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Russian air traffic controllers ignored communication protocol of Polish pilots?


Evalina 1 | 5
11 Apr 2010 #1
I just learned that Polish pilots flying our president had trouble with understanding air traffic controllers who ignored international protocol and instead of English used Russian.

Here is the full story:

tvp.info/informacje/swiat/rozmawiali-z-wieza-po-rosyjsku-mieli-problemy/1645736

Evalina w Kanadzie
convex 20 | 3,978
11 Apr 2010 #2
You forgot to mention that doesn't pertain to military controllers.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
11 Apr 2010 #3
And the point is? They were told to fly to Minsk long before. The pilot may have understood Russian just as well as English. Also, Evalina? You'd likely write Ewelina or Evelina.

That's all it is, a story.
love_sunil80 14 | 127
11 Apr 2010 #4
Russian shouldnt have been used when it is not an international language.
OP Evalina 1 | 5
11 Apr 2010 #5
I know how to spell my name.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
11 Apr 2010 #6
You forgot to mention that doesn't pertain to military controllers.

And here begins the blame towards Russia and the spread of misinformation.

If indeed, the crash was caused by an inability of Poles to understand Russian - then it's almost certainly going to cause resentment towards Russia, even where it's not their fault in the slightest.

A flight operated by the Polish Air Force, talking to Russian military air controllers are hardly going to be bound by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, are they?

Russian shouldnt have been used when it is not an international language.

It has nothing to do with it. It is Poland's obligation to ensure that their pilots understand the language used by the Russian military - not Russia's obligation to speak a language that Polish pilots understand.

It's worth noting that ICAO appear to have only mandated the use of English on international routes.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
11 Apr 2010 #7
Exactly, delph. The danger should have been known to the Polish pilot long before. We know about Aberdeen airport not doing certain flights because the runway isn't right. Here, the combination of an old plane, dodgy runway, fog and obstinance showed clearly the outcome.

However, I hope there is clarification of this as air control goes conveniently wrong at the worst times. NORAD, for example, what a mess that was! The fact that a Russian plane was diverted suggests that more effort should have been made to get the Polish plane to Moscow. 4 times pirouetting? That's bizarre!
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
11 Apr 2010 #8
4 times pirouetting? That's bizarre!

Speculation is that this is a dodgy translation from Russian - something to do with "final turn" meaning "fourth turn" in Russian. I don't quite get it, but it would seem that there definitely wasn't four attempts at landing, but possibly the aircraft circled the airport three times.

The fact that a Russian plane was diverted suggests that more effort should have been made to get the Polish plane to Moscow.

One item of speculation is that while the pilot could tell Kaczynski (or his aides) to get lost, it's a whole different matter if the head of the Air Force tells you to do so.
convex 20 | 3,978
11 Apr 2010 #9
Not really, it's his life. The captain of the plane has full legal authority, the ramifications of such a decision on the other hand... It'll be interesting to see what comes out of the investigation.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
11 Apr 2010 #10
To be the pilot of the President's plane is a job not given to just any old pilot. I got a character reference for him as my wife has a contact that knew him. He was the kind to follow procedure which means that he wouldn't've tried to pull off such a strange landing.

Well, the pilot who took Kaczyński to Tbilisi told him to get lost and follow his expertise. He must use his better judgement and there were those on that plane that also had flying experience who could have averted the disaster. It's fishy alright!
OP Evalina 1 | 5
11 Apr 2010 #11
I think you are wrong...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_traffic_controller
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
11 Apr 2010 #12
Not really, it's his life. The captain of the plane has full legal authority, the ramifications of such a decision on the other hand... It'll be interesting to see what comes out of the investigation.

The fact that the Russians came very quickly out to declare there to be no technical reason for the crash is very telling, I think.
peterweg 37 | 2,319
11 Apr 2010 #13
Russian shouldnt have been used when it is not an international language.

Standard to use when flying into a military airport.

Of more relevance is the shocking lack of flight hours of the Polish Pilot - less than 2000 hours. Most civilian pilots need 15000 plus hours before being considered for a captains job.

35000 to 45000 hours is common for commercial airline pilots and they don't fly into very difficult airports like Smolensk.

One item of speculation is that while the pilot could tell Kaczynski (or his aides) to get lost, it's a whole different matter if the head of the Air Force tells you to do so

No, after the Georgian incident it was made clear that the pilots was ALWAYS in command of the aircraft

The fact that the Russians came very quickly out to declare there to be no technical reason for the crash is very telling, I think.

Yes, there was no technical reason for the crash
Seanus 15 | 19,706
11 Apr 2010 #14
Look, air traffic control warned them many times to not land. They were told to stay up or go to another airport. Can you prove Russian negligence here or are you just stirring?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
11 Apr 2010 #15
I think you are wrong...

Using Wikipedia to prove a point proves nothing at all - you clearly don't understand the basic principle that military operations aren't bound by an organisation which sets rules for civilian flights.

Controllers who do not speak this as a first language are generally expected to show a certain minimum level of competency with the language.

Note : generally expected. I'd expect to have to use Russian when communicating with military controllers in Russia!

Of more relevance is the shocking lack of flight hours of the Polish Pilot - less than 2000 hours. Most civilian pilots need 15000 plus hours before being considered for a captains job.

Is this not more a consequence of being a pilot for a plane which doesn't see much use? There's only one other TU-154 in the possession of the Polish Air Force.

No, after the Georgian incident it was made clear that the pilots was ALWAYS in command of the aircraft

Perhaps so, but at the same time, it's not unbelievable to suggest that Kaczynski ensured that only men get to fly the plane who follow orders unconditionally. Of course, it may simply have been arrogance on the part of the pilots to begin with. Or simply the realisation that missing a ceremony at Katyn would effectively mean your career would be over, especially as Russia was watching.
plk123 8 | 4,149
11 Apr 2010 #16
i'm sure the polish pilot understood russian.
convex 20 | 3,978
12 Apr 2010 #17
Although local languages are sometimes used in ATC communications, the default language of aviation worldwide is English. Controllers who do not speak this as a first language are generally expected to show a certain minimum level of competency with the language.

For civilian ATC, everyone must be proficient in English. Military ATC has no such requirement (for obvious reasons). Prior to the flight, confirmation was given that the air crew could speak Russian (from the TVN interview).

To be the pilot of the President's plane is a job not given to just any old pilot. I got a character reference for him as my wife has a contact that knew him. He was the kind to follow procedure which means that he wouldn't've tried to pull off such a strange landing.

Depends on the pressure to perform. Again, there was no back up plan. Both pilots were 36, and like you mentioned, not long term veterans of the 36 SPLT. The engineer was 21.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Apr 2010 #18
He was highly experienced and you had ample flying experience, convex.

He was told the whole time to not fly there. I sincerely hope that the intransigence of Kaczyński didn't cause this but precedent is against him. Why didn't they leave Warsaw earlier? This is what baffles me! Without a satisfactory answer to this very question, the fingers of blame should not be pointed at the Belarussians or Russians.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
12 Apr 2010 #19
What baffles me is why they all flew in the same plane?
ekidan
12 Apr 2010 #20
Typical anti-Russian bias.

The Aircraft Commander has primary responsibility for ensuring the safety of the aircraft and ATC is a purely advisory service.

This accident looks like what you'd expect from using inexperienced crew, old aircraft and polish mentality. That is, an ill-advised NPA, straying below minima, failure to arrest the sink rate, resulting in CFIT.

I'm afraid the Russians only tried to help by strongly advising the crew to divert... but did the Polish listen.... nyet!

Signed
A B737-300 Pilot
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Apr 2010 #21
I can't believe nobody is asking the question of the departure from Warsaw. Fine, some individuals can be late for an international business meeting when flying from afar but a high-level delegation flying from Warsaw to Smolensk? Sth is horribly wrong with that!! You don't rush such a thing of that magnitude, you give yourself plenty of time to get there. It's not like they couldn't afford a hotel the night before. How did Tusk get there btw? What was his journey path?
convex 20 | 3,978
12 Apr 2010 #22
He was highly experienced and you had ample flying experience, convex.

Actually, I stand corrected. Maj Grzywna had 3500 hours and was with the 36th for 13 years. The engineer (Zietek) had 9 years with the regiment. The captain for that flight (Protasiuk) had 1400 hours (on the 154 and the Yak-40, not TT) and was them for 13 years as well.

Apparently the 36th has been losing pilots to the private sector and are down to a skeleton crew.

This accident looks like what you'd expect from using inexperienced crew, old aircraft and polish mentality. That is, an ill-advised NPA, straying below minima, failure to arrest the sink rate, resulting in CFIT.

Your first line is BS, the second is spot on.

I'm afraid the Russians only tried to help by strongly advising the crew to divert... but did the Polish listen.... nyet!

True, get-there-itis. The flight was doomed from the start. Diverting to alternates would have meant that the delegation would have missed the ceremony.

What was his journey path?

Warsaw to Smolensk in a Yak.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Apr 2010 #23
Aha, so Tusk flew to Smolensk twice?
convex 20 | 3,978
12 Apr 2010 #24
From what I understand, he returned to Warsaw on the 7th.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Apr 2010 #25
This seems like a very loaded source, npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125675821

I still don't get the hurried nature of the flight to Smolensk.
convex 20 | 3,978
12 Apr 2010 #26
Me either, especially on a weekend. Like I said, **** poor planning, not the first time..
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Apr 2010 #27
freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2490683/posts, this, though a little amateurish, puts forward some logic and sound points.
convex 20 | 3,978
12 Apr 2010 #28
Even better points by mostly non-crazies.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Apr 2010 #29
Hmm...what of interest did you pick out from those comments?
convex 20 | 3,978
12 Apr 2010 #30
Information on the air crew, past events, the operational history of the 36th, comments from a previous member of the 36th now flying for Wizzair, information on the airfield, the approach, and Russian ATC structure.

Good stuff.


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