Crash of the Polish Air Force One, 2014 Status Report By Maria Szonert Binienda, J.D.
VI. Russian Conclusions Proven Wrong
B. Immediate Cause of the Crash Groundless
According to the Russian Report, the immediate causes of the accident were: 1) the failure of the crew to take a timely decision to proceed to an alternate airdrome; 2) descent without visual contact with ground references to an altitude much lower than minimum descent altitude for go around (100 m) in order to establish visual flight; 3) no reaction to the numerous TAWS warnings, which led to: 4) controlled flight into terrain, aircraft destruction and death of the crew and passengers, 5) the presence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Air Forces in the cockpit until the collision; 6) psychological pressure on the pilot-in- command to continue descent in the conditions of unjustified risk with a dominating aim of landing at any means.80 As demonstrated below, each of the above claims has been proven wrong.
Alternate Airdrome, Role of Col. Krasnokutski
The transcript from the flight control tower demonstrates that CATC made several attempts to direct the Polish Air Force One to an alternate airdrome but was overruled by Colonel Krasnokutski. The transcript provides the evidence that Colonel Krasnokutski, an unauthorized person at the flight control tower, order CATC to bring the Polish Air Force One to the minimum descent altitude. According to the transcript, one hour before the crash81 Colonel Krasnokutski stated:
"Smolensk is covered. There was no fog in the forecast. There was visibility 10 km. We gave all the permissions. And suddenly, out of nowhere, such things are happening. A trial approach he will make without discussion! To his minimum."
Twenty minutes before the crash, CATC Plusnin, after making numerous phone calls to send the Polish Air Force One to an alternate airdrome, summed up his efforts as follows:
"Well, everybody tries to duck out! That is how I understand it."
Fifteen minutes before the crash (8:26am) Krasnokutski says to Plusnin:
"Paul, you will clear to 100 meters. 100 meters and no discussion!"
Col. Krasnokutski, who was an unauthorized person at the flight control tower, exerted pressure on CATC Plusnin to clear the Polish Air Force One to a minimum descent altitude of 100 meters. A Polish inquiry as to the role of Col. Krasnokutski remains unanswered.
Descent to an altitude lower than minimum to establish visual flight
According to all readings of the cockpit voice recorder,82 the PIC gave a clear command to "go around" at the minimum descent altitude of 100 meters, and the Co-Pilot repeated this command. The CVR transcript reads as follows:
This transcript rebuts the allegation that PIC descended to an altitude lower than minimum in order to establish visual flight. The reading of CVR does not reveal any intent of the PIC to establish visual flight below the minimum descent altitude.
Lack of Reaction to TAWS warnings.
The first TAWS warning sounded at 8:40:42,4 am, that is less than one second after Landing Zone Controller proclaimed "two, on course, on glide path," and two seconds before the Second Pilot read "one hundred meters." Thus, TAWS warning went off at the time when the PIC made a decision to go around. However, after giving a command to "go around" the airplane began an accelerated descent. Thus, PIC's attention was on preventing the uncontrolled descent. Besides, PIC could justifiably disregard the TAWS signal as an erroneous warning since the Severny Airport in Smolensk was not in the TAWS database. Thus, erroneous warnings could have been expected.
Controlled flight into terrain led to the destruction;
There is no evidence whatsoever of an intentional action on the part of the pilots to establish a visual flight below the minimum descent altitude. To the contrary, the decision to "go around" was made properly and was confirmed by the second pilot. Furthermore, as presented below, CVR reading also provides clear evidence of PIC's state of mind preceding the crash that contradicts any intent on his part to establish a visual flight below the minimum descent altitude that could lead to a controlled flight into terrain. All the above circumstances as well as the unusually big destruction of the airplane and abnormal extent of casualties preclude any "controlled flight into terrain" scenario.
Presence of Commander‐in‐Chief of Polish Air Force in the cockpit;
On January 16, 2012, the Polish Prosecutor General announced that the forensic experts from the Jan Sehn Institute of Forensic Research in Kraków conclusively determined that a voice on the CVR determined by Russians to be that of General Andrzej Blasik, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Air Force, was in fact that of co-pilot Major Robert Grzywna. The voice of General Blasik was not identified on the CVR at all.83 Shortly thereafter, the Polish Prosecutor General also disclosed that the body of General Blasik was found in the so-called Sector 1 together with 12 other bodies. Neither the bodies of the pilots nor the wreckage of the cockpit were found in this sector.84 Accordingly, the key Russian arguments for the presence of General Blasik in the cockpit at the time of the crash to prove the hypothesis of pressuring the pilots “to land at any means” are false.
Left:  Gen. A. Blasik Commander-in-Chief Polish Air Force
At the press conference announcing results of the Russian investigation, IAC Chairperson Anodina publicly discredited Polish General Andrzej Blasik by accusing him not only of being in the cockpit at the time of the crash but also of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. By doing so, she dishonored the memory of one of the best generals of the Polish Armed Forces in front of the entire world. On March 20, 2014, the Polish Main Military Prosecution Office released a statement that according to the expert opinion of the Sehn Institute of Forensic Analysis of February 14, 2014, Commander-in-Chief-of the Polish Air Force General Andrzej Błasik, the entire crew of the Polish Air Force One, and all officers of the Government Protection Bureau were completely sober at the time of the crash.85 On March 28, 2014, a resolution was submitted to the Speaker of the House in the Polish Parliament to honor by Parliamentary Resolution late Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Air Force General Blasik, whose memory was brutally and unjustly dishonored in front of the entire world.86
On April 2, 2014, Bogdan Klich who served as Polish Minister of Defense at the time of the Smolensk Crash stated that the Russian Report was of purely political nature. According to Minister Klich, the purpose of the Russian Report was to humiliate Poland by presenting the top Polish General as a drunkard.87 An advisor to Chairperson Anodina for political marketing named Igor Mintusow admitted in 2013 that some room for interpretation existed in the investigation into the Smolensk Crash and that flexibility was exploited to the advantage of Russia.88
Psychological pressure on the PIC’s decision to continue descent
In light of the above evidence, there is no reason to conclude that General Blasik was present in the cockpit at the time of the crash. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any conversation or exchange between the pilots and General Blasik during the flight. Hence, there is no evidence that General Blasik exerted any psychological pressure on the pilots to "land at any means." The only conversation between PIC and a passenger regarding landing took place at 15 minutes before the crash with Director of Protocol ("DoP"). The exchange was as follows:
Mr. Director, fog came out at this moment... In these conditions that we have right now we will not be able to land.
We’ll try to make an approach, we’ll make one approach, but most likely nothing will come out of it.
So, please start thinking about a decision what we will do.
We don’t have much fuel to hang around.
So, we have a problem.
We can hang around for half hour, then go to the alternate (airport).
Where is it?
Minsk or Vitebsk.
This exchange contradicts allegations that PIC's dominating aim was to "landing at any means" and refutes any allegations and charges of psychological pressure exerted on the PIC by his superiors. This type of conversation frequently takes place during VIP flights. Every such flight has a certain sense of urgency to complete the mission. The exchange between PIC and Director of Protocol demonstrates no pressure on the pilot other than that which is usually expected in normal circumstances for the VIP flight. In fact, this exchange serves as a proof of PIC's professional conduct.
Monitoring the Altitude
Allegations are made that the pilot failed to monitor altitude by means of a pressure altimeter during a non-precision approach. This conclusion was based on the assumption that General Blasik, who was believed to be present in the cockpit in the last phase of the flight, was the one who read altitude from the pressure altimeter. Thus, the pilots wearing the headphones did not hear his reading but instead relied on incorrect reading of the altitude. The January 2012 CVR expert report conclusively assigns the voice that reads the altitude from the pressure altimeter to the second pilot, thus repudiates the hypothesis that the pilots incorrectly monitored the altitude.
80 Russian Report in English, pp. 182-183.
81 Col. Krasnokutski was not an Air Traffic Controller, thus was an unauthorized to give orders.
86 „Kłamstwa, które dotknęły pamięć gen. Błasika muszą zostać sprostowane”. Czy Sejm stać na przyjęcie takiej uchwały?” wpolityce.com, March 28, 2014; http://bit.ly/OdNElQ.
87 Celem Raportu Anodiny była kompromitacja Polski i uderzenie w polskich pilotów,” Stanisław Żaryn, Wywiad, wpolityce.com, April, 2, 2014; http://bit.ly/OdO8Iy, (retrieved April 2, 2014). Klich believed that this brutal attack on Poland in fact discredited Russia and the Russian investigation.
88 „Igor Mintusow doradca Putina zdradza: Uwagi o pijanym Andrzeju Blasiku to główna strategia MAK” January 14, 2013, wiadomości, wp.pl, http://bit.ly/OdNzi1 (retrieved April2, 2014).
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views the SmolenskCrashNews.com. All information is provided on an as-is basis, and all data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The Smolensk Crash News DOT COM makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.