Ridiculing the truth

Artur Stelmasiak

Irrefutable documents of the Smolensk investigation were collected in the White Book. We analyse the facts and conclusions that have been most frequently ridiculed by public opinion.

When the established facts and conclusions included in the so-called White Book were presented by the parliamentary team the politicians of PiS used almost identical formulations that the experts of the commission headed by Minister Jerzy Miller had used. When during the press conference in January 2011 the experts said that the air traffic controllers misled the Polish crew nobody called the military pilots psychological maniacs. But when Antoni Macierewicz repeated the same, at once there were comments devaluing the whole establishment of the parliamentary team he headed. A large-scale media crusade began just after the publication of the White Book. However, the only ‘substantial’ mistake, which the editorial board of TVN channel managed to discover in the heat of the moment, was the alleged Russian leader aboard the plane that flew to Smolensk with the Prime Minister aboard on 7 April. ‘But there was no Russian leader flying with Prime Minister Tusk. Why are obvious lies written in the White Book?’ asked indignant Justyna Pochanke in the TVN24 programme. However, it is enough to verify the statement of Pochanke to see that she was wrong. Since the White Book does not contain any words about a leader aboard the Tu-154. It is only one example of the manipulations one can hear and see in various media every day. The expert of the magazine ‘Lotnictwo’ [Aviation] does not agree completely with such opinions. ‘Although during the press conference the commentary of Macierewicz, MP, was sometimes too emotional and journalistic it does not mean that the whole work of the team is a fake. Authentic documents were published and they speak for themselves,’ Krzysztof Zalewski stresses.

In black and white

During the press conference Jaroslaw Kaczynski said that the Russians bore the sole responsibility for the crash. ‘They are responsible for the direct causes of this tragedy and the Polish government is guilty of the fact that it did not prevent the crash. If not for the Russians’ behaviour the Polish negligence would not have led to the death of the elite of our nation,’ the chairman of PiS stressed. The documents included in the White Book prove that in black and white. They show that the air traffic controllers broke the Russian aviation law. ‘If they had closed the airfield there would not have been subsequent mistakes and in result the crash would not have happened,’ Zalewski says.
According to the documents the takeover of the investigation was a Russian ‘masterwork.’ During the first three days of the investigation into the causes of the crash the Polish experts were allowed to approach the wreck of the plane and see other evidence. That ended when the government accepted Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention and passed over to the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) the investigation. The consequence of this action was that the Polish investigation officers were turned out from Smolensk and the effect of that was the Russian report that laid the sole blame for the crash on the Polish pilots forced by the ‘drunk’ general. Whereas according to the White Book the Polish government should carry the responsibility for this scandalous report. Krystyna Pawlowicz, a professor of law, explained that during a session of the parliamentary team. ‘We behaved as if we told a peasant: although you are co-guilty of the death of my father, examine this matter because you have kind eyes,’ Prof. Pawlowicz says. ‘However, it was a disservice to Poland and until today we are paying for the consequences.’

15 metres above the ground

But the greatest hysteria of the media was the information that ‘the plane was overpowered 15 metres above the ground.’ This conclusion results from the report of some independent American experts that examined the flight computer (FMS) in the USA. It is the only proof (apart from the so-called Polish black box ATM) that was examined outside of Russia. ‘The geographical coordinates of the termination of the FMS operation do not agree with the site of the crash established by MAK. The difference is ca. 400 m. We know it because the FMS automatically records geographical coordinates, height and flight parameters in the last phase of work,’ Krzysztof Zalewski explains. There are several hypothetical answers. The work of the flight computer was broken due to the crash but then it would have occurred that the plane had crashed above the ground and in another site than the one the Russians showed. Another theory says that before the crash the power supply was damaged. But it should have been recorded in the diagrams decoded from the black boxes and the Polish ATM recorder. ‘The third version is that the flight computer stopped working because the exploitative parameters of the plane were exceeded considerably. During the last phase of the flight the FMS was not able to define the g-force. What was happening with the plane exceeded considerably the algorithm set in the FMS software. The flight computer could not interpret these data and could have switched off,’ the expert of the magazine ‘Lotnictwo’ explains.
According to the data decoded from the black boxes there was the so-called dynamic G-force level in the last phase of the flight. Although the pilot pulled back on the stick instinctively the plane had no sufficient speed and lift to go up. ‘The so-called critical angle of attack was exceeded considerably,’ Zalewski explains. Despite that the nose of the plane was risen but the plane could not climb but was going down and finally hit the obstacle.

On the right course, on the glide slope

Although the last phase of the flight is only a hypothesis one can state firmly that there would not have been such a dramatic attempt to make the Tu-154 go up if the airfield had been closed and the pilots had not been misled by the air traffic control tower (Miller’s commission gave the same conclusions). The last information ‘on the right path and the glide slope’ was given when the plane was 20 m below the glide slope and 80 m aside from the right course. ‘The charts show that the plane was on the right glide slope only for a few moments and actually it was over it and then below it,’ Zalewski explains. Such a landing approach of the plane was not within the tolerance of such a primitive equipment as the one at Smolensk. That’s why the Russians camouflaged this fact and during their explanation they used two types of glide slopes with different angles of approach. The manipulation is that depending on which place the plane was different angles of approach were used. When in the presentation of MAK the plane was too high they used ‘higher’ glide slope and when it was falling they used a ‘lower’ one. Using this breakneck way the Russians tried to prove that the controllers had the right to say, ‘on the right course, on correct glide slope.’ According to their logic the Polish pilots would have used simultaneously two different glide slopes while landing. This fatal talking the aircraft down can be only explained by the fact that the controllers had a defective equipment or misled the pilots on purpose. However, both the first variant and the other one are a mystery for us. Since we have no video recordings (according to Edmund Klich these recordings existed) that registered the picture of the monitors from the tower. The Polish investigating officers have not received any documentation of the technical condition of the equipment mounted at the airport. Key evidence could have been the observation of the so-called technical orientation flight over the airport just after the crash during which the operation of the ground equipment and instruments of the plane are examined. But the Polish representative accredited to MAK was not allowed to take part in this procedure, which infringed the Chicago convention. It is impossible to repeat the experiment. Therefore, we can only take the Russians’ version of how the equipment could have behaved at the airport on 10 April 2010.

The general commanded to talk the aircraft down

The MAK report was adjusted to the presumed thesis that the Polish pilots carried all the blame. The most striking example is that the command ‘go round’ that Captain Arkadiusz Protasiuk gave was effaced in the stenographic records. ‘The remaining non-decoded words in the Russian stenographic records were described giving the exact time and note ‘undecipherable.’ The words of Captain Protasiuk did not have such an annotation. ‘It is the key evidence of deliberate falsification,’ Zalewski thinks. ‘If the MAK report has the thesis that the pilots intended to land till the last moment, till they hit the ground, and the stenographic record shows that they had decided to go round earlier the Russian interpretation of the course of events falls apart completely. Only the Polish experts managed to reveal this falsification. Thanks to them it turned out that the pilots had not intended to land in Smolensk. They only wanted to reach the height of decision to confirm what the air traffic controllers had told them. Why? There are two types of airports: open ones where planes can land and closed ones where planes cannot land. The Polish pilots were to land on the latter and that’s why they had to prove that there were no conditions to land in Smolensk so that they could go round to an alternate airport or return to Warsaw,’ Zalewski explains. Let us recollect that the air traffic controllers in Smolensk wanted to close the airport but they received a clear command from Moscow, ‘Talk the aircraft down!’ That was a violation of the international standards and regulations of the aviation law. A mysterious general in Moscow carries the blame for that.

A failure of the autopilot?

The command ‘we are going round’ was given at the height of slightly less than 100 m above the runway. Thus the pilots could have made the aircraft go up. Why did the crash happen? Let us hope we will approach the truth when the complete Polish report is published. So far one theory, promoted by MAK, says that the pilots made a mistake, using the autopilot to go round, and the autopilot could not have worked at the airport with any ILS. One of the proofs was the flight simulator experiment conducted in Moscow. But our Tu-154 planes were modernised several times and the version of these simulators differ considerably. Besides our pilots might have known that the autopilot should also work at the airports without the ILS. Since they had landed many times in various conditions. However, in Smolensk the too high flight speed might have been a problem for the autopilot. Instead of 4 m per second they were going down at ca. 8 m. The controllers are guilty of that since they gave the pilots false information regarding the position of the plane from the airport. The result of this information was an attempt to correct the fight. The experiment of the Polish commission on the twin Tu-154, No 102, was to dispel final doubts whether one could go round using the autopilot. If the plane went round the most likely cause of the crash could have been a failure of the autopilot. This theory is strengthened by the fact of the earlier failures of this instrument.
The criticism of the White Book by the media has weakened the picture that is based on the irrefutable facts. Therefore, a question remains: who could have been intent on that? Yet, thanks to the work of the parliamentary team we deal with a complete presentation of all scandalous Russian activities and the negligence of the Polish authorities connected with the preparation of the visit of the Polish President to Katyn, the examination of the course of the plane crash and falsification of the reality after the crash.

"Niedziela" 29/2011

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl