Poland disbands air transport unit of air force following Presidential crash

Poland’s government disbanded an air force regiment and fired some high-ranking officers as a consquence  of findings in a Polish investigation into the  plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others.

The 36th Special Regiment of Aviation Transport was a special aviation regiment of the Polish Air Force established in 1945. All of its aircraft were for national public use, the most important being transport of Polish politicians, officials and forces commanders.

The Polish investigation concluded that:

The immediate cause of the accident was the descent below the minimum descent altitude at an excessive rate of descent in weather conditions which prevented visual contact with the ground, as well as a delayed execution of the go-around procedure. Those circumstances led to an impact on a terrain obstacle resulting in separation of a part of the left wing with aileron and consequently to the loss of aircraft control and eventual ground impact.

Relating to the 36th Special Regiment, the report concludes:

  • incorrect training of the Tu-154M flight crews in the 36 Regiment;
  • ineffective immediate supervision of the 36 Regiment’s flight training process by the Air Force Command;
  • failure by the 36 Regiment to develop procedures governing the crew’s actions in the event of:
    a) failure to meet the established approach criteria;
    b) using radio altimeter for establishing alarm altitude values for various types of approach;
    c) distribution of duties in a multi-crew flight.
These findings prompted the decision to disband the regiment. Government flights will now be handled by Poland’s national commercial airline, LOT.
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