish side aren't complaining...

Perhaps they are all secretly working for the FSB....???
convex 20 | 3,978
9 Sep 2010  #171
apparently...they're all in on it!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,625
9 Sep 2010  #172
You mean to tell me the fact the Russians have not given back the black boxes (just their transcript version of what was said) and that the Russian airtower personnel all of a sudden resigned never to be heard from again and that other pilots find inconsistencies with those Russian transcripts like the length of time, mysterious 16 seconds missing, etc doesn't at least make you think there is at least a CHANCE of something is fishy here?

As a true Polish patriot, I choose to believe that the Polish investigators will reveal the truth.

The fact that you choose to believe conspiracy theories above the work of Polish patriots - who have sworn to uncover the truth, whatever that truth may be - makes you nothing less than a traitor.

Tell you what MediaWatch - why does Poland need the black boxes? The investigators, to our knowledge, haven't asked for them back. The only people asking for them back aren't connected with the investigation - why is that?

Tell me honestly, hand on heart, do you really believe that the jary (canyons) had nothing to do with it? The Russian ATC must have known that the readings from the land were different from those to the canyons. The crew were under the impression that they were a certain altitude from the ground but they were actually a certain altitude from the canyons which were significantly lower.

We still don't know (the Polish investigators, nor MAK, have said anything) about what was actually installed at Smolensk-North. There's a good chance that they were using very, very rudimentary radar - which by the time they realised that the plane was below 100m, it was too late. From the time transcripts, it looks very much like they had a matter of seconds to get out of trouble - not enough for ATC to step in as well (as it wouldn't have been immediately obvious).

The canyons certainly had something to do with it - but it doesn't explain why they went below minimums for the TU-154M. If they had stuck to the rules, the plane wouldn't have crashed - rather simple, I'd say.

The thing that I keep saying - they flew the flight fine up until the last 15 seconds or so. Well, apart from attempting a landing after being told that Smolensk-North couldn't accept them.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #173
Delph, they should have been constantly monitoring. THEY saw the true position of the plane in relation to the ground, not the pilots who were gauging it from the canyons. In fog and in the absence of proper equipment, they had to be guided in. Also, please explain to me this shortcoming as military airports must be better equipped than civil airports like Okięcie. A simple radar reading was needed and for the Russian ATC to stay on the ball and alert.

I keep telling you, they didn't stick to the rules as they were being read incorrect info. A 50-metre difference between the canyon base they were going over and the ground level is material, wouldn't you say?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,625
9 Sep 2010  #174
THEY saw the true position of the plane in relation to the ground, not the pilots who were gauging it from the canyons.

We don't know this - because we don't know what equipment was installed at Smolensk-North. There are some educated guesses based on what's actually visible, but no-one has confirmed anything for certain.

Also - timewise - think of it like this. They were cleared to 100m, but in reality, were only cleared to 120m or so (due to the rules surrounding the operation of the Tupolev). The ATC guy doesn't know or care about the Tupolev rules - all he knows or cares about is that the plane shouldn't go below 100m without permission. So - the plane goes below 100m. By the time the radar updates, the plane will already be below 100m - and by the time the ATC guy realises what's going on, he issues the Horizon command - which is consistent with the plane already being too low to recover due to the well-documented inability of the Tupolev to pull up without losing height.

In fog and in the absence of proper equipment, they had to be guided in.

One thing to bear in mind is that they were guided to 100m and no more.

Also, please explain to me this shortcoming as military airports must be better equipped than civil airports like Okięcie. A simple radar reading was needed and for the Russian ATC to stay on the ball and alert.

Smolensk-North officially is/was all but decommissioned. It's highly unlikely (not least due to the lack of ground equipment) that there was much in the "tower" - why would the Russians bother to keep it equipped when it was decommissioned? Still - we have to wait to see what the Poles say about the equipment installed there.

I keep telling you, they didn't stick to the rules as they were being read incorrect info. A 50-metre difference between the canyon base they were going over and the ground level is material, wouldn't you say?

That's why they should have been using the barometric altimeter and not the radar altimeter. But either way - no matter what altimeter they were using, it still doesn't explain why they went below 100m. Even 100m above the canyon base would have been enough to survive - the real, crucial question is "why did the Captain appear not to react to hearing 90m called out?".
convex 20 | 3,978
9 Sep 2010  #175
What does any of that matter? If the transcripts are true, they descended through 100m without having the field in sight. Waited until 80m to even react. They killed themselves.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
9 Sep 2010  #176
the pilots who were gauging it from the canyons.

An altimeter does not measure the height above the ground...! It measures the height above sea level , so you can be flying at 500 feet , and crash into a hill that is 510 feet above sea level....

The pilots should have been well aware of what height the runway was at , and also of the heights of any hills or dips they were going to fly over...

The point is , that if they had stuck to the minimum safe height for these conditions there is no way they could have flown into the ground , but of course at this safe height they had no chance to see the runway and put the aircraft down on it...so they went way below this safe height , and while looking for the runway they took their eyes off the instruments , and managed to drop even lower , below the level of the runway in fact..disaster was unavoidable....

Its exactly this that was the main cause of the crash that killed the top military people in Poland , pilots allowing their aircraft to lose height while looking out of the window , and not at the instruments...
convex 20 | 3,978
9 Sep 2010  #177
An altimeter does not measure the height above the ground...! It measures the height above sea level , so you can be flying at 500 feet , and crash into a hill that is 510 feet above sea level....

Ruskies use QFE in terminal airspace. Should read 0 when on the runway.

On the other hand, it doesn't really matter, as per the transcripts, they ignored it anyway.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
9 Sep 2010  #178
How could they not know what equipment was installed? They must ensure the smooth functioning of available apparatus, especially given the VIP status of the guests. It's BASIC safety and you don't leave it to chance. They were checking the bulbs and a Belarussian caught this. Delph, basic radars are enough to guide them and you CAN'T tell me a military, yes, military airport wouldn't have the most fundamental of things. So they didn't have MLS, ILS or a radar? They had beacons stationed an irregular distance apart. The airport is 3000ft above the river level.

Delph, let me wipe out your theory in a oner. Even in extreme danger and with the TAWS system screaming at them to PULL UP, they declared 'odchodzimy'. As you know, they came into contact with a birch tree which was their downfall. Had they not, they were on their way to pulling up. Otherwise, they wouldn't have called it as a maneuver to perform. Update, Delph? Come on, this is a military radar. It doesn't need to update. My wife's dad could tell you how they work as he worked with them in the army. It doesn't suddenly switch off unless there is a technical blip. Even the Polish aviation prosecutors have made that point time and again.

Guided to 100 metres and no more? They were not guided to 100 metres above ground but 100 metres from their present position above the canyon, that's my point!

Wait and see, fair enough. However, isn't it strange how Tusk touched down 3 days before AND the journalists did on the same day? Fog I hear you say. Well, maximum precautions had to be put in place. Were they?

They would have known that, Delph. They are the elite pilots, not us. I disagree, it isn't enough to be 90m above the canyon given the huge dip. Look at the result, they were 15m BELOW the runway. When have you ever seen that in a plane that doesn't pull up well? He didn't react? Please show me the transcript of that segment. Thanks!!

Convex, I have two words for you. NOT SUICIDAL ;)

Wildrover, I have one word for you. TREES ;)
convex 20 | 3,978
9 Sep 2010  #179
Convex, I have two words for you. NOT SUICIDAL ;)

We can make it even easier, single word, NEGLIGENT

Guided to 100 metres and no more? They were not guided to 100 metres above ground but 100 metres from their present position above the canyon, that's my point!

Because 100m keeps them clear of obstacles in the area, 95m doesn't. 100m means 100m. They knowingly descended through 100m without sight of the ground.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,625
9 Sep 2010  #180
How could they not know what equipment was installed? They must ensure the smooth functioning of available apparatus, especially given the VIP status of the guests. It's BASIC safety and you don't leave it to chance.

It's not that the Russians, or Polish don't know - it's that the public doesn't know. But - as I said - the ground equipment suggests very, very basic equipment there - after all, it was public knowledge that the Russians all but stripped Smolensk-North bare at the end of 1999.

They were checking the bulbs and a Belarussian caught this.

This is literally a case of "some guy posted pictures online" without any proof that it was taken at Smolensk-North on that date. No-one else has came forward to say that they saw the act - so you have to take it with a large pinch of salt. I'm curious to see what the Polish report says about this, but it seems of dubious credibility.

Delph, basic radars are enough to guide them and you CAN'T tell me a military, yes, military airport wouldn't have the most fundamental of things. So they didn't have MLS, ILS or a radar?

Certainly no MLS, definitely no ILS and the radar, from what people have suggested, was of a very, very basic type that wouldn't update quickly enough for the controller to react.

Delph, let me wipe out your theory in a oner. Even in extreme danger and with the TAWS system screaming at them to PULL UP, they declared 'odchodzimy'. As you know, they came into contact with a birch tree which was their downfall. Had they not, they were on their way to pulling up. Otherwise, they wouldn't have called it as a maneuver to perform.

See below about why this failed -

It doesn't need to update.

As far as I understand radar - it isn't updated "instantly". What the controller sees isn't one smooth movement of the plane.

Guided to 100 metres and no more? They were not guided to 100 metres above ground but 100 metres from their present position above the canyon, that's my point!

They were given barometric altimeter settings, and in addition, were cleared to 100m on the barometric altimeter in accordance with Russian operations. But - either way - if they had stuck to the Tupolev minima, they would have been at least 120m above the canyon - which was more than survivable.

However, isn't it strange how Tusk touched down 3 days before AND the journalists did on the same day? Fog I hear you say. Well, maximum precautions had to be put in place. Were they?

Touching down in clear conditions would be a piece of cake for any experienced pilot. As for earlier in the day - we already know that the Yak pilots disobeyed the Russian ATC in order to land. But - the Yak is far more manoeuvrable!

They would have known that, Delph. They are the elite pilots, not us. I disagree, it isn't enough to be 90m above the canyon given the huge dip. Look at the result, they were 15m BELOW the runway. When have you ever seen that in a plane that doesn't pull up well? He didn't react? Please show me the transcript of that segment. Thanks!!

Look at the transcript when the autopilot was disengaged. Way, way too late. As for the plane? It's well documented in the TU-154M manuals that the plane will lose altitude before starting to climb. Nothing new there.


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