Crash of the Polish Air Force One, 2014 Status Report By Maria Szonert Binienda, J.D.
II. Air Navigation
B. Radar Video Recording
According to the Russian Report, the radar video recording related to the landing of the Polish Air Force One on April 10, 2010 was missing. “During the pre-flight preparation on that day only the operability of the recorder was checked with no assessment of the record quality. The analysis revealed that the record was not made due to twisting (bridging) of wires between the video camera and the video recorder. After the wires were insulated the video recording was resumed.”23
Nevertheless, the Russian Report does include the location of the blips of the aircraft on the glide path. Such information could have come only from the reading of radar video- recording. Thus, the Polish side asked: “In light of the information about the missing video- recording of the process of approach to landing on the PRL indicator, the quotation of data related to the location of the blips of the aircraft on the glide path on the PRL indicator raises serious doubts.”24 Accordingly, the Polish side requested explanation as to why a number of statements were included in the Russian Report that must have come from the reading of the radar video-recording if, allegedly, such recording was not made due to a malfunction. Similar issues arise in the Russian Report with respect to the reading of flight data recorders.25
The following statements in the Russian Report refer to the data obtained from the radar video recording that allegedly was not made: “At 6 km the aircraft was actually higher than the glide path (considering the indication inaccuracy the aircraft blip was on the top boundary of the glide path tolerance area for glide path angle of ~3°10”).”26 Another statement also refers to the reading from the radar video recording: “At 10:40:39 the landing zone controller informed the crew: '2, on course, on glide path'. At that time the aircraft was at a height of about 115 m with reference to RWY 26 threshold, which was almost corresponding to the missed approach height. Considering the indication inaccuracies the aircraft blip on the radar was almost at the lowest boundary of the glide path tolerance area.”
The last sentence from the quote above is questionable in several important respects. First, it refers to the aircraft blip from the radar tape that allegedly does not exist. Second, the conclusion that the blip was “almost at the lowest boundary of the glide path tolerance” is grossly inaccurate, considering that the margin of error in this instance is in the range of 600 percent because the tolerance level27 at the distance of 2000 meters is 7 meters while the variance in this case is 42 meters below the gliding path, which amounts to 600% error.28 Therefore, the Russian conclusion that the aircraft blip on the radar was “almost at the lowest boundary of the glide path tolerance area” is grossly unreasonable and wrong given a situation where the margin of error is 600%. Similar misleading statements are made with respect to the entire description of the gliding path.29
On January 16, 2012, one year after the Russian Report was released, the Polish Prosecutor General announced that a possibility exists that the Polish side could receive audio and video recording from the operations of the Air Traffic Control on April 10, 2010, during landing of the Polish Air Force One.30
23 Russian Report in English, p. 73.
24 Polish Response in English, pp. 57-60.
25 According to FSM data, the last value of magnetic heading was 267.1 degrees. The fact that this is the last available data point is confirmed by the comment in the Russian Report about the impossibility of computing the velocity of wind beyond this point. But the last point is about 215 degrees. What is then the source of data as to the aircraft’s magnetic heading after point of 267.1, considering that both FMS and FDR receive their inputs from the same sensors?
26 Russian Report in English, p. 58. Similar statements which refer to detailed information about the location of an aircraft on the radar screen were made on pages 57-60 of the report.
27 The tolerance levels of the Russian Federation as provided by the Federal Aviation Provisions regarding State Aviation Flights (“FAPPPGosA”) are presented in the Polish Response, p. 108.
28 According to K. Matyszczak, at the glide path angle of 2°40’ error is 600%. If the Russians insist on using the glide path angle of 3°10’ in this scenario the margin of error would amount to 1,000%. (2000 distance +-6 m tolerance level, 60 m below the glide path: 60/6x100).
29 Russian Report in English, pp. 153, 154, 162,163,164.
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