An Authorization – what the Miller’s Commission forgot about
Written by Marek Dabrowski
SCND April 13, 2015
Some portions of the Miller’s Report - the ones that “were to hurt the most” - were the arrangements in relation to authorizations and admittances to flight of Tupolev crew. In the text below, the authors analyze a small extract of very broad spectrum of problems discussed by KBWLLP and they attempt to verify some specific arguments of the Commission raised in the report and its Annexes.
Conduct of the Pilot’s Checkride (KTP)
Miller’s report, page 19/328, states:
The pilot obtained the following ratings and qualifications:
1) to fly as Commander of Tu-154M by daylight and at night under IMC1 according to IFR2 (Order no. Z-137/2008 pt 3 of 15.07.2008 and Order no. Z-173/2008 pt 4 of 4.09.2008)
An Annex 1 to military protocol, page 8/97, states:
Commission ascertained that, during commander training on planes Jak-40 as well as Tu-154M, the pilot had not once been controlled during flight to the zone as a commander of an aircraft (no entries on conducting such a control in chapter 6 of “Personal daily register of flights”)
“Zone / trial flight control III category”, the way it is described in the table, cannot be accepted and treated as conducting of pilot’s checkride.
Major Arkadiusz Protasiuk was the commander of Tu-154M crew (PIC) from 15th July 2008 and the pilot’s checkride (KTP) took place 5 months after he was granted these authorizations – that being 10th December 2008 in Moscow. That is why the Pilot’s Checkride should be treated as KTP of aircraft commander.
According to available data, during one flight there took place the pilot’s Checkride and trial flight III category, defined in paragraph 2 of Instruction on Trial Flights Organization in the Aviation the Armed Forces for the Republic of Poland (IOLP-2005), as a flight the aircraft which possesses a document authorizing the flight and taking place upon replacement of elements that require control during the flight.
The regulations from two different acts (regulations in PAF Flight Regulations RL-2006 and IOLP-2005) were consequently interpreted by the Commission to the disadvantage of the pilot and as a result, his Pilot’s Checkride was rejected, and finally the fundamental charge of lack of commander authorizations for Tu-154M crew of major Arkadiusz Protasiuk was stated. It has to result with a charge of conducting the illegal flights, including VIP, in the capacity of crew commander, for over a year and a half – with the knowledge and acceptance of his superiors.
However KBWLLP ignored the rule of paragraph 7 point 7 IOLP-2005, that allows the merging of elements of trial flight and elements included in pilot’s training:
If the elements designed for training program are included in the conducted program of trial flight, the decision of accepting the trial flight as a part of individual training plan for a particular pilot, lies with his immediate superior.
Therefore IOLP-2005 did not exclude the possibility of combining the tasks of various type during one flight, especially that according to PSzLT-733, control of piloting technique shall include (among others) standard maneuvers such as: start, climbing to zone, in zone: full turns with banks of 15 and 30 degrees, spiral flight,straight level flight and turns with the use of automatic pilot as well as entering the circle and descending to land.
KBWLLP did not disclose if the superior of major Protasiuk – commander of squadron – took the decision on including the part of the flight in Moscow in the individual training plan as a control of piloting technique. Without receiving an unequivocal denying answer to this question and discussing the issue of pilot’s checkride in full context of regulations from 2008, the conclusions of the Commission are unfounded and the fact if the trial flight could be accepted for the pilot does not influence this conclusion.
In the Annex 1 to military protocol, page 8/97, KBWLLP additionally argued:
Zone / trial flight control III category, as is described in the table, cannot be accepted and treated as the performance of Pilot’s Checkride, either because the pilot performed this flight from the right seat (on the base of entries from the individual daily record of flights as well as squadron register of flights).
Major Protasiuk was controlled from the right seat when he already was the commander of an aircraft and contradictory to the statements of Commission, it was in line with the quoted below rules of paragraph 15.3 from RL-2006 flight regulations:
The commander of an aircraft with multi person crew that is not an instructor, is obliged to perform one of controls listed in table 3 from the seat of F/O.
He was obliged to complete subsequent controls of piloting technique within 24 months from the last control, that is 10th December 2010.
However, the Commission ignored the possibility of performing Pilot’s Checkride of an aircraft commander from the right seat, entirely withholding information on existence of paragraph 15.3 of RL-2006 flights regulations, which indicates that such a KTP is not only not forbidden, but required.
There is no doubt however, that KBWLLP was fully aware of above mentioned regulation. It is confirmed by the entries on the page 96/328 of the report and page 34/73 of Annex 2 to military protocol, where it is quoted, but solely in the context of poor security of flights postulated by the Commission. Therefore, ignoring it in the part of the report relating to Pilot’s Checkride of major Protasiuk was done purposefully. For reasons unknown, the Commission used the unwarranted mental shortcut, that can be interpreted as if only F/O could be controlled from the right seat. It is not true in the light of the quoted regulations.
Based on the above facts one has to unequivocally challenge the arguments presented in the report and resulting in one of the main conclusions of the Commission:
On 10th April 2010 the pilot did have the right authorizations to perform flights as the commander of Tu-154M plane (Miller’s report, page 21/328)
This conclusion raises the issue of Pilot’s Checkride being performed from the F/O seat as supposedly in contradiction to the procedures. The Commission interpreted the events to the disadvantage of the pilot they are accusing and ignored regulations of RL-2006.
LACK OF APPROACHES AUTHORIZATION ACCORDING TO ILS ON 10th APRIL 2010
In the Annex to military protocol page 6/97 we read as follows:
On 11th February 2010, during landing performed in BRUSSELS (4:16 LT, 3:16 UTC), weather conditions (WC) registered – on grounds of the pilot’s personal documentation and squadron register of flights – did not match the actual conditions described above. In the light of the above, even if the pilot had actual minimal conditions (MC), in presence of actual conditions described above, he could not have extended these authorizations.
One of the landings in conditions similar to minimal conditions (MC) was performed by the pilot during the night of 10th November in Warsaw Okecie (EPWA).This was confirmed by the Commission, in a simplified manner basing it on analysis of METARs from that period of time. Authorization to landing based on the landing in Minimal Conditions should be valid for 4 months.
It is not clear, why KBWLLP solely focused on extortionate Weather Conditions for landing in Brussels, additionally conducting misinterpretation of facts (Annex 1 page 3/97):
In the analyzed year 2010, the pilot did not perform a single training flight on Tu-154M and Jak-40 – lack of evidence for appropriate exercises’ numbers in squadron evidence of flights – column “Number of exercise for pilot”. “Personal daily record of flights” for that pilot does not contain any entry relating to flights performed in 2010.
However, a month before landing in Brussels, on 4th January 2010, major Protasiuk performed training flight in Tu-154M in Okecie and that fact was entirely withheld by the Commission. During that flight, there were (among other things) two landing approaches conducted . The flight was partially performed visually (VFR) and partially based on readings of instruments (IFR). The IFR part of flight lasted 2 hours. If it is possible, it shall be independently verified what exercises based on PSzLT-733 were then performed as their numbers were not entered in the documentation. But the fact that the flight was performed in relatively good weather conditions, in opinion of the authors strongly support the thesis that major Protasiuk partially trained in covered cabin and that the part of that training was an landing approach in simulated condition,s accepted by RL-2006, in order to sustain authorization for landings ILS category I during the day as the PIC and F/O.
Thus it is not true as stated by the Commission that in 2010 “the pilot did perform any training flight” on Tu-154M and until numbers of exercises then performed can be verified, the accusation of KBWLLP about lack of authorization to perform landings category I during the day, shall not be accepted.
If we have any abnormalities here, they only relate to lack of evidence for exercises performed during training flight (in daily record) and not to the lack of training flight itself. The difference between these two issues is fundamental and it had to be uncomfortable for KBWLLP if the fact of training flight taking place was concealed.
It can be easily seen what attitude prevailed in the Commission in its work by the way it describes the context of training flight from 4th January 2010. In the Annex 4 to military protocol, page 180/695, we will not find any information that on that day major Protasiuk performed his training flight and if he trained in covered cabin or not. We can read instead (bold font by KBWLLP):
Technical sub-committee established that the below mentioned aircraft commanders did not register entries on acceptance of the plane in “Book of maintenance for aircraft No 101 90A837”:
Commander of aviation team during flights on days 4th January 2010 (…)
It does not seem to require any comment.
If it’s established that during the training flight in January 2010 the approach to landing was exercised in covered cabin with its uncovering at the height of the decision – the entry from the Annex 1 to military protocol, page 6/97)
On the day of the crash the aircraft commander did not have valid authorizations to land according to ILS system in Minimal Conditions with cloud base of 60 m and visibility 800 m
Shall also be challenged in the part relating to flights during the day.
The fact that the training flight from 2010 was concealed by KBWLLP and that the Pilot’s Checkride of aircraft commander from the right seat was officially challenged (which was one of the requirements of RL-2006) raise serious questions on reliability of further conclusions by KBWLLP - in this instance – the analysis of the pilot’s training.
It is to be recollected here that the partial and mendacious analysis of approaches according to ILS that was performed by KBWLLP (vide report page 116 and elaboration of this text authors’ “Analysis of 7 landings according to Miller’s Commission: the pilot did not break landing minimum conditions in 2008-2009”), also indicates that Commission’s actions had mainly propaganda purpose. The supposed lack of professionalism on behalf of major Protasiuk even in ILS approaches (he was most experienced in), and thesis, that he did not have authorization to pilot that plane at all, were to be imprinted in reader’s minds.
As we can see, the Commission widely commented the regulations of RL-2006 and other available data only there where it was convenient to her, and where this data can be used to deduct “human factor” or “personal error”. The Commission concealed the same information in places,which should have required extra vigilant, meticulous, objective and reliable analysis.
1. IMC – Instrument Meteorological Conditions
2. IFR- Instrument Flight Rules
3. PSzLT-73 – Training Program for the Transport Aviation, 1973