Kinda what I’ve been thinking

The horrible crash that killed Poland’s leader and nearly 100 of  its top people came when their Soviet TU- 154 crashed, an airplane so unsafe that even the Russians won’t fly them. A bad plane when made, it’s pure junk now, and, budget concerns or not, you don’t load your entire top command into just one of them lest, as Poland has just so sadly discovered, disastrous results occur.

SUNDAY UPDATE: It seems possible that the President may have ordered the plane to attempt a landing.

During the Russian-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia, Kaczynski flew to Georgia to show support for the Georgian leader. The president, as the supreme commander of the military, ordered the pilot to land near the breakaway republic and the military pilot respectfully refused, saying it was too dangerous and that Kaczynski may be his supreme commander on the ground, but not in the air.

Eventually, he landed at a safer airport and the president had to take a really long drive in a motorcade. Upon arrival, an angry Mr. Kaczynski told reporters that it was unacceptable for his orders to be ignored like that and decisions about his travel be made “on such a low level.”

Many today have asked me how it’s possible that Poland, a country that can easily afford whatever airplanes it wants for its officials, thoughtlessly packed so many officials into a single Soviet-era aircraft.

Unfortunately, it’s insanely normal. When Tusk was flying to Moscow, he took with him a very prominent group of officials that included several cabinet ministers and chief executives of two major refineries, PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos, as well as executives of gas company PGNiG.

Now the Soviet-era fleet is grounded and the safety rules for the travel of public officials will probably change. Too late.


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9 responses to “Kinda what I’ve been thinking

  1. networthdeclining

    And what are the odds they were certified for Cat 3 landings in fog? Zero.

  2. Hockey Fan

    Frozen Four: B.C. 5-Wisconsin 0. Be proud of your Eagles.

  3. Anonymous

    About as moronically risky as the POS TownCars w/drivers having dubious driving judgment or ability (or legal immigration status) which routinely pick up/drop off NetJets customers at Teterboro or any other US airfield

    Physical risks always outweigh financial risks

    US-built TownCars (or SUVs) tend to be a lot riskier than US-built Gulfstreams in the NetJets fleet

    • Anon, I do a fair bit of driving to and from our local airports because I have three grown kids and an extended family that travels – I’ve seen limos barreling down the Hutch with their lights out, swerving all over the road, be it the Henry Hudson or I-95 or the Van Wyck, and I’ve often wondered whether the Master of the Universe in the limo’s back seat has any idea that he’s seconds from dying. My guess is that he doesn’t. Silly man.

  4. anonymous2

    I think you’re being a bit rough on the TU-154, and the article to which you link doesn’t do much of job is backing up the notion that it’s an inherently lousy plane.

    That said, it is a near 50 year-old design that’s largely been replaced due to noise and fuel consumption issues.

    No, it’s not a piece of western high-technology, but given the fact most have been operated in parts of the world with poorly developed airports and comparatively few navigation aids it’s surprising its safety record isn’t a lot worse than its western equivalent, the Boeing 727. Could the Boeing operate off a gravel runway?

    I’ve flown numerous times in the USSR/Russia on 154s and running up the engines for takeoff sounds like a washing machine going into a spin cycle. Like the TU-134 and the Ilyushin 86 it’s a different flying experience, but with a competent crew and adequate maintenance you get there just fine.

  5. Priapus

    Took four passes. Shouldn’t have tried. Did pilot force or did BSD passengers tell them to go in. We’ll never know but it’s been known to happen. A lot. Equipment didn’t fail. Hmmm