Talk:2010 Polish presidential aircraft crash

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 Definition April 10, 2010 crash, fatal to all on board, of a Tu-154M aircraft traveling from Warsaw to Smolensk, for a memorial service for the victims of the Katyn Massacre [d] [e]

This needs editorial attention

This article is seriously deficient in factual information and also violates the CZ neutrality policy. The analogy with the Katyn massacre of several hundred Polish soldiers (officers?) is way over the top! The photo suggests we have evidence of a plane crash and some curious/mysterious/questionable circumstances, but I recommend we pull this article offline, retitle it with a more appropriate and less hysterical title and get the article stub cleared up and neutralized before it goes back online. I'm sorry but I can't oversee this; I've just time to express an opinion. I'm on vacation, and not available to see this through, so I'm hoping some other editor will concur and follow through. Roger A. Lohmann 17:53, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

I can give it some time, although reality does intervene. Title must change to something neutral, such as "death of..." or "crash at...". Roger, the Katyn massacre was more in the low tens of thousands; I agree it's not comparable. As far as workgroups, I'd suggest Politics (should be obvious), Military (wet operations -- when governments threaten or kill people) and Engineering (aviation safety).
CZ is an English language encyclopedia. There's no way for an Engineering editor to assess the cockpit voice recorder transcripts. Further, there doesn't seem to be any mention of the flight data recorder, which would be the more accurate way to determine altitude. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:29, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
As far as international investigations being requested, the citation points to a resolution introduced by a single Congressman, which has been sent to committee -- no formal request has been made. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:49, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

A Constable's message to Dimitrii

I've put a message on his Talk page at Hayford Peirce 18:06, 7 July 2010 (UTC)


Thanks for the message and the suggestions. Word "soldiers" is corrected to "officers". The analogy (cite 1) is based on the attitude on the Russian representatives, not on the number of victims. About the letter by a "single congressman" – Thanks, I have corrected this, now is mentioned as "call" and "query". About the "mention of the flight data recorder" – The data carriers seem to be collected in the same place; again "all the eggs in the same basket". This disables the independent analysis, the comparison, the verification and the confirmation. In some sense, these "eggs" are already broken: even if these data will be published, they cannot be confirmed... Dmitrii Kouznetsov 02:45, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, Roger and I, both politics editors, consider the analogy unacceptable as an article title or as the lede. The article cannot stay in mainspace with the "Katyn-2" title, or as sensational a lede. As I understand, the flight was to a memorial for Katyn Forest, so this is especially ironic.
If there is no independent analysis and only speculation, the subject may not be appropriate for an encyclopedia article.
Perhaps we have a language issue, but I have no idea what is meant by an aircraft following a glissade. Flight path would be the normal term for describing the altitudes, speeds, and directions. I don't understand the point about disruption at 100 meters rather than a few meters. Having gone through quite a few National Transportation Safety Board incident reports, there isn't enough information here to begin to make a judgment on causes.
English-language reporting from Western aviation technical sources is needed. Aviation Week and Space Technology had a blog report on 11 April, indicating the flight data recorder as well as cockpit voice recorder have been recovered. [1]
There is, in aviation, the term "controlled flight into terrain", in which a pilot, apparently in control, flies into the ground. Major incident investigations take months; this seems very early to be suggesting causes. Howard C. Berkowitz 04:30, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Dear Howard: Thank you for your comments.
1. About the title: I picked up the shortest name. It indicates both, the place (near Katyn) and the inconsistency of the official explanations from Moscow (in the similar way as it took place during half-century in the case of Katyn-1). Also, this name is most often in the literature.
2. About the "independent analysis and speculations"": We have no need to present some "independent" analysis. Several versions are already mentioned in the reference 10. The 3 versions are most often:
A: pilots did not understand the dispatcher. They could not recognize the value of the pressure and did not set correctly their altimeter. The pilots did not have enough experience to use the GPS and TAWS systems, therefore they were just going down until they saw the ground. The pilots did not know that there is big canyon, valley in a kilometer from the airstrip. At the fourth intent of such landing, at 8:56am of the local time (in the updated version – at the first intent, at 8:41am) the airplane touched the obstacles (electric power lines, trees) and got destroyed for thousands pieces. Occasionally, Sergei Antufiev, Irina Adrianova and other officials used to say to journalists the same moment of the crash (8:56am instead of 8:41am) and number of aborted landing attempts the pilots did just before it (three instead of zero).
B: The airplane was directed into the canyon by the meaconing and the confusing indications by the "dispatcher". After to land in a wrong place, the jet was destroyed and robbed by the terrorists.
C: The airplane was shouted down. The broken trees and electric power cables were prepared by the terrorists before the event or just after it to hide the crime.
Perhaps, I exagerrate a little bit each of these hypothesis in order to make clear the difference between them. Now there is no evidence to give preference to any of such hypothesis. Therefore, the article is short. I consider CZ as Scientific source of information; therefore, the only important and evident facts are mentioned. From my point of view, the only scientific fact we know is: The Russian representatives had indicated 8:56am as time of the crash and blamed the pilots for ignoring of the commands from the Control Tower, making four attempts to land, while the last of them was fatal. Then, the three attempts (that could take place between 8:41am and 8:56am) were dropped out from the official version of the tragedy, and the 8:41am was declared as the moment of the crash. This is not a speculation, it is phenomenon, which is fixed in many publications. They really said this. Indeed, they had published such statements and one used such statements making the animations. Even the memory ceremonies were arranged on the base of such data. This phenomenon is interesting from the scientific point of view. Therefore, it should be mentioned in CZ. I would not develop here any of versions A,B,C above until some of them get confirmed by the independent observations.
3. I include the link you suggest. (Now it is ref [2]). Dmitrii Kouznetsov 10:38, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

While I'd call aviation crash investigation "engineering" rather than "science", as an Engineering editor, "Russian representatives say" is not adequate. In an NTSB crash report, there will be transcripts of the FDR and CVR logs. A careful timeline is created.
So far, by the standards of crash evidence, I don't see anything evident other than the fact that an airplane crashed, carrying Polish leaders. Two Politics Editors say the title is unacceptable. Howard C. Berkowitz 13:48, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand "officially the crash has been decimated as a result of the accident. --Howard C. Berkowitz 13:48, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
In the source referenced, "high command military" has been decimated .... --Peter Schmitt 15:44, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
Stylistically, I avoid "decimated" unless it is being used in the historic Roman context: kill every tenth man in a unit. Peter, you may not see as many silly English-language misuses of the term -- one of my favorites (in a negative way) is "decimated to the last man." Not possible. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:20, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
Howard, I did not suggest to use "decimated". I only wanted to point out where it comes from in this meaningless sentence. I wouldn't use it, either (though "dezimieren" is a German word also.) --Peter Schmitt 16:32, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

(undent) who is meant by "the terrorists"? Is "shouting down" a typo for "shooting down"?Howard C. Berkowitz 16:36, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I (un)blanked the page

After having read the article, I have to agree with Roger (see above) that it is not appropriate for the CZ main namespace in its current form, as it completely misses the balance. As for a good English-language discussion, and background on the title, see here. --Daniel Mietchen 11:49, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Daniel, while I agree it does miss being balanced and probably needed a total rewrite, I was working with Dmitri to see if it could be recovered. Both Roger and I are Politics authors, and discussed the situation. I'm also Military and Engineering, which pertain variously to covert action and to aviation safety. Blanking seems more of a Constabulary responsibility. Admittedly, the article has no metadata and workgroup assignments, and I had hesitated to add it because I was not at all sure it would stay in mainspace. Howard C. Berkowitz 13:36, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I am uneasy with leaving problematic content unchanged on the main page, while details are being discussed on the talk page. However, I have now added {{CallForConstables}} instead of blanking. --Daniel Mietchen 14:29, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
Without, at least for the moment, having an opinion on the content of the page: Since the issue is not a legal one that would require immediate reaction a call for a constable -- who should not make content decisions! -- the template seems to be misplaced.
A page on the plane crash is certainly justified, and since it is "work in progress", this work should be observed, but should be allowed to progress. This includes, of course, that a Citizen may change text, but a complete blanking seems to be too drastic under these circumstances. This would be the right action only if the page remains in an unacceptable state and untouched for some time. --Peter Schmitt 14:39, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Peter here. What is a "stub article" or an "article in development" if not full of errors? (even some of our approved articles have errors in them; why aren't they blanked?) Are we to blank all articles because they contain erroneous content on their first, second, or third drafts? This article is not yet an approved article. An editor is needed when this article is promoted for approval and not before then, unless the author or authors request some guidance. Why is there such a hurry to shut this article down? Let the author develop the content (and that includes proper naming). Jones 15:15, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
Let me review. Roger is on vacation, but made a brief post here, and we, as Politics Editors, corresponded by email and agreed the title and lede are unacceptable. There's a bit of chicken-and-egg here, as I don't want to add metadata (and thus groups) until we have an acceptable title. Nevertheless, it's not as if this article isn't under Editorial guidance, and, further, both Editors have stated the article cannot stay in Mainspace without substantial changes.
While Hayford was entirely correct, in my opinion, to have commented on neutrality and the like, I think it's principally an Editor, not a Constable, responsibility. In addition, I'm commenting as an Engineering and a Military. Engineering covers aviation, and I have some aviation incident analysis background (more as a guideline for medical error analysis). If this were a train, I'd be sure Russell had expertise, but I don't know if he's interested in flying things.
Dmitri, the #1 priority is to suggest a new title. Unfortunately, without research, I don't know enough to suggest more than "Polish Tu-154 crash on 10 April 2010." Important details are missing -- was it a Polish Air Force or commercial airliner? That some people call it Katyn-2, which I personally consider a questionable metaphor, is not a lede point -- it's a distinctly emotional appeal from one position. Even "crash of flight to Katyn observance" would be more objective.
Once the Katyn-2 metaphor moves well into the body in the article, there's no reason to mention it in the lede. The lede is the place for "who-what-where-when" information, with "why" and "how" later in the article, with a caveat that would be fair to include "why" to the extent of describing the purpose of the flight.
An obvious question even on the speculation: if Russians did it, why? Would it be associated with a faction? As I understand it, the aircraft in question was traveling to a memorial involving the Russians. --Howard C. Berkowitz 15:26, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
A title suggestion: "Katyn 2010 aircrash" (or "Katyn 2010 memorial", if the page is not restricted the aircrash). --Peter Schmitt 15:38, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Article Name

Regarding the article name, I'd like to point out that the author has pointed out that there is already a body of literature that identifies this event as Katyn-2. So, obviously, we need an article about Katyn-2. Whether that article discusses popular Polish views about a plane crash or the plane crash itself is another matter. If the former, then we also need an article about the Katyn 2010 Aircrash. Jones 15:44, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

A redirect, fine. We don't have articles on every political slogan.
I am willing, when I have a little time, to write a basic article about the original Katyn massacre. It would be logical to put, in that article, the changing Russian policy and opening of records. It's ambiguous if Katyn-2 refers to the official joint memorial or the crash. If the former, it belongs in the main Katyn article. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:18, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
The plane crashed 200m East of Smolensk North Airport (XUBS), which is about 20km East North East of Katyn. So if the place of the crash should go into the article title, it should not be Katyn. I have no idea about plane crash nomenclatures, but following the example of American Airlines Flight 77, it could be something like Polish Air Force 101 crash. Including year and/ or plane type would also be possible, and considering all the options, I would suggest Smolensk 2010 Polish Air Force 101 crash or simply Smolensk 2010 aircrash.
The links between the crash and the massacre may well deserve an article of their own, but I do not think that Katyn-2 would be the most appropriate title for that either. The original pitch of this article would probably fit best under something like Katyn-2 (conspiracy theory). --Daniel Mietchen 20:51, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

A Constable's view

1.) Now that two or three or even more Editors are chipping in here with their opinions, it is completely inappropriate for a Constable to make a decision about whether the article should be blanked, deleted, moved to user space, or moved to Cold Storage -- to do so would CLEARLY be making an editorial judgment that a Constable should not be making.

2.) For that reason, I am removing the Request for a Constable from the top of the article -- it is now in the hands of Editors, not Constables.

3.) I have just done a Google for both "Katyn-2" and "Katyn 2" (with no hyphen) -- they both return 66,000 hits. Most of them appear to me to come from sites that had already decided that the crash was a conspiracy. So if we *do* have an article called Katyn-2, then I think it should be, as Howard suggested, one about the *complete* views on the subject, such as "Moon Landing Hoax" points out the fact that *some* people believe that it was a hoax, but that this is a very fringe view.

4.) If I (or Matt) get a CLEAR consensus from the Editors that some sort of Constabulary action should be taken, I will do it. But not before. Hayford Peirce 17:11, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

A quote?

This text was included in a note, but is italicized, which leads me to believe that it is an exact quote. Can someone run this down and verify? Jones 18:09, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

The Russian emergencies ministry told Itar-Tass news agency the plane crashed at 1056 Moscow time (0656 GMT) as it was coming in to land.

Smolensk regional governor Sergei Antufiev. "According to preliminary reports, it got caught up in the tops of trees, fell to the ground and broke up into pieces," he said.

And this too:

It was just a few miles east of Katyn when it crashed around 10:50 a.m. (2:50 a.m. ET) on the outskirts of the town of Pechorsk, close to Smolensk, the Investigation Committee of the Russian prosecutor's office said.</i>

Who's in charge?

Why was the first officer flying the aircraft at the point of an emergency landing? Am I missing something? Jones 18:15, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I didn't see this in the article or the FSF report. Where did you encounter this?
The FSF link to the official report does mention that the cockpit door was open and unauthorized people were on the flight deck. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:01, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Move to external links

I think the following should be in the external links: Jones18:30, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Some of relevant cites are listed by the Polish site Smolensk-2010 <ref name="pu">{{cite journal | url= | title=In the murder of Kaczynski’s handwriting is seen Putin | journal=Publikacja w serwisie | year=2010 May 4 }} </ref>.

Rewriting in general

The lede paragraph is a perfect example of why it is almost *always* easier simply to start to write a new article (or a new paragraph) rather than try to edit and rewrite a seriously flawed existing bit of text. Any of you who have tried to "lightly edit" or "correct mistakes" in the text of something written in your native language by a talented but not perfectly bilingual foreigner will know exactly what I am talking about. Hayford Peirce 19:29, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Still, the lede continues to have the problem that Roger and I believe Katyn-2 to be a non-neutral title. The second paragraph, as I read it, suggests coverup. Crash investigations, even by the very efficient U.S. NTSB, often take many months or years. No probable cause in July following an April incident is nothing I'd regard as out of the ordinary, after probably reading several hundred detailed crash reports. The Flight Safety Foundation has a summary of official findings at [2]. This is not the first crash involving the Tu-154, which does not have a good safety record. [3]. An interesting article discusses "VIP Passenger Syndrome"; [4] I can think of several senior officials lost (e.g., Ramon Magsaysay, Orde Wingate) when they pressured pilots.
It doesn't seem to be in dispute that the weather was bad, and the Smolensk airport had minimal landing aids.
Facts first, please. Now, maybe there's a difference in Polish, but calling something "Katyn-2" sounds to me like an attempt to call it a second atrocity. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:48, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree 100%, Howard, and I was just trying to rewrite it within the existing title. While waiting for the Editors to figure out a better one. Which you've done. Hayford Peirce 22:20, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
The idea of "Katyn-2" — "drugi Katyń" or "nowy Katyń" in Polish — crossed the mind of many. One of the most quoted examples is from former Polish president Lech Wałęsa, about 2h after the crash: "To jest nieszczęście drugie po Katyniu, tam nam próbowano głowę odciąć i teraz też zginęła elita naszego kraju...", which translates as "This is the second catastrophe related to Katyn: there it was attempted to behead us, and now the elite of our country was also killed (there)."
This has to be understood (as the Polish, Russian and much of the international press did) from the perspective of the repeated extremely severe loss that the nation experienced at that place, not as an allegation or speculation about possible causes of the crash. --Daniel Mietchen 22:30, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I think all of us understand that. But this particular discussion goes back to previous discussions -- do we call Rome Rome, or do we call it Roma? Sure, one is more authentic, perhaps, but this is an English encyclopedia, not a Polish or Russian one. Everything you say can be fitted into the article, perhaps even very prominently. Hayford Peirce 22:33, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
The current text, however, has a distinct flavor of allegation and speculation. From an engineering standpoint, I don't even understand the point of some, such as the 100 M vs. "few meters". Any structural failure with the aircraft still in flight is catastrophic, and, indeed, the worst loss of life in an aircraft accident was the on-the-ground collision at Tenenerife.
Daniel, your words are reasonable, but I see nothing like them in the article. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:52, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

(unindent)(I'll give up -- to many edit conflicts)
I would vote for a shorter title. A shorter one is more practical, and there is no need for such a long title. As Daniel suggested, using Smolensk, or (I think: better), Katyn. Aircrashs sometimes are called after the flight number, but more often after the location (e.g., Lockerbie). --Peter Schmitt 23:01, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm open to other neutral titles, although I would argue against Katyn -- the crash didn't happen there. As a Polish Air Force flight, it didn't have an airline-style flight number. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:03, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
(Edit conflicts) My comment above was directed at the "second atrocity" point by Howard. I just added the Polish phrases in to facilitate the search for others, and did not mean to advocate their use in the article, especially since they were mostly used in informal comments, not by officials (who, like Wałęsa, used other expressions). But even in English, Katyn-2 is too floppy a way to express the idea of "the second catastrophe related to Katyn", so I strongly suggest to avoid it for article or section titles, unless with a qualifier.
I still think the text from the second paragraph onwards is completely off-balance and should basically be completely rewritten (reusing some of the references, e.g. the one to, but now that the disclaimer is in place and a new lead added, my urge to do that (which expressed itself in the blanking after an initial attempt at repair was not fruitful) is reduced.
I am glad to see several people collaborate on one article, but regret that these rare occasions usually are devoted to fringe topics or fringe views. --Daniel Mietchen 23:13, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
@Peter I made some suggestions in the #Article Name section above, but the current title is, in my view, unique and descriptive enough. The flight number was PLF 101 (Pułk Lotnictwa Transportowego).
@Howard According to the transcripts, the tower had given the crew the strong advice to abort a landing attempt if they couldn't see the ground when descending to 100m. --Daniel Mietchen 23:19, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps there is more need for collaboration in such cases? (And more fun???) --Peter Schmitt 23:25, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

WP attribution?

There is a mention that WP was used in preparation, but not an import notice. Personally, I am not willing to work on an article, on a recent event, which has any dependency on WP. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:52, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

I suggested (above) to remove everything after the new lead paragraph, which would solve a number of problems, including this one. --Daniel Mietchen 23:21, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
Howard, I seriously doubt if this article was imported from WP -- its level of grammar, English, and lack of (their term) NPOV, would not have been allowed there. Possibly some really *obscure* article that two people a year would look at, but no one such as this. Hayford Peirce 23:43, 8 July 2010 (UTC)