Dr. Wacław Berczyński, Ph.D., to lead Polish Government’s Smolensk Crash Investigation
SCND: February 3, 2016
Dr. Wacław Berczyński, Ph.D., Boeing’s retired Senior Principal Engineer [E6], to lead Polish Government’s Smolensk Crash Investigation.
Dr. Wacław Berczyński, a long-time expert of the Polish Parliamentary Committee tasked with the investigation of the Smolensk crash will head the Subcommittee of the Commission for Investigation of National Aviation Accidents (KBWLLP) tasked with re-examination of the tragic April 10, 2010 air crash that killed the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski and all 95 passengers onboard.
As announced by the Ministry of Defense (MOD), on February 4, 2016, the MOD Minister Antoni Macierewicz is to sign an amendment to the regulation on organization and operation of the KBWLLP. The amendment provides a mechanism for the establishment of a sub-committees to investigate the Smolensk crash, and determines the appointment procedure and composition of this subcommittee.
The amended regulation includes the provision that the Minister of Defense has the right to resume the investigation of an accident or incident, "when newly revealed facts or evidence could have a significant impact on their cause." To date such decisions were made by the KBWLLP’s chairman. The head of MOD’s Inspectorate for Flight Safety automatically became a chairman of KBWLLP. This arrangement is also subject to change, whereby the head of the KBWLLP will be appointed by the Minister of Defense. The new regulation also provides that the Minister of Defense can appoint a sub-committee to re-examine the causes of the tragedy within the framework of KBWLLP.
As learned by PAP (Polish Press Agency) from government sources, the KBWLLP Subcommittee on Smolensk crash investigation will be led by former expert-member of the Parliamentary Committee, Dr. Wacław Berczyński, Ph.D.
In the reports of the Parliamentary Committee Dr. Berczyński is described as an experienced and seasoned military-aeronautics engineer with Boeing Corporation (from where he retired as a Senior Principal Engineer) and NASA, as well as advisor to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the US Department of Defense. He was assistant professor at the University of Concordia in Montreal. He also worked as an expert in the design with the Canadair (now Bombardier). His specialty is in fracture of composite materials.
70-year-old Berczyński is a graduate of the Technical University of Lodz, where he worked since 1969 at the Faculty of Technical Mechanics. He also studied mathematics at the University of Lodz. In 1978, he defended his doctoral dissertation in the area of the finite element method. In 2002, he completed a multi-disciplinary engineering studies at the University of Southern California. While at the Technical University of Lodz, Berczyński was also the co-founder of the “Solidarity" Trade Union at the university.
In February of 2013, along with three other scientists cooperating with the parliamentary committee on Smolensk crash investigation - Gregory Szuladziński, Wieslaw Binienda, and Kazimierz Nowaczyk - he received the title of Man of the Year from Poland’s influential Gazeta Polska (eng. “Polish Gazette”).
Berczyński took part in several scientific conferences devoted to the examination of the crash organized by the Parliamentary Committee. In October of 2012, when other scientists associated with the committee said that the explosion is the only logical explanation for the Smolensk crash, Berczyński said that the destruction occurred in the hull, while the rear part of the aircraft was separated under high pressure, and the wing was damaged as a result of the enormous internal pressure.
In February of 2013, Berczyński addressed in turn the issue to the rippled ad ruptured rivets. In his view, there had to be enormous pressure inside the aircraft to cause such damage.
“The picture that emerges from the presented papers, is quite clear. It indicates that the hypothesis saying that the Tu-154 plane near Smolensk on April 10, 2010 lost a piece of wing due to the collision with a birch and then disintegrated completely after hitting the ground (catastrophe type 1A) - - this hypothesis is entirely false. There is the irrefutable evidence that the plane disintegrated in the air and its fragments fell to the ground separately (catastrophe type 2B). The surface of the ground represents a kind of book in which the course of the catastrophe is registered. The appearance of the fragments as well as their distribution on the ground and upon the terrain obstacles are documented in thousands of pictures and videos taken by many independent operators. This huge documentation shows, both as a whole and in detail, that the laws of physics rule out the course of events presented in the reports of the MAK Commission and of the Miller Commission. It is clear to anybody, even to those without any knowledge of mechanics, that the fuselage resting on the Smolensk airport was torn, not compressed (...) “
The Organizing Committee and the Scientific Committee of the 2nd Smolensk Conference
Smolensk crash was initially investigated by the KBWLLP in 2010-2011. At the time it was headed by the then head of the Ministry of Interior Jerzy Miller. In its July 2011 Report, the Miller Commission determined that the cause of the crash was the descent below the minimum altitude, that led to the collision of the Polish Air Force One with trees, leading to a gradual disintegration of the airframe of the Tu-154M. At the time, the Miller’s Commission emphasized that neither audio recorders nor flight data supported the hypothesis of the explosion on board the aircraft.
Beginning in July 2010, the current Minister of Defense, led the Parliamentary Committee set to investigate the causes of the crash of the Tu-154 near Smolensk. The last, April 2015 Report published by the Parliamentary Committee, states that the probable cause of the crash was a series of explosions, among others, in the left wing, the fuselage, and the presidential compartment. Earlier Minister Macierewicz maintained that the cause and circumstances of the crash present more questions than answers.
“The responsibility by this crash rests with the government led by Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin,” Macierewicz stated in March 2015 before the European Parliament in Brussels. He also said that "what happened in Smolensk on April 10, 2010 was neither an accident, nor was it caused by errors or bad will of the pilots," but it was “an operation that was in the making for a long time.”
The investigation into the causes of the crash is also conducted by the Military District Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw; it was recently extended to April 10, 2016.
April 10, 2010 crash of the Polish Air Force One, TU-154M near Smolensk, Russia, resulted in the death of all 96 people onboard, including President Lech Kaczynski and his wife and the top echelon of the Polish State. The Polish delegation was flying to take part in the commemorative ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn genocide of the spring of 1940 by the USSR.
From the Editor's Desk: A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption.
In 2007, a group of law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear.
From the Editor's Desk: A chilling and unflinching portrait of one of the most fearsome figures in world politics.
In 1999, the “Family” surrounding Boris Yeltsin went looking for a successor to the ailing and increasingly unpopular president. Vladimir Putin, with very little governmental or administrative experience - he’d been deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, and briefly, director of the secret police - nevertheless seemed the perfect choice: a “faceless” creature whom Yeltsin and his cronies could mold in their own image. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see in him the progressive leader of their dreams - even as Putin, with ruthless efficiency, dismantled the country’s media, wrested control and wealth from the business class, and destroyed the fragile mechanisms of democracy.
From the Editor's Desk: "Blowing Up Russia" contains the allegations of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko against his former spymasters in Moscow which led to his being murdered in London in November 2006. In the book he and historian Yuri Felshtinsky detail how since 1999 the Russian secret service has been hatching a plot to return to the terror that was the hallmark of the KGB.
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Already during the first night of the crash, the Russians were removing the most important pieces of evidence from the crash site, that is, the remains of the Polish President’s Tupolev, TU-154M. Parts of the aircraft were transported away without any prior planning, and some of them were purposefully destroyed. Read more here
"Russian Image Management"
The trip to Smolensk was expected to highlight Russia finally admitting culpability in the massacre, after long having blamed it on the Germans, an atrocity they had tried to conceal for over 70 years.
As for the reception committee, it had different ideas. Putin wasn’t looking forward to such an occasion. Into this poisonous reception brew was President Kaczynski’s well-known public criticism of Moscow and Putin, a habit that has ended the lives of others within Russia – and abroad. A few discouraging Russian requirements – that Kaczynski could not attend in any official capacity – did not halt the Poles. Kaczynski would go anyway on non-official, “personal” business. To Russians, such a distinction would be meaningless, not lessening the possible international excoriation of such an event. A problem ripe for a modern, Russian solution: a tragic, ‘natural’ accident.
World-renowned forensic pathologist goes on the record: "I have been doing autopsies for 50 years, and I've investigated more than fifteen, twenty airplane crashes […] I've been in countries all over the world where families think that the government is hiding something. Whether it is Zimbabwe or Israel, or Philippines, the government may not like an outside person checking to make sure they got it right. [But,] they never interfered with that. The family, the next of kin, always has the right to do what the wishes of the family are. In the 21st century, the body of the dead person no longer belongs to the state. It belongs to the family. So, it is unusual - something that I have never experienced before - where the government [of Poland] has not permitted the famil[ies]" to conduct independent forensic examinations of their loved ones' remains [...] I've never heard of a body coming back to a country and the family being unable to open up a casket. I've never heard of the family not being able to get an autopsy… Read more here
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