EC writes in to ask where weve been on the Smolensk crash. EC is correct; we have been neglectful. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of all the crash victims, and deeply regret the terrible loss of life.
On the day the crash was announced, with the awful realization that Polish president Lech Kaczyński and his wife were killed, the Цесаревич commemorated the fallen by building a red-and-white flag out of Legos. It was very touching, of course, but the Czar in his wicked brain could not fight the thought that, had it been the president of Turkmenistan, the youngster might just be finishing that flag around now.
EC, though, wonders if there was anything unusual about the crash that warrants our speculation. Simply, the Czar believes not. The evidence shows that weather was a factor, but compounding that factor was a pilot convinced he knew the Smolensk airport better than the guys in the tower, who more than once begged him to land elsewhere. However, re-routing the flight would make President Kaczynski late for a nearby ceremony, and that pilot was not going the guy to make the president late. Unfortunately, this decision made him a late president.
But should we trust this story? It will surprise many readers to know that the Russians, in fact, have a pretty thorough accident investigation group who have come through time and again to solve bizarre crashes honestly and scientifically. This is extraordinary in a country with cultural stonewalling, bureaucratic obfuscation, and government ownership of Aeroflot. But these guys get the job done…although the Volgi will be quick to tell you that their skills at solving Aeroflot crashes comes with such repetetive experience.
Case in point. In March of 1994, a brand-new Aeroflot A310 crashed near Mongolia, killing 75 passengers and crew. The Russians investigated despite intense pressure from Aeroflot to find fault with the Airbus, and not with Aeroflots equipment, training, or crew. Aeroflot was just trying to overcome its horrific safety past, and spent a billion on the aircraftfor insurance purposes as well as PR, the cause had to be with Airbus.
But as bizarre as the pre-crash symptoms were, the Russian investigators discovered and revealed that one of the pilots put his 15-year-old son in the seat behind the stick to pretend he was flying the jet while the autopilot was on. The pilot, though experienced, was not fully trained on the A310 and did not know that pushing hard enough on the stick will turn off the autopilots aileron control. The plane banked wildly, throwing everyone against the radius of the turn so fiercely that they could not physically pick themselves up off the wall to take control. Eventually, the plane went into a nosedivethis allowed the co-pilot to seize control and the captain to switch places with his son. They fought to level the plane, and almost did…until it slammed into the forest. Neither pilot, you see, realized that on an A310 you can pull out of a serious dive simply by letting go of the controls. Software in the A310 will automatically detect and correct even a total, vertical plunge smoothly and quickly.
This was disastrous for Aeroflot, which once again conceded it has no concept of operational safety and inadequately trains its crews. How much easier to have concealed this and covered it up…but the Russians quickly divined even the bizarre circumstances of this crash and made all their findings public (and the exact conditions have been independently reproduced and confirmed by Airbus).
So the Czar tends to side with the Russian investigators more often than not.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.