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Opinion on
(serial number 90A 837)",
Part I and II, WARSAW 14.11.2014.
elaborated by płk rez. mgr inż. Stanisław Podskarbi

(Expert witness in aviation – aircraft engineering, of District Court in Warsaw)
(the Annex 2.4 is an annex to Expert Committee Opinion in Legal Proceedings Po. Śl. 54/10)

Warsaw, 17 June, 2015

Author: Andrzej Ziółkowski, D.Sc.
Field of expertise: Mechanics
Employment: Institute of Fundamental Technological Research

Polish Academy of Sciences, PAN
ul. Pawińskiego 5B
02-106 Warszawa

Research and publications: http://www.ippt.pan.pl/staff/aziolk


Date and time of elaborating opinion: Opinion was elaborated in the May-June time period, 2015.

Opinion on Annex 2.4 has been elaborated on request of barrister Piotr Pszczółkowski, being a legal representative of some families of victims, who died in the catastrophe of TU-154M plane, on 10th March 2010, near Smolensk North airfield, Russian Federation.

The present opinion represents views/assessments of the author exclusively and cannot be, by conjecture or in any other way, equated with a judgment of whatever physical and/or legal entity.

General opinion:

Annex 2.4 to Expert Committee Opinion with regard to case Po.Śl. 54/10 entitled “MECHANICS OF DAMAGE OF TU-154M PLANE no 101 (serial number 90A 837)”, composed of part I (275 pages) and part II (213 pages) contains a number of serious methodological errors. These errors concern such issues as: composition, size, scope of expertise and research base of the authoring team, applied methodology of analysis, scope and manner of use of evidence, carried out research, number, quality, type and scope of executed laboratory tests and structural examinations necessary to produce a methodologically correct technical report. These issues are discussed in greater detail in remarks below.

Annex 2.4 is not credible and it cannot be accepted as technical report honestly describing the process of damage of TU-154M plane near Smolensk (on 10.04.2010).

The document has not been elaborated in accordance with contemporary available expert knowledge, commonly accepted standards and good practices of conduct regarding analysis of damage of engineering structures (in this case aircraft structures). Fundamental methodological errors give grounds for supposition that Annex 2.4 was not elaborated in good faith. Annex 2.4 considered as technical report has inadequate structure.

The content of Annex 2.4 indicates that actually there has not been executed, methodologically correct, based on scientific principles and in conformity with good practices of conduct in this scope, embracing necessary analytical-research works, investigation of the course of damage of TU-154M plane, near Smolensk North airfield, on 10.04.2010. In view of the above elaboration of diligent technical report on this catastrophe was impossible.


1. The most appropriate action is rejection of Annex 2.4 in its entirety and acknowledging it as nonexistent, in particular as evidence in case: Po. Śl. 54/10.

2. It is necessary to execute a new, based on scientific methodology, honest investigation targeted at finding the course and causes of TU-154M plane crash near Smolensk, on 10th April 2010. Only the results of such research and analytical works will enable elaboration of a reliable technical report on the course of damage of TU-154M aircraft in Smolensk. A Committee composed of several dozen or so experts should be established for that purpose, with various specialties, including among others: expert in damage mechanics of engineering structures, expert in damage mechanics of materials, expert in chemistry/metallurgy with knowledge on analytical methods of metallic materials damage and access to suitable analytical equipment for chemical testing, expert in material science/metallurgy with knowledge on analytical methods of metallic materials damage and access to suitable analytical equipment for physical testing. It is desirable that the Committee include engineering practitioners routinely dealing with design, construction and operation of large aircraft. At least one expert should specialize in explosive damage of engineering structures. At least one member of investigative Committee should specialize in airframes, in order to facilitate smooth and effective post-crash reconstruction TU-154M plane wreckage. This type of identification works could be executed by Stanisław Podskarbi (author of Annex 2.4), since as it appears from the content of Annex 2.4, he was able to successfully identify numerous fragments of TU-154M plane wreck.

In view of a long period of time (5 years), which has passed since the plane crash, damaging of catastrophe material evidence, numerous cases of negligence and disregard for procedural provisions of Polish Government bodies (Committee for Investigation of Aviation Accidents of State Aircrafts – KBWLLP, and Chief Military Prosecutor's Office – NPW) entitled and obliged to run investigation on circumstances, course and causes of TU-154M plane crash in Smoleńsk, the investigative team should be supplemented by experts in criminal sciences and archeological sciences. The adopted methodology of investigation proceedings should conform to methodology of circumstantial criminal investigation.

As KBWLLP and NPW failed to execute in due time (immediately) an appropriate eyewitness inspection and documentation of the crash scene, collect and protect material evidence, make an inventory list of remnants and physical reconstruction of TU-154M aircraft wreck. it is necessary to execute a number of parametric/variant numerical simulations of the plane destruction process, e.g. with the aid of finite element method codes. It is necessary to make computer inventory of the wreckage scene – as far as it is possible at present and also make a computer reconstruction of the plane wreck.

Due to the key importance, the results of investigative works on the course of damage of TU- 154M plane in Smolensk have for national interest and safety of Poland, and taking into account the fact that the plane crash killed the President of Poland and his wife, the highest military commanders of the Republic of Poland, the highest rank civil servants, members of Parliament, it is necessary that the analytical team be composed of top-class experts. This would guarantee appropriate quality and reliability of analytical-research works.

Only the results of correctly executed research-analytical works on the plane remnants, including structural construction and laboratory tests, will enable elaboration of a reliable technical report on the course of damage of TU-154M plane (under the leadership and supervision of for example the leader of the research-analytical team ).

Specific remarks:

1. Team of experts appointed for the task of reconstruction of the course of damage of TU-154M plane in Smoleńsk and elaboration of technical report.

i) Competence of the author of Annex 2.4 in relation to the task commissioned to him.

In accordance with information specified in Annex 2.4, it was elaborated by a single author Stanisław Podskarbi – retired colonel, with degree of Master of Science in Engineering. In the document no information is given on the author`s of Annex 2.4 qualifications, professional experience, research experience in the context of his suitability for execution of such a complex and responsible task, as proper elaboration of reliable technical report on the course of damage of TU-154M plane in w Smoleńsk, on 10th April 2010. The only information contained In Annex 2.4. is that he has got degree of Master of Science in engineering (of unknown specialty), and that he is an expert witness in aircraft engineering. Publicly available materials on the professional competence of the author of Annex 2.4 are skimpy. Press article (Falkowski, 2013) reveals that the author of Annex 2.4 is a former military pilot (he piloted fighter plane Mig21), who after terminating military pilot career worked among others in 36th regiment of military air force being engaged in technical supervision of airplanes operation. The present author did not manage to find, in publicly available sources, information on Podskarbi's works or publications devoted to widely understood problems of engineering structures or materials damage. Thus, it is justified to conclude that engineering knowledge on aircraft structures, the principles of their design, construction, examination and analysis of damage conditions, etc., by no means can be recognized as primary/main domain of his knowledge and specialization. This is rather secondary knowledge, gained (being gained) in connection with occupational duties carried out by him. One may also rightly conclude that he is not acquainted to an expert degree with contemporary available methodology and research techniques on investigating materials and engineering structures damage.

ii) Evidence, source materials and technical resource base, which the author of Annex 2.4 had at his disposal/used.

In accordance with information given on page 7, part I, Annex 2.4 Podskarbi when elaborating Annex 2.4 used evidence contained in volumes 1 – 445 of records of case No Po. Śl. 54/10, i.e.. However, it should be taken into consideration that in the content of Annex 2.4 there is lack of references to the mentioned above source materials in the form of references to appropriate items present in the reference list of Annex 2.4.This violates the commonly accepted practice of quoting source materials, and due to that is a serious methodological error (credibility of different sources is different). Podskarbi recalls the source materials on the discussed by him evidence only in the text of Annex 2.4, without placing them in the list of references. Those references are made in an inconsistent manner, and frequently ambiguously. For example when referring to evidence Dow.3/II/2.4 he writes "...In the closest vicinity of the birch on Bodin's lot there was found a fragment of upper belt of second girder with fragments of sheathing. ...", he does not give information who and when found the said evidence, he does not give the source of recalled by him information. Similarly there is lack of information on who, when and in what circumstances found Dow.18/II/2.4D, no information is present on the source materials on this evidence. Most frequently Podskarbi refers to volume 160 of records of case Po. Śl. 54/10 stating that "...evidence was found ..." or that "...evidence was found by FR investigators...". The second most frequently referred to source of information on material evidence is the final report on investigation into the Smolensk crash by Interstate Aviation Commission of Russian Federation (MAK final report, 2011), however this document is missing from the list of references. Podskarbi declares that he also made use of volumes 446 – 493 of records of case Po. Śl. 54/10. However, there is no trace of references to suitable items in reference list of Annex 2.4. Reading Annex 2.4 one can just get the impression that Podskarbi did not comprehensively used records of the case Po. Śl. 54/10.

Narrative of his kind causes that it becomes utterly impossible to separate independent research, thoughts, analyses and assessments of the author of Annex 2.4 from those borrowed from other authors. For example, from the content of Annex 2.4 it completely cannot be guessed whether Podskarbi saw the discussed by him material evidence with his own eyes, and if so –which evidence?, or whether he formulated the statements and conclusions contained in Annex 2.4 mostly on the basis of Russian photographic documentation.

On page 7, part I, Annex 2.4, Podskarbi declares that he used materials of Committee for Investigation of Aviation Accidents of State Aircrafts (KBWLLP) – so called Miller Committee, in electronic form. Again in Annex 2.4 no references to relevant items in the reference list were placed, and as a rule references to documents of Miller Committee made by Podkarbi in the text of Annex 2.4 are vague. With this manner of argumentation it is impossible to distinguish, which sections contained in Annex 2.4 constitute expert opinion of its author, and which make borrowed assessments and statements from MAK Committee or KBWLLP (Miller) Committee authors. It is a serious methodological error.

Podskarbi on page 7, part I, Annex 2.4 declares that he used technical literature. However, the whole listed by him literature, counting 67 items, mostly concerns only operation matters of TU-154M plane and lists of the plane's parts (judging only by specified titles). Item 1 in reference list is an aerodynamics manual published in 1977 where special attention is paid to specificity of TU-154M plane. Items 2-19 are devoted to TU-154M plane operating and maintenance issues and the plane subassemblies. Items 20-34 are lists of parts and subassemblies of TU-154M plane (usefulness of these materials in crash analytical works is difficult to assess without knowledge of investigation plan). Items 35-67 are again various instructions and guidebooks devoted to exploitation issues of TU-154M plane.

Technical literature listed/used in Annex 2.4 by Podskarbi is unsuitable regarding subject matter of this document, i.e. analysis of the course of damage of engineering structure in air catastrophe. It is a serious methodological error.

This unsuitability of literature originates also from other serious methodological flaw of Annex 2.4, which is lack of a chapter/section devoted to plan of investigation. The plan of investigation only, describing a number of the most probable hypotheses concerning causes and course of structure damage, allows for proper directing research and analytical actions, and in consequence making proper selection of technical literature.

The reference list of Annex 2.4, lacks items devoted to methodology of failure analysis of engineering structures, in particular aviation structures. There is no list of documentation making it possible to find out what was the actual state and equipment of TU-154M No 101 plane after its general overhaul executed in the Russian Federation, from which it returned to Poland in December 2009. There is no list of source documentation, making it possible to reliably establish what the vertical and horizontal trajectories of the plane looked like, when it was in the closest vicinity of Smolensk airfield, e.g. accredited records of black boxes and also appropriate references to source materials or derivative documents are missing.

In Annex 2.4 no critical discussion of material evidence and its credibility can be found, on the basis of which there are formulated theses and conclusions contained in this document. In particular it is not mentioned that some evidence, as a standard being at the disposal of investigators examining causes of the air catastrophe, were unavailable for the Smolensk case NPW investigators, e.g. records of black boxes or plane wreck fragments itself. There is lack of results of laboratory tests of evidence, e.g. metallographic fractures. Such tests often make it possible to determine unambiguously the character of the fracture, and thus the manner of damage of structural element.

On pages 7-8, part I, Annex 2.4 in section "Proceedings of examination of the plane wreck remains" Podskarbi informs about his personal commitment in collecting material evidence and running analytical works connected with examination of TU-154M plane wreck.

He informs in points 1-3 that he "examined wreck" during 8 days in 2011 (in the period 22- 29th September, 2011) and during 24 days in 2012 (in the period from 29th July till 8th August 2012 and in the period 16-28 September 2012).

This information is simply flippant, as it is not known what investigative actions Podskarbi executed at that time, what was their goal, - and what he managed to achieve as a result of them. No information is available about whatever report or any memo from these Podskarbi's activities, or explanation how his operations were connected with investigation and analysis of the damage of TU-154M plane in Smolensk. In must be pointed out that Podskarbi "examined wreck" not immediately but after 1.5 year and nearly 2.5 after the plane crash, when he acted as an expert on behalf of Chief Military Prosecutor's Office.

Podskarbi lists computer software SceneCase© as technical base used for execution of analytical works. On page 8, part I, Annex 2.4, Podskarbi says:

"... 4/ Examination of materials obtained during the mentioned above stays, I was executing the examination of materials, obtained during the mentioned stays, in Poland with the use of specialized computer software SceneCase Microsoft Windows NT 5.1.2600 Service Pack version 1.0.10305 - 2.0.50727.42. ..."

Information on Podskarbi’s usage of "specialized computer software SceneCase" requires broader commentary. According to information contained in a booklet of SpheronVr company (SceneWorks Brochure, 2014), SceneCase© is not any specialized software but a form of fully interactive Digital File, being actually a form of closed report presenting results of investigative works related to a specific event, and prepared for example for prosecutor office. Physically it is executable file, which can be run on any PC class computer without necessity for pre-installation of any auxiliary software. It is read only "document". Its fundamental advantage, in comparison to traditional not interactive reports, e.g. paper or electronic ones is possibility of virtual "entering the event scene", see e.g. video (Video SceneWorks SceneCenter). Interactive digital file (report) of SceneCase© type can be generated for each interesting for someone event e.g. Smolensk catastrophe. It can be done with the aid of specialized software e.g. SceneWorks© (or SceneWorks©Forensics) developed by SpheronVr company. According to the information given in information booklet on software SceneWorks© (which consists of several working together modules) typical operational use of this software (Use-Case Scenario) consists of three phases: 1. Establishing the case and formulation of investigation directions (Case Setup & test phase), 2. Running the case (Case Live & Operational), 3. Terminating the case (Case End). Mentioned by Podskarbi SceneCase© file is generated only on this third stage for the investigated incident. Thus, subject matter quality of the SceneCase© file, its content, reliability, etc., depends on data introduced into the SceneWorks© software, and in fact on the quality of executed investigative actions. SceneWorks© software is simply a very convenient tool facilitating investigative procedure, and SceneCase© is a form of final report.

When it comes to the issue of using interactive report file of SceneCase© type (read only) generated for Smolensk catastrophe, mentioned by Podskarbi, a number of questions arise: who elaborated interactive document for Smolensk catastrophe case?, when this document was produced?, what data were introduced into the report?, how Podskarbi got this file? Answer to any of these questions cannot be found in Annex 2.4.

In the content of Annex 2.4 there are only two references to interactive report SceneCase© on Smolensk catastrophe. They have the form of two photographs placed in two figures:

- Fig. 22/IV/2.4, on page 39, part II, Annex 2.4,
- Fig. 125/V/2.4, on page 194, part II, Annex 2.4.

In the content of Annex 2.4 no information is available in what other way, than the reproduction of the above indicated two photographs, data and information originating from SceneWorks© software (report SceneCase© on Smolensk catastrophe) has supported the theses and conclusions formulated in Annex 2.4, or how they served in analytical works on examination of the course of Smolensk catastrophe.

It is worth pointing out that if the bodies authorized and obliged to examine the catastrophe in Smolensk (KBWLLP, NPW) had actually used devices and software offered by SpheronVR AG company e.g. ForensicSceneWorks©, at least following the patterns of proceedings, obeying recommendations and instructions given/indicated in the documentation accompanying this software, and executing correctly investigative actions, in order to subsequently effectively do the required research and analytical works, then most probably the course and causes of crash of TU-154M plane in Smolensk would have been precisely established long ago.

As technical base used for execution of analytical works Podskarbi also lists a model of TU- 154M plane in 1:100 scale and a model of wreckage site in the same scale (reading Annex 2.4 one can conclude that by that he meant a photograph of wreckage site in the scale 1:100).

iii) Assessment of correctness of NPW decision to assign Stanisław Podskarbi the task of elaboration of technical report on the course of damage of TU-154M plane in Smolensk, on 10th April 2010, and his consent to undertake this task.

A fundamental difficulty encountered by Stanisław Podskarbi when elaborating Annex 2.4 was lack of results of investigative and research-analytical works – which were correctly executed by a suitable team of experts, embracing immediate inspection of catastrophe site, collection, safeguarding, documenting, analyzing and examination of material evidence, directing of investigative examinations and analyses, execution of structural and laboratory analyses devoted to the problem of identification of the course and causes of damage of the TU-154M plane in Smolensk. Results of such works Podskarbi could not produce such results independently on his own.

In view of complexity of the problem of executing analysis of the course of damage of TU- 154M plane in Smolensk and (after termination of analytical-research works) elaboration of a suitable technical report, assigning such a multidisciplinary task to a single man – Stanisław Podskarbi – poses an act of betrayal of professional trustworthiness by those military prosecutors from Chief Military Prosecutor's Office who took such a decision. Military prosecutors must have realized that Stanisław Podskarbi could not manage to suitably execute such a task. A necessary prerequisite giving grounds for elaboration of a reliable technical report on damage of TU-154M plane in Smolensk, is and was the previous appointment of an investigative-analytical team possessing suitable expert knowledge and technical resources (including testing equipment), and their proper execution of suitable investigative operations (see also section Recommendations in general part of this opinion).

The same kind of betrayal of professional trustworthiness was consent of Stanisław Podskarbi to undertake the task of elaboration of a technical report on the course of damage of TU- 154M plane. He must have been aware that he was not capable of honestly carrying out such a task.

2. Missing section: History of the flight

On page 8, in section 2, chapter 1, part I of Annex 2.4 entitled "Division of the critical flight ..." Podskarbi made a division of the course of the last seconds of TU-154M plane flight near Smolensk into the stages.

Information contained in this section is taken out of any context. It is impossible to assess its credibility due to lack of references to source information, such as logs of the flight recorders (black boxes) or derivative documentation. With such narrative any other scenario given by Podskarbi would be equally justified. The only justification for the division of the last seconds of flight of TU-154M plane into stages, is the statement that the said division corresponds to the division of the flight into examination zones made by FR (Russian Federation) investigators. This information is an indication that Podskarbi could be guided not by his independent assessment but that he simply made the division following the Russian Federation investigators.

Division of the last seconds of flight into stages made in section 2, chapter 1, Annex 2.4 constitutes a foundation for executed by Podskarbi analysis of the course of damage of TU- 154M plane in Smolensk. In accordance with this division Annex 2.4 was divided into chapters, in which direct material evidence. is discussed.

Podskarbi committed here a serious methodological error, because before the course of a catastrophe can be divided into stages or detailed analysis of specific material evidence can be executed, first a section must be written/elaborated, in which a general course of the catastrophe is described. Such a section should be elaborated on the grounds of existing material evidence, black boxes, and testimonies of eyewitnesses, records of radar stations, sketches, maps and photos from satellite and/or post crash inspection flight and any other reliable information derivative or circumferential. It should contain a map of horizontal and vertical trajectory of flight with indication of locations of possible critical for the course of crash events. The section should also present critically discussed material evidence, on the basis of which relevant maps or sketches were made, so that it is possible to assess the credibility of reconstructed trajectories. One should also discuss all impediments in access to material evidence sources, their credibility and other important circumstances, which could have significant influence on the degree of confidence in drawn conclusions regarding the course of catastrophe. For example it is in this section, that the information should be given on: the lack of operational access to TU-154M plane wreck, due to its being detained in Russian Federation and refusal to hand it over to Polish investigators, lack of access to detained in Russian Federation black boxes, and also on existence of several versions of voice recordings from the pilots cockpit of TU-154M plane, etc., etc.

Not until a general description of the course of the accident is worked out that it is possible to elaborate a plan of investigation, and subsequently specification of scope and type of research and analytical works enabling reconstruction of the course of the accident, and identification of its cause(-es).

Lack of "History of the flight" section ,described above, containing suitable maps, situational sketches or post accident photographs makes the factual assessment of the contents of Annex 2.4.practically impossible. The lack of such a section reveals Podskarbi's inexperience in preparing technical reports on analysis of damage of engineering structures or his negligence. It can also indicate his ill will in executing this work.

3. Lack of plan of investigation

Annex 2.4 lacks a chapter devoted to plan of investigation, with formulated investigation hypotheses on detailed course and causes of catastrophe of TU-154M plane in Smolensk. The consequence of the investigation plan would be specification of scope and types of research and analytical works, execution of which would allow for falsification of consecutive most probable hypotheses until reaching the one the falsification of which would prove impossible, or the one whose validity would be supported by collected and properly examined material evidence and information on circumstances of the catastrophe (naturally during investigative proceedings investigation plan evolves, e.g. it is supplemented with new hypotheses on account of inflow of new information). Only application of the described above, well known, investigation procedure would allow establishing in a reliable manner the course, causes of the catastrophe of TU-154M plane in Smolensk and those possibly guilty of the crash. The absence in Annex 2.4 specification of investigation plan, the absence of results of analytical- research actions executed in strict conformance with such a plan, which would allow for rejecting some hypotheses and validation of others as correct, is a serious methodological error.

A very large part of Annex 2.4 in sections entitled "evidence analysis", in chapters: 2, 3, 4 and 5 is occupied by discussions of "evidence". However, these parts of Annex 2.4 deliver merely an impression of chaos and mess, and not reliable description of executed research-analytical operations and discussion of their results. The reason for that is that evidence in these sections is not discussed basing on investigation plan, which would impose: proper logical order of executed analytical-research actions, targeting of investigative proceedings, suitable selection of scope and types of necessary for execution laboratory tests, analyses, computer tests and simulations, etc.

4. Lack of analysis of material evidence allowing for excluding sabotage

The fatal victims of the catastrophe of TU-154M plane in Smolensk were the President of the Republic of Poland and his spouse, the highest rank commanders of the Polish army, the highest rank state officials, and also deputies of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland. Such composition of the plane passengers (death victims of the catastrophe) causes that the first and the most important investigation hypothesis which should be put in the plan of investigation is sabotage on the part of a third party aiming at bringing about a catastrophe. So in the first place, investigative actions should have been undertaken, targeted at excluding this hypothesis, as the cause of the catastrophe or even having influence on its course. Only after collecting relevant material evidence allowing excluding sabotage as the cause of catastrophe - upon executing suitable tests and analyses, one could pass to verification of other most probable hypotheses regarding causes of the catastrophe of TU-154M in Smolensk.

In the case of a catastrophe of a plane with a head of state on board the possibility of a coup should be excluded in the first place (before attention is transferred to examination of other hypotheses).

Annex 2.4 lacks any information on undertaken research-analytical examinations targeted at exclusion of the sabotage hypothesis as the cause of the catastrophe of TU-154M plane in Smolensk. No research actions in this direction were or are undertaken, by official governmental bodies entitled and obliged to carry out investigation into the catastrophe in Smolensk, i.e. either by Committee for Investigation of Aviation Accidents of State Aircrafts – cf. e,g. (Final Report KBWLLP, 2011), or by Chief Military Prosecutor's Office. It happens so, although research results obtained by independent from governmental bodies researchers allowed establishing the presence of explosive materials on the wreck of TU-154M no 101 plane, as well as existence of a number of other clues and circumstantial evidence indicating the possibility of explosive damage of TU-154M no 101 plane with the participation of third parties, cf. e.g. (Szuladziński, 2012), (Kamieńska-Trela, Szymański, 2014), (Witakowski, 2013), (Witakowski, 2014), (Witakowski, 2015), (Gugulski i Misiewicz, 2012), (Misiewicz i Gugulski, 2013), (Gugulski i Misiewicz, 2014), (Nowaczyk, 2014). The information and circumstantial evidence contained in these materials not only do not allow rejection of the hypothesis that the catastrophe occurred as a result of action of third parties as false but they strongly support its validity.

Negligence in taking into account all vital circumstances of the event, lack of discussion of investigative operations, actions and evidence, which allowed excluding sabotage as the cause of the catastrophe in Smolensk, constitutes a serious methodological error of Annex 2.4.

5. Improprieties in citing references (or lack of references) to source of origin of material evidence, among others photographic and tangible evidence

In section 3, chapter I, Part I, Annex 2,4 entitled "Expert opinion, all the partial analyses will be made in accordance with the list of main elements in assembly of airframe and its subassemblies taking into account adopted in the introduction four phases " (on pages 9-10, in part I, Annex 2.4), Podskarbi elucidates the system of labeling that he is using in Annex 2.4 to mark evidence and figures (containing schemes, photographs, sketches, satellite images, maps, and other graphic materials), which in considerable number have been placed in the content of Annex 2.4.

For example system of labeling of tangible evidence is the following:

"...E.g. Dow.2/IV/2.4 – means evidence no 2, from chapter IV, Annex 2.4. ent. "Mechanics of damage of Tu-154M no 101 plane". ...",

whereas system of labeling of figures is as follows:

"...E.g. Rys.2/IV/2.4 – means figure no 2 (or with capital letter – subsequent figure e.g. 2A), from chapter IV, Annex 2.4. ent. " Mechanics of damage of Tu-154M no 101 plane". ...".

Consecutive figures and evidence introduced by Podskarbi in the report are marked in accordance with the defined above system of mnemonics, which in turn serve him to make relevant references to specific evidence and figures in the text of Annex 2.4.

Unfortunately when introducing successive new Figures Podskarbi in the majority of cases does not give the source of this graphic material .This to a large degree makes it difficult or impossible to critically assess the delivered by him in Annex 2.4 opinions. Usually there is no information by whom and when the specific graphic material – drawing, sketch, map, photograph, was prepared or made. There is lack of references to source documentation, from which specific sketch, map or photograph originates. The absence of reference to sources customary means that specific material has been generated by the author of the study. However, in such a case there must be information on vital circumstances in which it came into existence, e.g. date and circumstances of taking the photograph by its author.

Let's take a look for example at the first two figures in Annex 2.4 designated with symbols: Rys.1/I/2.4 and Rys.2/I/2.4. Podskarbi does not give information on their origin, which would suggest that he is their author. However, upon closer inspection of these figures one can notice that they have been borrowed from MAK Committee report. These are parts of Figure 35 on page 87, cf. (Final report MAK, 2011).

Let's take a look at the next two photographs: Rys. 3/I/2.4 and Rys. 4/I/2.4. Again it is not known, who made these figures (photos), from where they originate, and the state of the plane on which day they depict, etc., etc.

Glaring negligence in factual description of graphic materials contained in Annex 2.4 concerns the majority of figures included in this report. Some figures are provided with information about their authors, but mostly when they were personally made by Podskarbi. Sometimes additional textual information is given, allowing guessing from where the graphic materials originate.

Information on the origin of evidence is generally provided in Annex 2.4, but – as it has been indicated at the beginning of this opinion, the manner of quoting references to source materials is far from being uniform and coherent. In the case of giving sources of information on evidence (Dow...) Podskarbi in the majority of cases refers to evidence gathered by investigators of Russian Federation ( most often without specifying when and in what circumstances they were found/registered) and to the report of MAK Committee (MAK Final Report, 2011). There exist only a few references to other evidence from the catastrophe site, and then the information on the evidence is usually incomplete, e.g. no date of taking the photo of the item of evidence is given.

This is the most probable consequence of fundamental nonfeasance and errors, which have been made by governmental bodies of Polish Republic appointed and obliged to run examinations and investigations on catastrophe of TU-154M plane in Smolensk. Namely, nonfeasance in executing by Polish investigators basic operational activities directly and immediately after the catastrophe consisting in independent, comprehensive inspection of catastrophe site, which would include making of photographic and video documentation from the crash site, safeguarding of material evidence, samples, etc., etc.

Nearly exclusive reference to material evidence collected by investigators of Russian Federation and those discussed in MAK report, despite existence of other sources of information on the catastrophe, indicates that such a choice of evidence by Podskarbi without their critical discussion, could have significant influence on the final shape and opinions formulated in Annex 2.4, i.e. technical report on the course of damage of TU-154M plane. This could also indicate that the report was not elaborated in an unbiased manner. It is incomprehensible why Podskarbi does not discuss or does not make references – except one case mentioned below – to evidence found and documented in so called Report of archeologists, in spite of the fact that these documents make up volumes 207, 208, 209 of the records of case Po. Śl. 54/10, cf. (Archaeologists report, 2010). Polish archeologists executed much more diligent and comprehensive inspection of the catastrophe site in Smolensk than MAK Commission did, although unfortunately only in October 2010, i.e. only half a year after the catastrophe. The number of items of material evidence of TU-154M plane wreck found and documented in Polish archaeologists report reaches tens of thousands, and not only several dozen as it is the case in MAK final report. Attaching an additional page – 22A to part II of Annex 2.4 with the sole reference to results of work of Polish archaeologists cannot even be treated as cursory discussion. It is not known when, by whom and why page 22A was added to Annex 2.4. And this information is important in as much as it is on this page that we find archeologists` information that the fragments of the plane found 20-30 m from Kutuzow road, i.e. before the plane crashing to the ground "... were strongly burnt and bore numerous traces of soot ..."

English language translation: [...] surface. Fragments found at a distance of 20-30 m from the road were severely burnt and bore numerous traces of soot. Some fragments found at the road, under big trees, did not bear traces of machining. They were fragments with sharp edges, broken and bent, most probably due to contact with trees. The above observations should be confronted with an opinion of expert in airplane catastrophes in order to [...]

Let us remind that in accordance with the scenario of the course of catastrophe given by Podskarbi in Annex 2.4, the plane over this area was still an integrated structure flying in the air, damaged only by the collision with the birch. How therefore, in accordance with this narration, can one explain finding in this location heavily burnt and scorched fragments of the airplane structure?

There are many more signs of no execution and negligence by Podskarbi in his discussing events vital for the course of the catastrophe in Smolensk. For example, worth mentioning is the lack of analysis of the logging of TAWS #38 event, when the plane was still in the air. In standard flight conditions TAWS #38 event would have signaled landing of the plane (loading the airfield apron with weight of the plane). The consequence of the above negligence is lack in Annex 2.4 even an attempt to answer the question; why TAWS #38 event was logged, while actually the plane after all did not land?

The described above practices during elaboration of Annex 2.4 constitute a serious methodological error disqualifying Annex 2.4, as a reliable technical report. Basing on the reading of Annex 2.4 it is impossible to make an assessment of credibility of discussed there material or photographic evidence.

Another evidence indicating lack of due diligence of Stanisław Podskarbi in elaborating Annex 2.4 is also the content of section B, chapter I, part I, Annex 2.4 (pages 3-37) entitled: "GENERAL CHACTERISTICS OF THE OBJECT OF EXAMINATION - TU-154M PLANE AND ITS SUBASSEMBLIES (AS INTRODUCTION TO THE ANALYSIS OF MECHANICS OF STRUCTURAL DAMAGE)."

Podskarbi does not explain why he is giving in this section general technical information (in fact marketing one) concerning TU-154M.model. The source of the information contained in this section is unknown, as no reference to original materials is given. Podskarbi should have given in this section data specific for the discussed by him instance of TU-154M plane (also general data) originating from technical documentation of the TU-154M No 101 plane (with indication of the suitable source documentation), and relevant for examination of the damage of TU-154M plane in Smolensk. Providing information of the kind:

"... In accordance with Polish requirements at the purchase of the plane a passenger cabin was ordered with an option of its rearrangement for different variants:

- variant for 87-90 passengers;
- variant for 120 passengers;
- variant for 150 passengers. ..." is simply bizarre.

From this information it is not known for example how many passenger seats were in the TU- 154M No 101 plane when it was crashing in Smolensk.

Podskarbi should have given information about factual state of TU-154M No 101 plane after its main overhaul in Russia, and preferably about its state just before departure for Smolensk, with reference to reliable sources of such data.

In section C, chapter I, part I, Annex 2.4 (pages 38-50) entitled: "EXERPT FROM EXPERT OPINION OF ATM COMPANY ON LOGGED PARAMETERS OF FLIGHT BY ATM QAR RECORDER.", Podskarbi delivers data only in a tabular form. Data in such a form without transforming them into graphical form are inconvenient for analysis. Once more in section C of Annex 2.4 there is no reference to source material, indicating from where the specified tabular data originate – who recovered these data, when?

Specification of data on flight path parameters only in the tabular form, without its transformation into graphical form, is a sheer misunderstanding. From tabular data it is difficult to draw any conclusions or notice any regularities/trends. This is the reason why it is a common standard in scientific papers or technical reports to elaborate graphs (tabular data are treated usually as supplementary information enabling more precise analysis only after noticing general trends).

6. Concealment of irregularities in examination of crash of TU-154M plane in Smolensk and other issues

In Annex 2.4 no critical discussion is present on investigation procedures, (not-) executed operations, research and analytical works, or laboratory analyses applied by Polish investigators in their examination of TU-154M plane crash in Smolensk. As it was earlier indicated Polish investigators did not independently execute elementary activities, which are required during investigation of engineering catastrophes, such as: independent, immediate inspection of the catastrophe site embracing: making out of photographic and video documentation, protection of material evidence, taking and safeguarding samples for possible laboratory examinations, interrogation of eyewitnesses, making orientation sketches etc., etc. There exist further procedural improprieties, such as: not making out of careful wreckage site inventory, Lack of analytical works on the course of damage of the plane structure, lack of results of many laboratory tests – necessary to be carried out in view of available information on the crash. Concealments, lack of discussion on unavailability (for whatever reasons) of basic evidence materials, such as black boxes or wreck of the plane, call into question credibility of opinions and assessments contained in Annex 2.4. No information is given that fragments/remains of the plane on the wreckage site were relocated and damaged (by the Russian side). No information is given that the report by Committee for Investigation of Aviation Accidents of State Aircraft (Miller Commission) concealed information vital for the course of damage of TU-154M plane in Smolensk, i.e. registration of event TAWS #38 by flight management system (FMS), cf. (KBWLP, 2011) and (Gugulski, Misiewicz, 2012). No discussion is present in Annex 2.4 of serious premises indicating the possibility of explosive damage of the plane. For example Figure 1a) shows a photo of large bottom fragment of TU- 154M No 101 plane fuselage located between centerwing and tail. This fragment was found on the wreckage site burst open in top part along longitudinal axis of the fuselage, in upside down position with both boards unfolded outside, cf. (Gugulski, Misiewicz, 2012). Such picture of damage makes a strong premise indicating that this fragment of the plane fuselage was explosively destroyed when the plane was in the air, and subsequently – only after both boards managed to unfold fully outside – fell on the ground. Arrows in Figure 1b) show kinematic mechanism of damage of a fragment of TU-154M plane fuselage as a result of its bursting open along longitudinal axis and unfolding of such formed both boards outside. Fragment shown in Figure 1b) was identified, as part of right board of TU-154M plane fuselage neighboring Presidential room, cf. page 102 in (Gugulski, Misiewicz, 2014). Such a manner of damage is characteristic for damage of thin walled pressure vessels,

Large bottom fragment of TU-154M fuselage - part between centerwing and tail (frames 40- 64), which after bursting open in top part along longitudinal axis of the fuselage when plane was in the air, fell on the ground bottom up with both sides unfolded outside, photo after Figure on page 140 in (Gugulski, Misiewicz, 2012) report

Above: Fig. a

Fragment of right board of front part of TU-154M plane fuselage wreck with elements of Presidential room, after Figure on page 102 in (Gugulski, Misiewicz, 2014) report, cf. also (Szuladziński, 2012). Upper part of the board with inscription „Republic of Poland” unfolded outside. Arrows indicate kinematic mechanism of damage, and the insert shows general scheme of fragmentation of the front part of fuselage.

Above: Fig. b.

Fig. 1. a) Large bottom fragment of TU-154M fuselage - part between centerwing and tail (frames 40- 64), which after bursting open in top part along longitudinal axis of the fuselage when plane was in the air, fell on the ground bottom up with both sides unfolded outside, photo after Figure on page 140 in (Gugulski, Misiewicz, 2012) report, b) Fragment of right board of front part of TU-154M plane fuselage wreck with elements of Presidential room, after Figure on page 102 in (Gugulski, Misiewicz, 2014) report, cf. also (Szuladziński, 2012). Upper part of the board with inscription „Republic of Poland” unfolded outside. Arrows indicate kinematic mechanism of damage, and the insert shows general scheme of fragmentation of the front part of fuselage.

in which excessive pressure occurred. In a plane the most probable source for occurrence of pressure impulse of this strength in passenger space of the plane fuselage is strong explosion.

Indicated in Figure 1b) manner of damage cannot be brought about by strike of the plane into the ground as integrated structure. When a structure such as passenger plane strikes the ground bending stresses arise in the fuselage, and after exceeding critical bending stresses there takes place breaking of the fuselage in the direction perpendicular to its longitudinal axis, cf. also (Szuladziński, 2012).

In Annex 2.4 Podskarbi does not mention the presence of deformation features in TU-154M structural elements, which clearly indicate possibility of the plane explosive damage – cf. Fig. 1. These features are in obvious manner inconsistent with presented in Annex 2.4 scenario of the course of TU-154M plane damage in Smolensk. In Annex 2.4 a discussion is completely passed over; why immediately after the crash no samples were taken and protected from these fragments of the plane wreck, which clearly indicated – due to their deformation features – possibility of their explosive damage.

The absence in Annex 2.4 of critical discussion of adopted investigation procedures for examination of Smolensk catastrophe, absence of response to committed irregularities in the execution of investigative actions, and also concealment of material evidence incompatible with presented in this document scenario of the course of plane damage constitute a serious methodological error of this document.

It is also instrumental to indicate the presence of serious procedural flaw of Annex 2.4. Supplied to the author of the present opinion electronic file of part I of Annex 2.4 has 264 pages, but regular pagination is in the range 1-275. Page numbering in this document is not uniform and looks as follows: 1-40, (page 41 is missing), 42-61, 61A, 62-64, 64A, 65, 65A, 65B, 65C, 66-69, 69A, 70-119, (pages 120-136 are missing), 137-203, 203A, 204-275. Supplied to the author of the present opinion electronic file of part II of Annex 2.4 has 228 pages, but regular pagination is in the range 1-213. Page numbering in this document is not uniform and looks as follows: 1-22, 22A, 22B, 23, 23A, 24-61, 61A, 61B, 62-66, 66A, 67-71, 71A, 71B, 72, 73, 73A, 74-109, 109A, 110-184, 184A, 184B, 184C, 185-196, 196A, 197-213. The shortcoming indicated above connected with page numbers of Annex 2.4 contravenes elementary rules concerning elaboration of technical reports in particular expert opinions used as evidence in court cases. Acceptance of "mixed" numbering of pages would enable any changes in the report content, and in that way e.g. total distortion of its original meaning. If at a later time it proved necessary to supplement Annex 2.4 then it should have taken the form of an annex attached to the original report.

In view of already indicated above fundamental flaws, errors and methodological deficiencies of Annex 2.4, content of chapters II-VI of Annex 2.4 will not be discussed in detail.

Indicated errors and deficiencies of Annex 2.4 justify the general opinion, as elucidated in the beginning of this document. Evident from the content of Annex 2.4 absence of material evidence in support for expressed in it theses and opinions justifies the necessity of executing analysis/reconstruction of the last seconds of TU-154M no 101 plane near Smolensk North airfield on 10th of April 2010 by a competent team of experts, as it is indicated in recommendations section.

Only when the results of the honest investigation are known, will it be possible to elaborate a reliable and credible technical report on the course of damage of TU-154M No 101 plane (serial number 90A 837). Such a report must be consistent with material evidence, circumstantial information, laws of physics and scientific methodology.

Written by: D. Sc. Andrzej Ziółkowski


1. Falkowski P., Expert witness novices, Nasz dziennik, 4th October 2013 (in Polish), http://www.naszdziennik.pl/polska-kraj/55735,biegli-debiutanci.html

2. Final Report on the investigation of air accident of Tu154M registration number 101 of the 10. Republic of Poland, Moscow, 2011, Interstate Aviation Committee, Moscow, 2011, pp. 1- 184, (MAK Final Report, 2011). See here.

3. Committee for Investigation of Aviation Accidents of State Aircrafts (KBWLLP), Final report on examination of air incident no 192/2010/11 of Tu-154M no 101 plane, which occurred on 10th of April 2010 near Smolensk North airfield, Warsaw, 2011, pp. 1-328 (in Polish), (KBWLLP Final Report, 2011).

4. SceneWorks Brochure, Visual Crime Scene Documentation and Workflow Management, SceneWorks©Forensics, SpheronVr, April 2014, pp. 1-4, http://assets-production.govstore.service.gov.uk/G5/1849/5.G5.1849.004/QD1/Service_Definition_for%20 GC5%20%20SPHERON-VR.pdf

5. Wideo SceneWorks SceneCenter, firmy SpheronVR AG, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtQ8FBKyeZk

6. Szuladziński G., Report No. 456, Selected technical-structural aspects of Smolensk catastrophe, May, 2012, Analytical Service Pty Ltd, Australia, pp. 1-32 (in Polish). https://sites.google.com/site/smolenskdoc/.

7. Kamieńska Trela K., Szymański S., Opinion concerning methodological correctness of executed chromatographic analyses and their interpretations, clarity and completeness of the Opinion of Central Criminological Laboratory of Police in Warsaw nr E-che 90/1, June, 2014, http://www.smolenskcrashnews.com/pdf/explosives/chemical_analysis_report.pdf

8. Witakowski P. (Ed.), Proceedings of I Smolensk Conference, 22.10.2012 Warsaw, March 2013, pp. 1-188, http://www.konferencja.home.pl.

9. Witakowski P. (Ed.), Proceedings of II Smolensk Conference, 21-22.10.2013 Warsaw, August 2014, pp. 1-392, http://www.konferencja.home.pl.

10. Witakowski P. (Ed.), Proceedings of III Smolensk Conference, 20.10.2014 Warsaw, May 2015, pp. 1-196, http://www.konferencja.home.pl.

11. Gugulski M., Misiewicz B. (Eds), Report: 28 months after Smolensk, Polish Parliamentary Committee for the investigation of the Tu-154M crash in Smolensk, Russia on April 10th , 2010, August 2012, Warsaw, pp. 1-169 (in Polish). See english language excerpt here.

12. Misiewicz B., Gugulski M. (Eds), Smolensk report actual state of knowledge, second corrected Edition, May 2013, Warsaw, pp. 1-130 (in Polish).

13. Gugulski M, Misiewicz B. "Four years after Smolensk, how died President of Poland", April 2014, Warsaw, pp. 1-204 (in Polish).

14. Nowaczyk K., Vladimir Putin's Russian Government Inquiry into the Crash of The Polish Air Force One in Smolensk, Russia, 2014, Publishing House: Rejtan Sp. z o.o ISBN: 978-83- 933564-7-8, pp. 1-42 (in Polish).

15. Report of archeologist, 2010;

- Volume 207, records of case Po. Śl. 54/10, Field examination of wreckage site of TU-154M near Smolensk with use of methods applied in archeology. Final report, Institute of Archeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, 2010. pp. 1-366 (in Polish),

- Volume 208, records of case Po. Śl. 54/10, Misiewicz K. Assessment of possibilities for application of geophysical methods in examination of Smolensk wreckage site, pp. 1-404 (in Polish);

- Volume 209, records of case, Po. Śl. 54/10, Catalog of finds, pp. 1-147 (in Polish); http://www.smolenskzespol.sejm.gov.pl/smolenskzespol.nsf/dokumenty.xsp (tom_207.pdf, tom_208.pdf, tom_209.pdf).

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Smolensk Spectrometer Screen Dumps

Click on the thumbnails below to view screen dumps from the detectors used to examine the wreckage and seats from the Polish president's plane crash in Smolensk. An "X" denotes the presence of the detected explosive substance and its type. The underlined Polish word "Probka" or "probka" in the screen dump 1 and 2, means "Sample"

Explosives detected on the wreckage and seats from the Polish president's plane crash in Smolensk. An "X" denotes the presence of the detected explosive substance and its type. The underlined Polish word "Probka" or "probka" in the screen dump 1 and 2, means "Sample" - SCREEN DUMP 1 Explosives detected on the wreckage and seats from the Polish president's plane crash in Smolensk. An "X" denotes the presence of the detected explosive substance and its type. The underlined Polish word "Probka" or "probka" in the screen dump 1 and 2, means "Sample" - SCREEN DUMP 2
Explosives detected on the wreckage and seats from the Polish president's plane crash in Smolensk. An "X" denotes the presence of the detected explosive substance and its type. The underlined Polish word "Probka" or "probka" in the screen dump 1 and 2, means "Sample" - SCREEN DUMP 3 Explosives detected on the wreckage and seats from the Polish president's plane crash in Smolensk. An "X" denotes the presence of the detected explosive substance and its type. The underlined Polish word "Probka" or "probka" in the screen dump 1 and 2, means "Sample" - SCREEN DUMP 4
Why did they all fly on the same plane?
Why was the Polish government delegation flying to Smolensk onboard a single aircraft?

Synopsis: January 12, 2013, Toronto, Canada. The wife of the late Deputy-Minister of Culture Tomasz Merta: "What I am about to tell you now, are suspicions - and not even my own - but, rather the [suspicions of the] individuals in the inner-circles of the [Polish] military... I heard a statement that was made - but, I am not taking any responsibility for how credible, or not credible it is. [I heard that] had the generals and journalists' not been re-assigned to different aircraft, it wouldn't have been the Tupolev [Tu-154M], but rather the Casa [transport aircraft] that would have been taken out.

Because the Generals were no longer onboard the Casa, there was no reason for it to get airborne. And for this reason it was the Yak[-40] that flew off to Smolensk. This Casa [transport aircraft] was never examined in any way. It was not subject to any examination. Aside from a single note in the deposition given to the military, no one was interested why this aircraft didn't fly [to Smolensk]. Perhaps, this is someones crazy phantasy, but perhaps it isn't.

Some [Polish] military personnel had suggested, that it [the Casa] had to stay behind at the Okecie military [tarmack], so that the explosives could be removed from it - because they were no longer needed [...] I am only repeating what I was told."

Smolensk Explosives

Types of explosives detected on the president's crashed jet:

C-4 is a common variety of the plastic explosive known as Composition C. Plastic explosive is a soft and hand moldable solid form of explosive material. Within the field of explosives engineering, plastic explosives are also known as putty explosives.

TNT (TriNitroToluene) is a chemical compound with the formula CH3C6H2(NO2)3. This yellow-colored solid is sometimes used as a reagent in chemical synthesis, but it is best known as a useful explosive material with convenient handling properties. The explosive yield of TNT is considered to be the standard measure of strength of bombs and other explosives. TNT is one of the most commonly used explosives for military and industrial applications. It is valued partly because of its insensitivity to shock and friction, which reduces the risk of accidental detonation, compared to other more sensitive high explosives such as nitroglycerin.

RDX (abbr.. Research Department Explosive) is an explosive nitroamine widely used in military and industrial applications. In its pure, synthesized state RDX is a white, crystalline solid. It is often used in mixtures with other explosives and plasticizers, phlegmatizers or desensitizers. RDX is stable in storage and is considered one of the most powerful and brisant of the military high explosives. HMX, also called octogen, is a powerful and relatively insensitive nitroamine high explosive, chemically related to RDX. Like RDX, the compound's name is the subject of much speculation, having been variously listed as High Melting eXplosive, Her Majesty's eXplosive, High-velocity Military eXplosive, or High-Molecular-weight rdX.

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