Polish president dies in plane crash during heavy fog

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:06 PM GMT on April 10, 2010

Share this Blog
3
+

Always obey your air traffic controllers. That's the cardinal rule of of aviation, and one apparently violated by the pilot of the aircraft carrying the Polish president and dozens of the country's top political and military leaders, which crashed in heavy fog this morning near Smolensk, Russia. All 96 people aboard perished. According to the New York Times, air traffic controllers had recommended the president's jet land in nearby Minsk because of bad visibility, but the crew decided to land anyway. The Polish news channel TVN24 reported that moments before the crash, air traffic controllers had refused a Russian military aircraft permission to land, but that they could not refuse permission to the Polish plane. Russian media reported that the airplane's crew made several attempts to land before a wing hit the treetops and the plane crashed about half a mile from the runway.


Figure 1. a large patch of fog covers the Russian city of Smolensk and regions to the east in this visible light image captured by NASA's Terra satellite between 08:00 - 11:15 UTC Saturday, April 10, 2010. Image credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response System, visualized using Google Earth.

At 10 am local time, near the time of the crash, the Smolensk airport reported heavy fog with visibility 0.5 km (3/10 of a mile). As seen in the satellite image taken near this time (Figure 1), a large bank of fog covered Smolensk and neighboring regions of Russia and Belarus.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 528 - 478

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14Blog Index

Saw an incredible Meteorite this evening, south-west to north-east.
Left a trail of scarlet stuff behind and I thought at the time "...I should be able to HEAR that!
Pretty sight.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The disturbing thing, I suspect, is not that I'm laughing at death...but that I'm laughing at stupidity...

...might as well own it now..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:
Er, anyone know where I can buy some rain?

My friend, I wish we could lend you some rain. I know that you're experiencing a bad drought. Hopefully, the El Nino will die out quickly and weather for Trinidad and Tobago will return to normal.

If it's any consolation, I live in the Dallas-ft Worth, TX area. We has one wet and snowy winter (which was bizarre, it almost never snows in this part of TX) and now it has been almost 3 weeks since we had a meaningful rainfall.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
NO MORE PORTLIGHT SPONSORSHIP efforts from me!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Well..if one had a lil Knowledge one would never land short of a carrier in my estimate..LOL

And Landing Middle Cable is preferred,but thats why one hits full Power at Contact,..

But you knew that?
Didnt,ya?

LOL

"Call da Ball"..




There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.
James A. Lovell
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
yes....as a matter of fact...we are kidding...


Nice joking about death.....NICE!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Er, anyone know where I can buy some rain?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
yes....as a matter of fact...we are kidding...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
515. Drakoen 1:55 AM GMT on April 12, 2010
Quoting presslord:
Q "How far do you think we can fly in the fog?"

A "All the way to the crash site..."


lol?



We are making jokes and laughing about death. Are you all kidding. WOW!

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting PcolaDan:
Interesting, 6.8 in the Solomon Islands and 6.3 in Spain and neither appears to have aftershocks. Wonder if this is normal in those areas.

I am guessing that the quakes in Spain and in the Solomon Islands are on a subduction zone, where one plate dives under the other. Those seem to produce deeper quakes and fewer aftershocks.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
Quoting presslord:
Q "How far do you think we can fly in the fog?"

A "All the way to the crash site..."


lol?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SQUAWK:


Not always a good option Pat. I watched a P-3 land long at Norfolk NAS in the fog and he ran off the end of the duty runway, down the hill, through the fence and into the pond. Ruined his day. I happened to be in ops and saw his landing gear go by the window on his approach and we all knew he was in big trouble. Ops was halfway down the runway.


Musta been quite da sight.

"Always Land Long" is a old Air Wing adage,..that applies to Runways and Hook catching on Naval Carriers.

Marine Aviator Lingo.

Neil Armstrong Landed Long during Apollo 11..and will tell ya da same.

But he was a Civilian Pilot when flying Apollo 11.
Mike and Buzz were Active Duty Air Force and had to fill out Travel Vouchers.


Spent some time at Oceania, NAS in 82
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Interesting, 6.8 in the Solomon Islands and 6.3 in Spain and neither appears to have aftershocks. Wonder if this is normal in those areas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaJess:


oh, oops!

actually the point of the Darwin award is to honor those who are clearing stupidity from the gene pool by removing their genes, so if a person is unable to reproduce because of something stupid they did they can still win a Darwin Award. Just saying
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
510. Skyepony (Mod)
Investigators say tapes reveal no indication of problems with Polish plane

Said visibility was 1300'
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 223 Comments: 39361
509. Skyepony (Mod)
Brazilian authorities have evacuated thousands of shantytown residents so their houses could be demolished after heavy rains that killed 224 people last week threatened further landslides.

Rio mayor Eduardo Paes said residents of the Morro de Urubu favelas (shantytowns) were being evacuated starting on Saturday ahead of demolitions planned for Monday.

The mayor decreed late last week that residents could be forcibly removed from their neighbourhoods, perched precariously on hillsides.

"There is still a risks of rains in the city. We cannot let people stay in danger zones," he said, noting that some 10,000 people live in the designated "risk areas".

Families will receive a "social pension" of $US141 ($A150.64) each month to pay for temporary housing until new houses are built, the mayor said.

On a visit to the Morro do Bumba slum in Niteroi on Sunday, Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral announced the federal government would provide a loan of some $US2.3 billion ($A2.46 billion) to cover damages.

The slum, where dozens of houses were destroyed by landslides, was built on an old garbage dump, compacted by time. The hillside gave way after the heavy rains, burying alive some hundreds of people, according to official estimates.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 223 Comments: 39361
Quoting Patrap:
According to the New York Times, air traffic controllers had recommended the president's jet land in nearby Minsk because of bad visibility, but the crew decided to land anyway. The Polish news channel TVN24 reported that moments before the crash, air traffic controllers had refused a Russian military aircraft permission to land, but that they could not refuse permission to the Polish plane.

from the NY Times as posted below by Drak,

"A top Russian military official said air traffic controllers at the Smolensk airport had several times ordered the crew of the plane not to land, warned that it was descending below the glide path and recommended it reroute to another airport."


Radar had the Aircraft too Low on Approach,and well,dat Radar stuff been round a tad time wise.

Also the Russian ATC Ordered a Russian Military Flight to wave Off but the Polish Crew decided to make that last Fatal run at the Runway.

And Failed to make it.

Always land Long.

The CVR and CDR will Let us know the Pilots reasons and actions as they were both recovered

Piloting 101...never land short.

Thats a BAD way to fly.


Not always a good option Pat. I watched a P-3 land long at Norfolk NAS in the fog and he ran off the end of the duty runway, down the hill, through the fence and into the pond. Ruined his day. I happened to be in ops and saw his landing gear go by the window on his approach and we all knew he was in big trouble. Ops was halfway down the runway.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:


A discussion is an argument. Picking a side a defending it is argument and discussion.


Okay, I'll play the semantics game. Technically you are correct so I will rephrase (although there are nuances that generally dictate when each word is used). (Never heard a Mom holler for the kids to stop that discussing.) There seem to be some people that come here for the sole reason of causing a verbal ruckus. I may even be considered one of those by some in here. My point is, why can't these talks remain civil? Maybe my definition of civility is different.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NttyGrtty:
NOBODY has shed any light on what actually happened, that's the point, and I see several reasons to question all that are defending this blog topic without ANY actual expertise on the subject. I'm out, WU mail anything else please, I'll bring up my original question with the author as I should have in the first place. Ya'll will argue (as opposed to debate/discuss) anything for the sake of the arguement. If you have a serious discussion, please WUmail, I'll talk pilot s__t all day. Nite...


And now you bring me back to post 443
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Your right Pat the storm surge is the greatest danger in the gulf almost anywhere you look, larger the storm the bigger the danger I was just speaking of wind strength. Yes Sky that seems to be exactly what is happening in S. Fl. when a storm approaches from the SW,IE Wilma. It draws strength from the everglades and the gulf stream to the east.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
Quoting indianrivguy:


that's the only way they are awarded


oh, oops!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:


You haven't shed any light to what actually happened and I see no reason to question both sources at this time.
NOBODY has shed any light on what actually happened, that's the point, and I see several reasons to question all that are defending this blog topic without ANY actual expertise on the subject. I'm out, WU mail anything else please, I'll bring up my original question with the author as I should have in the first place. Ya'll will argue (as opposed to debate/discuss) anything for the sake of the arguement. If you have a serious discussion, please WUmail, I'll talk pilot s__t all day. Nite...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaJess:



posthumously lol


that's the only way they are awarded
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2639
According to the New York Times, air traffic controllers had recommended the president's jet land in nearby Minsk because of bad visibility, but the crew decided to land anyway. The Polish news channel TVN24 reported that moments before the crash, air traffic controllers had refused a Russian military aircraft permission to land, but that they could not refuse permission to the Polish plane.

from the NY Times as posted below by Drak,

"A top Russian military official said air traffic controllers at the Smolensk airport had several times ordered the crew of the plane not to land, warned that it was descending below the glide path and recommended it reroute to another airport."


Radar had the Aircraft too Low on Approach,and well,dat Radar stuff been round a tad time wise.

Also the Russian ATC Ordered a Russian Military Flight to wave Off but the Polish Crew decided to make that last Fatal run at the Runway.

And Failed to make it.

Always land Long.

The CVR and CDR will Let us know the Pilots reasons and actions as they were both recovered

Piloting 101...never land short.

Thats a BAD way to fly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
498. beell
Quoting jpritch:


They had NO instrument landing system.


I'll take that on faith for now, jpritch-considering the source and all that lol.

Almost unbelievable.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting indianrivguy:


failure to ignore this wins a Darwin Award



posthumously lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:
you'd be amazed how many times I see sailors try to invoke that rule...they are technically correct...but the Law of Gross Tonnage takes precedence...


failure to ignore this wins a Darwin Award
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2639
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


the 500ft freighter... the sailboat can stop much faster, plus the sailboat is much harder to see...



no...actually the vessel under sail has the right of way
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting beell:
Any of the experts know what type of ILS system at this airport?
Localizer (lateral guidance only) or localizer and glideslope (altitude)?


They had NO instrument landing system.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting alexhurricane1991:
I would think the sailboat does?


the 500ft freighter... the sailboat can stop much faster, plus the sailboat is much harder to see...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NttyGrtty:
Everyhting from the New York Times is valid? I'll remember that as we progress into the hurricane season...


You haven't shed any light to what actually happened and I see no reason to question both sources at this time.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:
See boredom has really set in. You guys are still arguing about the plane crash. Or maybe some people like to come in here just to find something to argue about. (I've read back, it has NOT been discussion, but argument for the most part.)


A discussion is an argument. Picking a side a defending it is argument and discussion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:


Is that doublespeak?

Both statements are from valid known sources.
Everything from the New York Times is valid? I'll remember that as we progress into the hurricane season...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Got about an inch today. You didn't get any?
About 10 sprinkles. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
See boredom has really set in. You guys are still arguing about the plane crash. Or maybe some people like to come in here just to find something to argue about. (I've read back, it has NOT been discussion, but argument for the most part.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
How will you "KNOW" unless you go over there and investigate it yourself. All anyone can go by is what is on the news or in the newspapers.
You, Sir, have made the statement of the evening...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
486. Skyepony (Mod)
Gourgy~ These little ones do this all over the world's tropics. The forward speed & lack of diameter really keep the upwelling to a minimum. Sometimes a big one can pull it off..need a quick moving storm in a long, hot, shallow run of water, especially if it transitions into a wet swamp. Bangladesh.. that marshy forest near there in the Indian Ocean is a good example.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 223 Comments: 39361
485. beell
Any of the experts know what type of ILS system at this airport?
Localizer (lateral guidance only) or localizer and glideslope (altitude)?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NttyGrtty:
Both are a copy/paste of a news report. I don't copy/paste. When I KNOW something, I'll forward it...


Is that doublespeak?

Both statements are from valid known sources.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
483. beell
sorry folks, I'll stick to a laptop or pc in the future...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Guys we need the rain really bad no I hope we get some of this in the GOM

Got about an inch today. You didn't get any?
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
Quoting NttyGrtty:
Both are a copy/paste of a news report. I don't copy/paste. When I KNOW something, I'll forward it...
How will you "KNOW" unless you go over there and investigate it yourself. All anyone can go by is what is on the news or in the newspapers.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting gordydunnot:
Good explanation Sky, but especially in the gulf I would guess the larger the storm the more upwelling of water. I think Camille was a small fast storm that did strengthen all the way to the coast. Also around Fl. the Gulf Stream and water temp. is very high late season.


Katrina wasnt impacted by Upwelling in any sense of the track,as she maintained a Forward speed,..to the coast.

Still,..its the Surge that was built up over her GOM trek that did the damage well inland.


30 ft in Waveland,Miss and 17 ft in Lake Pontchartrain.



Katrina developed from Tropical Depression Twelve in the western Atlantic Ocean.

Katrina track on SST image of the Atlantic Ocean from 23 August (259 Kb)





Member Since: Posts: Comments:
479. beell
*
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Drakoen:


"A top Russian military official said air traffic controllers at the Smolensk airport had several times ordered the crew of the plane not to land, warned that it was descending below the glide path and recommended it reroute to another airport."

NY Times
Both are a copy/paste of a news report. I don't copy/paste. When I KNOW something, I'll forward it...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 528 - 478

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
28 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron