Translate

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Polish Plane's Flight Path


click on the images


These pictures come from a Russian professional pilot's website, (provided from a commenter whose wife speaks Polish), and answer some questions about the crash while leaving others unanswered. The trees in the plane's flight path leave a pathway of lopped off branches, the one below showing that the plane had banked to almost 90 degrees to the ground trying to avoid impact.

From the flight path picture above, the green line shows the correct approach to Smolensk airport. For some reason the plane descended on a steeper line and headed into a depression. The pilot realised his error and tried to regain altitude, but before he could do so, he began to hit a series of trees, which were in his way as he climbed up and out of the depression.

The plane was clearly not shot down. And the pilot and passengers clearly endured a white-knuckle ride lasting several seconds, before meeting their deaths.

But why did the pilot descend at a steeper angle than he should have done, and get into the depression in the first place?

Once he was fighting to clear trees it appears he lost part of his port-side wing, which fatally compromised the flight.

Did Air Traffic Control advise him of his incorrect descent, or did they give him the course he took, wrongly stating his position?



He must have been confused as to his exact position for some reason. Without clear visibility, and without electronic landing facilities at Smolensk, he depended completely on Air Traffic Control to tell him his position and give him his angle of descent.

What went wrong? That question has still not been answered.

UPDATE ON INVESTIGATION -

Smolensk crash voice recorder damaged
Tue Apr 20 2010 11:42:32 GMT+0800 (Taipei Standard Time) · by theanchoragedailyruse · 22 replies · 511+ views
The Voice of Russia ^ | Apr 19, 2010 | none
The Tupolev-154 jet that crashed near Smolensk on April 10th suffered significant damage and deciphering information in it poses considerable difficulty.

The two flight data recorders are well preserved and have been fully examined – the Russian-made one, by a lab in Moscow, and the Polish-made one, by its makers in Poland. The work on the voice box is to continue in Moscow in cooperation with Polish engineers. On the coming Tuesday, the Polish side of the crash probe will unveil its findings at a Warsaw news conference.


So we will hear a detailed professional Polish report next Tuesday. The plane had escaped the depression and was climbing free, when it suddenly fell to earth. Damage from the trees probably had made the plane unairworthy.

Key questions would be -

'Did air traffic control wrongly identify the plane's position to the plane?'

If the plane's voice recorder is damaged, what do the tapes from Smolensk air traffic control reveal about the conversations with the flight?

What course and speeds did the air traffic controllers give to the plane before it crashed?

Had part of the port-side wing fallen away after impacting a larger tree, making the plane unairworthy, causing it to fall from the sky at a speed which explains the violent nature of the impact with the ground?


In the graphic of the plane's last moments, the broken wing appears to have changed sides, from port to starboard. From the crash site pictures, it would be possible that the plane was upside down when it crashed.

4 comments:

man with a Polish wife said...

Tapestry

Fantastic analysis - I don't know how you do so much so quickly. Congratulations.

Just stumbled across this fascinating thread on the professional pilots rumour network:

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/411701-polish-government-tu154m-crash.html

I found it via the volcano no fly saga - an ever bigger thread - on the same website.

tapestry said...

good site. thanks. I read the thread, especially the later stages.

Without the information as to what the Russian ATC was saying, you cannot know who or what caused the crash.

That plus the contents of the black box is not being revealed. Why? Revealing that would stop all the speculation.

For this all to be kept secret without public outrage from the Polish government would suggest collusion between Tusk the Polish PM and Putin.

Frank said...

Perhaps the pilot was relying on the Radio Altimeter instead of the Pressure Altimeter for determining the height of the airplane. Since there was a valley, the Radio Altimeter told him he had plenty of height. He would not have been so low had he relied on the Pressure Altimeter instead. But, my guess is that during landing, most pilots tend to rely on Radio Altimeter.

tapestry said...

I would be happy to believe any version for which evidence was provided. The tapes from the cockpit and from ATC have not been released. Why?

Presumably the discussion between the pilot and ATC would cover height, course and time of descent, as per usual. ATC gives the course to be taken by air traffic. They are in control around airports.

Why did the Russians say the Polish pilot did not speak Russian? He spoke it fluently and was a regular caller at Smolensk.

Why did the Russians blame the Polish President. Again no evidence provided.