The ground visual navigation aids on 10 April were not effective. This was not the Luch-2MU system as the Russians stated.
The report from the inspection flight performed on 15 April stated that the approach lamps, depending on their location and on the altitude of an inbound aircraft, can be shaded by surrounding trees and shrubs when an aircraft is at a distance of , , and metres from Runway The lamps of the first group m had their light filters shattered and, of three bulbs installed, only one was serviceable.
At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated more than 5, hours in 4, cycles. The service life of the TuM is more than 25 years or 30, hours or 15, cycles whichever comes first.
All three Soloviev DKU engines were within the service limits of 24, hours or 11, cycles. The "" aircraft had undergone a major overhaul in December , 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.
The aircraft used the callsign PLF PLF  took off from Warsaw at 9: Protasiuk had landed at Smolensk three days earlier on 7 April in the same Tu, though he served as the first officer on that flight.
As the aircraft left Warsaw, weather conditions were rapidly deteriorating at Smolensk. A temperature inversion had developed, trapping moisture low in the atmosphere and causing a dense fog to develop.
Meanwhile, the situation in the cockpit was one of very high stress. The crew may have feared a negative reaction from their passengers should they have to divert to an alternative airfield.
The captain and first officer had been the first officer and navigator, respectively, on that flight. Lacking charts or a flight plan for the new destination, the captain of that flight had decided he could not bring the aircraft to the new destination safely.
Disobeying the President and a high-ranking Polish Air Force commander on board, the captain flew on to the originally planned destination.
Межгосударственный авиационный комитет, МАК] — a supervising body overseeing the use and management of civil aviation in the Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS] , he had not been assigned to fly the President since,  though Polish sources note he flew the President to New York in September , despite objections from the President.
Complicating the situation was the increased workload on the captain. Normally, one pilot flies the airplane while another crew member handles radio communications.
On PLF ,  the responsibility for communication usually rests with the navigator. At Smolensk however the situation was different.
Russian law requires international flights landing at military airports to have a Russian "Leaderman" navigator; Russian lidirovshik on board the flight, who is then responsible for all ATC communication, which is done in Russian.
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.
As a spokesperson for the Air Force Command said: 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.
Under these stresses, the crew continued their approach pattern and readied the aircraft for final descent. The crew used their second radio to contact the Yak which had landed earlier, inquiring as to the weather conditions.
This is not recommended for the Tu, as the autopilot cannot maintain vertical speed accurately enough for the approach phase of flight; manual flight mode is instead recommended.
Although the crew had not requested it, the radar controller began issuing reports to PLF concerning their distance from the runway and whether or not they were on the glidepath.
This is not standard practice for a non-precision approach, as the radar altimeter does not take into account the contour of the terrain around the airport.
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.
The terrain on approach to Smolensk airport is uneven and locally much lower than the runway level. Power settings for jet engines are expressed in instrument readings and flight data recorders as percentages labeled as "N1" and "N2".
N1 and N2 refer to the spools, or shafts, of a jet engine on which the compressor and turbine blades are mounted; jet engine power is measured as a percentage of maximum N1 or N2 rpm.
However, they did not go around, and continued the descent. The Final Report would later determine that a go-around was technically possible from as low as 40 m, but that m was the first of many times that the crew were required to go around, but did not.
The crew continued the descent. If this happens, the first officer is supposed to overrule the captain, take control of the airplane, and initiate a go-around.
Despite these calls, neither pilot initiated a go-around, and the descent continued. Therefore, when "PULL UP" sounds, the crew is supposed to begin an immediate, maximum performance emergency climb full power and angle of attack to the maximum permissible without stalling and continue climbing until the warning stops.
Prior to this moment, the radar controller had no reason to think that the landing attempt was not proceeding normally. The behavior of the controller was later the subject of some criticism by the Polish media.
The controller remained silent for about 12 seconds after the aircraft passed the m mark, and, even at that point, he did not order a go-around, but, rather issued an instruction to transit from a descent to a horizontal flight.
The decision to go around was apparently reached in the cabin of the aircraft within a few seconds of that instruction. None of this ever happened, with the aircraft continuing the descent through the m mark while the ground control remained silent.
It is unknown whether the crew really understood the ground control instruction literally, "landing additionally, , 3 m" , which was issued in Russian and used a relatively recent expression that was only codified in For the next several seconds, the crew continued to call out " meters" as read from the radar altimeter.
Simultaneously to this callout, the FDR recorded a brief pull on the control column, likely done by the first officer, as he instinctively started the go-around sequence of actions.
According to the investigation, this attempt at a go-around was completely overridden by the auto-pilot, which was still active, and, in any event, it was not completed protocol requires that the correct sequence of operations during a go-around attempt involves increasing thrust to takeoff mode and disengaging the autopilot, neither action was done at the time.
As the crew called out "50 meters", the controller instructed "level ", telling the aircraft to terminate descent. 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.
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.
The control column briefly moved to neutral at this point, then moved full aft and remained there for the duration of the flight. Two seconds before the "level" command, the aircraft commander made the decision to go around.
Soon after, the aircraft began hitting trees. The resulting asymmetrical lift caused an uncommanded roll to the left. Within 5 seconds, the aircraft was inverted, hitting the ground with the left wing, followed very shortly after by the nose.
The nose impact resulted in forces exceeding g , which killed everyone on board instantly. After the nose hit, the aircraft was violently torn apart by impact forces.
The largest pieces left were the wing roots the strongest part of an airplane , the wingtips and the tail section.
The tail section came to rest backwards, relative to the direction of flight. A small post-impact fire ensued, but was quickly brought under control by the emergency services and extinguished 18 minutes later.
The Governor of Smolensk Oblast , Sergey Antufyev , confirmed that there were no survivors of the crash. Pictures from the scene showed parts of the aircraft charred and strewn through a wooded area.
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.
Poland also set up its own committee to investigate the crash, and prosecutors in both countries began criminal investigations. Межгосударственный авиационный комитет MAK oversees the use and management of civil aviation.
The committee is headquartered in Moscow , Russia. Within hours of the crash, the President of Russia , Dmitry Medvedev , announced the establishment of a special commission for the investigation of the accident.
The commission was to be supervised by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Since the FMS units are linked together, being able to read the memory of one meant the investigation was able to determine the actions performed by both units.
On the day after the crash, investigators said they had reviewed the flight recorders, and confirmed that there were no technical problems with the Soviet-built aeroplane, ruling out initial theories that the year-old aircraft was at fault.
Ewa Kopacz , former Polish Minister of Health, claimed before the Sejm that after the crash, ground was dug to a depth of one meter, and even if a tiny piece of human flesh was found, it was genetically tested.
However, in the transcript released online by the Sejm, the meaning of her speech was changed: Moreover, in September , one of the Polish pilgrims to Smolensk found a jaw with teeth and two other bones.
Russia offered full cooperation to Polish prosecutors during the investigation. However, Edmund Klich, the head of the Polish investigative commission, said that "Poland does not have a lot of things that we would like to have" and as an example gives lack of documentation of Smolensk airport and regulations about Air Control.
Polish officials were to secure all Polish state documents found in the wreckage, as well as electronic devices portable computers and mobile telephones belonging to government officials and military officers.
In turn Russian investigators received from Poland materials secured after the crash, including those about the technical state of the aircraft and fitness of the pilot.
The Polish investigation results were to be based in part on Russian findings, but they are not bound by the results of the Russian investigation.
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,   then postponed indefinitely until the full analysis was completed.
Previous flights to Smolensk had been accompanied by a Russian navigator, but none was provided for the April flights, with differing reasons for this given by Polish and Russian sides.
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.
According to Plusnin, the pilot said, that he would attempt one approach, and if landing was not possible, he would then divert to another airfield.
There was some concern in the press as to whether or not Russian military ATC had the authority to issue military orders to PLF ,  as the aircraft was a military flight.
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.
Межгосударственный авиационный комитет MAK revealed that all three engines were operating normally, and that there was no fire or explosion before the aircraft crashed.
All systems of Tu stopped working at 8: The discrepancy among the time of the crash registered by MARS flight recorders On 19 May , the preliminary report of the investigation into the crash was published.
The investigation ruled out a terrorist attack, explosion or fire on board the aircraft as the cause of the crash.
It was also reported that the voices of two non-crew members were heard in the cockpit during the period leading up to the crash.
It was first sounded 18 seconds before hitting the tree and the crew attempted to abort landing 13 seconds later. On 26 May , it was reported  that pilot error had been identified as the reason for the crash.
Edmund Klich, the head of the Polish investigative commission, stated in an interview "Pretty much everything is clear right now and nearly all evidence has been gathered".
The aircraft attempted to pull up after hitting a five metre tall birch tree, but part of the left wing had been sheared off in the impact.
The aircraft then went into a roll before landing on its back and disintegrating five seconds later. 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.
At the moment, under these conditions that we have now, we will not manage to land" to which Kazana replies "Well, then we have a problem. Expert commentators have noted that the flight navigator, who was listing the altitude readings on the transcript, was referring to the radar altimeter which gives height above ground rather than the pressure altimeter which would provide the height relative to the level of the runway.
The Final Report confirms this is exactly what happened. The Russian report was published on 12 January , and the Polish report was published on 29 July Both reports placed the majority of the blame for the accident on the pilots for descending too low without being able to see the ground.
In Polish discourse, there remained wider questions and unease about the potential causes of the crash. The MAK completed their investigation on 20 October 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 This change was made after the aircraft began its final approach and soon after the first TAWS warning sounded.
All other altimeters on board were set correctly. As part of their investigation, MAK conducted an experiment in a TuM simulator to determine how late the crew could have gone around.
On the same day that the final report was published by MAK, Poland published its comments on the draft of the final report  sent to MAK before.
Poland stated that their comments were not taken into consideration. MAK did not include them in the report, but published this document on its website among other appendixes.
The main points of Polish comments are: At an 18 January press conference, the Polish investigation made public the information contained in ATC recordings, and their analysis of such.
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!
The MAK report found the "immediate cause" of the accident was the failure of the crew to make a timely decision to proceed to an alternate airport despite being warned multiple times of the poor weather conditions at Smolensk.
A "contributing factor" to the accident was a long discussion with the Protocol director and the crew of the Yak regarding the actual weather and the impossibility of landing at Smolensk in such weather conditions.
Other "contributing factors" were a lack of compliance with standard operating procedures, a lack of crew resource management, and a significant gap in bad weather flights by the PIC he had not flown in weather conditions similar to Smolensk that day in four months.
A "systemic cause" of the accident were "significant shortcomings in the organization of flight operations, flight crew preparation and arrangement of the VIP flight in the special air regiment.
Chief among these differences was a conclusion that the pilots were not placed under pressure forcing them to land at Smolensk, and furthermore the crew did not want to land and after reaching m altitude measured by radio altimeter and had decided to go around using the autopilot.
The Polish report also found three deficiencies regarding the Smolensk airport which contributed to the crash.
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.
The second deficiency was with the approach lighting system, which was charted incorrectly and not well maintained. Many bulbs were burned out, several others were missing their lenses, and others were obscured by shrubbery.
Its task was to publish and explain all the technical evidence used in the official report. Those circumstances led to an impact on a terrain obstacle resulting in separation of a part of the left wing with aileron and consequently to the loss of aircraft control and eventual ground impact" .
Circumstances contributing to the accident: Despite the deaths of the president and numerous officials, the crash was not expected to impair the functions of the Polish government , since no cabinet ministers were aboard the plane.
The Polish Armed Forces were dealt a severe blow, however, since all of their senior commanding officers were killed; their duties were automatically taken over by respective deputy commanders, following standard contingency plans for such a situation.
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.
Eugene Poteat , has written that political violence should not be ruled out under the circumstances of the aircraft crash.
On 17 April, one week after the crash, a memorial service, including a two-minute silence, was held to honour the victims of the crash.
The couple were buried in a crypt below Wawel Cathedral , a place traditionally reserved for people considered to be heroes of Polish history.
Since no candidate obtained an absolute majority, a run-off was held on 4 July , between the two highest-polling candidates: 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.
Most Polish officials were instructed to fly on regular civilian flights. The remaining aircraft from the regiment, including the surviving Tu, were sold.
In Poland, the public reacted with shock and grief to the disaster. Almost immediately after the news broke, tens of thousands of Poles assembled at the Presidential Palace to lay tributes, including flowers, wreaths, and candles.
A week of national mourning was declared in Poland. The establishing of the cross provoked controversy in Poland , mainly related to questions concerning the separation of church and state.
Polish Catholics wanted the cross to permanently remain in front of the palace, while others, including Komorowski, wanted it moved to St.
After a summer of protests over the cross, it was transferred to the church on 16 September. Sirens sounded and bells tolled around the country.
It sends shivers down my spine. First the flower of the Second Polish Republic is murdered in the forests around Smolensk, now the elite of the Third Polish Republic die in this tragic aircraft crash when approaching Smolensk North Airport.
Chairman of the State Duma Boris Gryzlov has expressed condolences. Russians and foreigners laid flowers and candles at the Polish embassy in Moscow ,   and at the Polish consulates-general in Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad.
Tusk knelt and briefly hid his face in his hands, then stood up as Putin patted him on the shoulder. The two hugged, then gave a joint press conference on the investigation into the crash.
Polish commentators noted this was a human gesture, and a display of emotion that Poles had longed to see from their eastern neighbours.
Later Putin said in a Polish television interview: We mourn with you". The Russian response has been noted favourably by Poles, with talk of a thawing in the relationship between Russia and Poland.
Naturally it will have a positive impact on the relationship between our countries. The files were declassified in the early s, but before their publication they were only available to specialized researchers.
The strongest admission was yet to come. According to the letter, "rapprochement with the current Russian authorities is more important for the Polish government than determining the truth about the plane crash.
At least 96 countries, 13 international organizations and several other entities expressed their reaction on behalf of the incident. An official mourning was proclaimed in 18 countries other than Poland.
Condolence books were opened in many public locations such as the Polish centre in Hammersmith , where Prince Charles signed their condolence book.
Twenty-three countries observed a varying number of days of official mourning; Brazil: NATO was reportedly concerned over the possible compromise of many of its secret codes and communications procedures to the Russian government.
Many of the Polish government and military officials on the aircraft apparently carried secret NATO communication key codes and devices which were recovered by the Russians after the crash.
Later in November, Macierewicz called for the United States to lead an independent international commission on the accident.
Some US Republican congressmen supported this idea but the U. Every year since October , an independent financed by its participants Smolensk Conference   was organised in Warsaw and was attended by scientists and researchers from Polish and foreign universities to provide a forum intended to introduce and discuss independent studies related to the catastrophe.
The Advisory Committee included academics. On 30 October , 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.
In it was announced that the British Ministry of Defence was engaged by the Polish Government to examine the wreckage of the aircraft for traces of explosives.
In November , the government shut down the faktysmolensk. No reason was given for the website closure. In February , Macierewicz announced the official reopening of the investigation, declaring that the previous inquiries were "riddled with mistakes" and reaffirming his belief that the aircraft disintegrated mid-air immediately before impacting the ground.
As part of the renewed investigation, the remains of the deceased Polish president were exhumed on November 14, In January , the Polish government subcommittee re-investigating the accident claimed that a number of explosions had occurred aboard the airliner.
In February , the commission presented their preliminary findings, repeating the earlier claims. Indien de gewenste Kristall Smolensk-winkel niet in een van de winkelcentra of warenhuizen gevestigd is, probeer dan het op te zoeken door de merknaam en het winkeladres in te voeren.
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