Polish president dies in plane crash during heavy fog

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

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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

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Quoting Drakoen:


How often do they try to land in quarter mile visibility despite the ATC telling them not to
ATC does not tell you not to. They tell you the conditions and, maybe, suggest another option. Today, a bunch of airplanes and crews that are capable of landing 0/0 (that's zero visability and zero ceiling...if you've ever been on an airline that made one of those, you know it), practiced by letting the airplane land itself in better than 0/0 conditions. You're putting way too much on this. It happens EVERY day. One went bad...we'll see why soon.
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Quoting MissNadia:


ATC has nothing to say in the landing decision.. up to the pilot and pilot alone !!


Again misinterpretation, I mean the ATC's recommendation that the plane not land
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Quoting Drakoen:


How often do they try to land in quarter mile visibility despite the ATC telling them not to


ATC has nothing to say in the landing decision.. up to the pilot and pilot alone !!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3002
What matters is the pilot, despite having the responsibility of the passengers which included his President, choose to disregard the advice of an air traffic control team that was actually familiar with the airport and weather. It killed them all.
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423. beell
Didn't the Mayor of Moscow make a promise of no snow this year(fail)?

Sure, the Russians can make fog also...


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I wanna find out where this guy broke loose from during Katrina,cuz it barreled thru 3-4 miles of cypress swamp from the Western Shore Of Lake Pontchartrain to Butt up against the RR tracks where Im standing taking this pic.



It may be a GOM Buoy.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127918
Quoting jpritch:


Actually, FOUR went bad. The qualified, experienced pilot had attempted - and failed - to land the plane three times before the final, fatal attempt. The air traffic controllers were asking them to land elsewhere because of the heavy fog. Clearly, the conditions were anything but routine.

It is quite possible also that the pilot was not the person on board who made the decision to go for another landing attempt there.

Investigators have ruled out technical problems with the plane, by the way.
Ruled out technical problems this early? Had not heard that yet and would be sketical of who those "investigators" are. As for the rest, anyhting's possible. My point remains, it's all speculation at this point.
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we're through the looking glass, Alice
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Quoting NttyGrtty:
Yes, I am...and yes, each landing is VERY different


How often do they try to land in quarter mile visibility despite the ATC telling them not to
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it could just be me, but i thought i saw some rotation in the storms to the SE of armillo texas. spotters there have already reported ping pong sized hail
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Quoting NttyGrtty:
367. Aware of all that. The name at the bottom of the post is "Jeff Masters". If he authorizes his name to be used, he ought to ensure the ghost is qualified to make the statements they make in his name...or at least he is



HMMM IS THIS JFV OR DO I SMELL TROLLS
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Quoting NttyGrtty:
Yes, I am...and yes, each landing is VERY different
Quoting jpritch:


Actually, FOUR went bad. The qualified, experienced pilot had attempted - and failed - to land the plane three times before the final, fatal attempt. The air traffic controllers were asking them to land elsewhere because of the heavy fog. Clearly, the conditions were anything but routine.

It is quite possible also that the pilot was not the person on board who made the decision to go for another landing attempt there.

Investigators have ruled out technical problems with the plane, by the way.


Excellent post
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Quoting beell:
And if one wanted to add fuel to conspiracy theorists, how difficult would it be to fiddle with the ILS (Instrument Landing System) glideslope?


It is very easy... all you need is a truck or auto parked in the wrong place!!
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3002
Quoting NttyGrtty:
Can't speak specifically for the referenced airplane in the referenced airport but quarter mile vis landings with very important passengers happens every day. ONE, went bad so we all get to read about it, but, to be sure, there were a bunch of others around the world that didn't.


Actually, FOUR went bad. The qualified, experienced pilot had attempted - and failed - to land the plane three times before the final, fatal attempt. The air traffic controllers were asking them to land elsewhere because of the heavy fog. Clearly, the conditions were anything but routine.

It is quite possible also that the pilot was not the person on board who made the decision to go for another landing attempt there.

Investigators have ruled out technical problems with the plane, by the way.
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Back to the weather...

Lovely shower of rain. Wish it was heavier and lasted longer but grateful for small mercies.

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409. beell
.
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384....Seriously?!?!?!?! I mean....Really?!?!?!?!
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407. beell

.
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405. beell
And if one wanted to add fuel to conspiracy theorists, how difficult would it be to fiddle with the ILS (Instrument Landing System) glideslope?
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Quoting Drakoen:


So you are a qualified pilot to test against Dr. Jeff Masters and make the statements you have been making?

And obviously there are different conditions with each landing that could cause a reduction in visibility
Yes, I am...and yes, each landing is VERY different
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'Twill be interesting to hear the results of the "black box" investigations...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21943
Quoting NttyGrtty:
My appologies Sir, did not mean to misinterpret. If you feel landing in quarter mile fog is against common sense, I suggest you avoid flying commercial airlines altogether. They land in quarter mile vis all the time all over the world. Can't speak specifically for the referenced airplane in the referenced airport but quarter mile vis landings with very important passengers happens every day. ONE, went bad so we all get to read about it, but, to be sure, there were a bunch of others around the world that didn't.


So you are a qualified pilot to test against Dr. Jeff Masters and make the statements you have been making?

And obviously there are different conditions with each landing that could cause a reduction in visibility
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The Great Lisbon Earthquake / Tsunami of 1755 presumably was centred further west along the same fault as today's quake.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21943
Quoting Drakoen:


You're misinterpreting my words.
My reference to common sense was not knowing how to land a plane in fog but, rather, avoiding it all together and listening to the ATC. Common sense would tell me not to land a plane in fog especially having important people on board and putting their lives at risk.
My appologies Sir, did not mean to misinterpret. If you feel landing in quarter mile fog is against common sense, I suggest you avoid flying commercial airlines altogether. They land in quarter mile vis all the time all over the world. Can't speak specifically for the referenced airplane in the referenced airport but quarter mile vis landings with very important passengers happens every day. ONE, went bad so we all get to read about it, but, to be sure, there were a bunch of others around the world that didn't.
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Earthquake Details
Magnitude 6.8
Date-Time Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 09:40:30 UTC
Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 08:40:30 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 10.913°S, 161.130°E
Depth 60.2 km (37.4 miles)
Region SOLOMON ISLANDS
Distances 100 km (65 miles) WSW of Kira Kira, San Cristobal, Solomon Isl.
205 km (130 miles) SE of HONIARA, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
245 km (150 miles) S of Auki, Malaita, Solomon Islands
2025 km (1260 miles) NNE of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 4.7 km (2.9 miles); depth +/- 12.7 km (7.9 miles)
Parameters NST=107, Nph=107, Dmin=209.2 km, Rmss=0.85 sec, Gp= 25°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)


Event ID us2010uya5
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21943
Quoting NttyGrtty:
That's my point. Unless you are a qualified pilot, you have no concept of the "common sense" involved with landing in quarter mile visibility fog. You are one of the best on the normal topic of this blog, but now that we have the topic of landing in fog, I'm suggesting your comment may have been beyond your knowledge. The investigation will determine who did what, when, where and how. Until then, it's all spectulation. I respect your spectulation on weather, but over the years, I've read nothing from you suggesting you know about landing an airplane in fog...


You're misinterpreting my words.
My reference to common sense was not knowing how to land a plane in fog but, rather, avoiding it all together and listening to the ATC. Common sense would tell me not to land a plane in fog especially having important people on board and putting their lives at risk.
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Heres that Buoy Ball that washed up against the RR tracks in Rudduck,La from Katrina in 05.

I couldnt budge it with a cypress log so itsa Heavy thing,...old too from the welds...and rust.



Video of the Buoy and Debris field
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127918
Quoting Drakoen:
You don't need to be a qualified pilot to follow or understand common sense
That's my point. Unless you are a qualified pilot, you have no concept of the "common sense" involved with landing in quarter mile visibility fog. You are one of the best on the normal topic of this blog, but now that we have the topic of landing in fog, I'm suggesting your comment may have been beyond your knowledge. The investigation will determine who did what, when, where and how. Until then, it's all spectulation. I respect your spectulation on weather, but over the years, I've read nothing from you suggesting you know about landing an airplane in fog...
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Keeper, the quake is on the map you posted. It was revised down to a 6.8 and is represented by the large blue square in the lower right section of the map. Here's the USGS info page on it:
Link
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
you are very likly right pat but he also said he was on vacation for a week as well unless he posted a quick vacation post update i guess find out soon enough


I suggest you Look at the bottom of the entry.

Some things are just what they are.

Unless your watching Cable news around 5pm EST

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127918
The Iberian Peninsula is only at moderate risk from earthquakes, although every two hundred odd years one as big as six on the Richter Scale will inevitably occur. Iberia, once a plate of its own, is squashed between Africa and Eurasia, and is now fused to and part of the latter. That old saying that Africa begins at the Pyrenees is geologically wrong as well as being xenophobic horseshit, but in a very real tectonic sense Europe did once begin at the nascent Pyrenees. Although major friction is, for the time being, a thing of the past, ever so slowly and ever so powerfully the African and Eurasian plates still push up against each other, and this most commonly manifests itself in the Pyrenees, themselves forged, folded and formed by the ancient clash of the two plates; and in the south-west of the Peninsula, which lies closest to the fault line. That said, Iberia is in no way as active as Southern Italy, Greece or Turkey, where the full weight of Africa is in the process of shearing under Eurasia.

from http://www.iberianature.com/material/earthquake.htm
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21943
You don't need to be a qualified pilot to follow or understand common sense
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Bahahurrican, yes the BIG ONE is coming soon. I think the date is 12/21/2012.
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that report is incorrect that has been posted by . stormwatcherCI there has been no earthquake detected in that area

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53618
Wow. That's 3 over 6 in a week's time, equally spaced around the globe.

Is it overly paranoid of me to think "the big one's coming"? lol

Any news reports on effects?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21943















BREAKING NEWS



7.1-magnitude quake strikes Solomon Islands – USGS


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 18:29:00 04/11/2010

Filed Under: Earthquake, Disasters (general)

HONIARA – A major 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands in the western Pacific on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said, but there was no immediate tsunami alert or reports of damage.

The quake struck at a depth of about 52 kilometers (32 miles) with an epicenter 97 kilometers southwest of Kira Kira on Makira Island, the USGS said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no destructive widespread tsunami threat but added in a bulletin: "Earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometers of the earthquake epicenter.

"Authorities in the region of the epicenter should be aware of this possibility and take action."
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Quoting Patrap:
Well..with a even with a lil,or Thoudands of Flight experience hours,one takes the Best advice available from the ATC as they usually have the Best info from the Flights ahead of the one that Crashed.


Plus the Pilot/Crew made numerous attempts before the fatal choice for a Last run at the Runway.

The Crew was a Presidential one for the Polish Govt and Im sure the CVR and CDR will give the best info on what occurred as well as any Radar saved data if available.

And to be sure the entry was written by Dr. Jeff Masters,as he signs every entry at the bottom.

you are very likly right pat but he also said he was on vacation for a week as well unless he posted a quick vacation post update i guess find out soon enough
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53618
Quoting Patrap:
Well..with a even a lil,or Thousands of Flight experience hours,one takes the Best advice available from the ATC as they usually have the Best info from the Flights ahead of the one that Crashed.


Plus the Pilot/Crew made numerous attempts before the fatal choice for a Last run at the Runway.

The Crew was a Presidential one for the Polish Govt and Im sure the CVR and CDR will give the best info on what occurred as well as any Radar saved data if available.

And to be sure the entry was written by Dr. Jeff Masters,as he signs every entry at the bottom.

First sentence: one does, does one? So you are a qualified pilot...good to know...which explains sentence 2 and 3. As for sentence 4, concur.
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Well..with even a lil,or Thousands of Flight experience hours,one takes the Best advice available from the ATC as they usually have the Best info from the Flights ahead of the one that Crashed.


Plus the Pilot/Crew made numerous attempts before the fatal choice for a Last run at the Runway.

The Crew was a Presidential one for the Polish Govt and Im sure the CVR and CDR will give the best info on what occurred as well as any Radar saved data if available.

And to be sure the entry was written by Dr. Jeff Masters,as he signs every entry at the bottom.

,,also found 5 ton Lake Buoy in Bayou Manchac today from Katrina Surge near Manchac.La NW of NOLA east of I-55.

Will download some pics in my entry later.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127918
Depth 667 km (414.5 miles) set by location program

That is one deep earthquake. A quick browse and it looks about twice as deep as any land based quakes in a week. Will be interesting to see if people felt it.

edit: Just looked again, some reports coming in. Weak to light shaking from Madrid to Fez Morocco reported. 7 reports in 5 cities
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BRB
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21943

Earthquake Details
Magnitude 6.2
Date-Time Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 22:08:10 UTC
Monday, April 12, 2010 at 12:08:10 AM at epicenter

Location 37.078%uFFFDN, 3.470%uFFFDW
Depth 616.7 km (383.2 miles)
Region SPAIN
Distances 25 km (15 miles) SE of Granada, Spain
95 km (60 miles) ENE of Malaga, Spain
95 km (60 miles) WNW of Almeria, Spain
370 km (230 miles) S of MADRID, Spain

Location Uncertainty horizontal /- 5.2 km (3.2 miles); depth /- 4.6 km (2.9 miles)
Parameters NST=251, Nph=270, Dmin=285 km, Rmss=0.91 sec, Gp= 40%uFFFD,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=6
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)


Event ID us2010uycs


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53618
Quoting Drakoen:


I don't think it has an implication of it staying warmer. How long it stays warm will depend upon the strength of the A/B high and the amount of troughs that pass through. The CFS wants to keep you guys around average while the the ECMWF wants to take SSTs .5C-1C above average in the Bahamas. The shear forecast doesn't favor the development of storms over the Bahamas but it does very much so favor it over the Caribbean.
Hmmm.... guess we will see how things progress. I think I'd almostprefer development of storms over the Bahamas as opposed to development over Caribbean, for 2 reasons. 1, development in our area means at least a chance for a fish vs landfalling cane down the road. In the CAR, it's got to come out somewhere.... 2, development here means much smaller chance of well-developed cat 3+ here... Katrina is an excellent example. I'd rather have TS Katrina forming overhead than cat 4/5 Katrina "just passing through"....

Course, all of this is moot till we see how steering sets up...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21943

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

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