Polish pilot under pressure to land?

Inquiry into why flight tried to touch down despite warnings

An investigation into the lethal crash of Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s plane has officials asking why the pilot ignored warnings from air traffic control telling him not to land. There was extremely heavy fog at the airport in western Russia, and two attempts at touching down had to be aborted before the pilot went in for a deadly third try. It’s currently believed that there were no technical malfunctions, and Russian officials say pilot error caused the deadly accident. It’s been delicately suggested that Kaczynski may have pressured the pilot to land because he didn’t want to be late for a ceremony in the Katyn forest, where 20,000 Polish soldiers and civilians were murdered by Russians in WWII. The president has a history of fighting with flight crews—he once demanded that a pilot flying him to Tbilisi, Georgia, land despite bad weather, threatening consequences and saying, “if someone decides to become a pilot, he cannot be fearful.” The flight voice recorder has been recovered, but transcripts have not yet been released. Saturday’s crash killed 96 people, including the president and numerous senior military and government officials.

New York Times

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