The tragic plane crash that killed Polish President Kaczyński along with nearly 100 of his fellow countrymen is so far being blamed on some combination of weather, pilot error, and technical failure of the plane.
That out the last explanation seems sadly believable.
Reuters has a factbox about the Russian-made Tupolev Tu-154, first developed in 1960.
* Russian airline safety hit rock bottom during the economic chaos of the early 1990s when there were at least 10 fatal crashes involving the Tu-154.
* Two of the worst crashes in the last 30 years involved the Tu-154 in the 1980s – one in 1984 when an Aeroflot Tu-154 collided with two airport service vehicles while landing at Omsk, Russia, killing around 174 people, and one in July 1985 when an Aeroflot Tu-154 crashed in Uzbekistan killing 200.
* There have been three deadly crashes of a Tu-154 in Iran since 2002, the last one in July last year killed 168 people. Iran said in February it was planning to stop using the planes.
So why was Poland still flying its President and so many other dignitaries in the plane?
Sadly, it appears the decision to keep flying the Tu-154 was in part a financial decision.
With all of Europe in austerity mode, to some extent or another, getting a new plane was seen as an unaffordable indulgence.
Instead, Poland recently had it refurbished.
[In] late 2008 Mr Kaczynski had suffered a couple of scares. Problems with the aircraft’s steering mechanism delayed his departure from Mongolia, forcing him to take a charter flight to Tokyo, and a week later the plane was caught up in turbulence flying to Seoul.
However, the aircraft had recently undergone a major overhaul and Aleksey Gusev, the head of the maintenance plant that carried out the work, told Polish TV that it should not have had technical problems.
“From the moment it entered service, the plane had had 5,004 flight hours and 1,823 landings, which for aircraft of this class is not a lot,” he said.
“The plane was flying quite well and there were no complaints.”
The overhaul was completed in December and included repairing the plane’s three engines. The next major service was due in six years.,
Obviously we’ll learn a lot more over the coming days and weeks, and again, the weather was apparently very bad, and based on some reports the pilots didn’t follow the exact instructions of air-traffic control. But there are other reports of gas leaks, and in fact a technical aspect is shown, drawing a line between the crash and the Polish budget should not be difficult.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.