The 2010 Katyń Families Association

Danish weekly Ingeniøren in its most recent issue has published an article on the findings and studies of Eng. Glenn Jørgensen who states that "the birch tree could not have been the cause behind the crash of the Polish TU154M in Smolensk, four years ago."

A Danish civil engineer’s calculations have attracted a lot of attention in connection with the 10 April 2010 plane crash in Smolensk. Spurred by the desire to find the correct explanation, Danish Glenn Jorgensen repeatedly participated in conferences on the plane crash in Poland, has communicated with Poland’s leading expert in aircraft accidents. The reason his analysis arouse much commotion is because it supports conjecture that the accident was not an accident but an assassination. Glenn Jorgensen says to “Ingeniøren” that his analysis does not show the cause of the crash, only shows that it could not have occurred as indicated by Russian IAC.

He does not refuse, however, speculation of an assassination and conspiracy. "If I would have been charged with designing such an attack on a plane with the message that it should look like an accidental as much as possible, I would have done it with explosions at low altitude," he said. The accident was investigated by a Russian IAC, which in January 2011 concluded that the aircraft during the approach had hit a birch tree at a height of 5 meters, and as a result lost 5.5 meters of the left wing.


Accoridng to the Russians, the asymmetric lift to which the plane was subsequently subjected caused it to make a left roll. During five seconds the plane was turned over in the air. The tip of the left wing hit the ground first, and then the nose hit the ground with the result that all on board were exposed to a force of over 100 g, hence died immediately. An official Polish report of July 2011 placed some of the responsibility on the Russian aircraft controllers, but accepted the explanation of the birch tree. Many Poles believe, however, that the Russian involvement in the accident was much more active than that. This view is shared by Wiesław Binienda from the University of Akron in Ohio, USA, who is also editor- in-chief of the Journal of Aerospace Engineering. His calculations show that if the plane would have hit the birch tree the wing would have cut the tree as a knife. There would be only a minor damage to the wing edge. His analysis also shows that, if broken, the wing tip falling from a height of 5 meters, would hit the ground 12 meters after. In fact, the wing tip was found 111 meters from the birch tree. Binienda concludes the wing tip was most likely separated at a height of 26 meters, 69 meters after the birch tree. Other technical experts have shown interest in the accident, but virtually no non-Poles, with Glenn Jorgensen as an exception. He thoroughly worked through the data and results of the AAIB reports and made in-depth analysis with familiar formulas within the field of aerodynamics. He has also purchased satellite photos showing the ground traces from the accident. An estimated 500 hours of work later, he agrees with Binienda in concluding that the birch explanation is wrong. Glenn Jorgensen stresses that the black box recordings show that during the landing approach the plane was subjected to two rapid and significant lift losses, one such event right after the other. This indicates that about 5.5 meters of the wing broke first at an altitude of approx. 30 meters above the ground, and later an additional 3-5 m of the left wing was lost. "Only those assumptions about additional loss of the wing area are consistent with data from the plane's black boxes and the ground traces, "he said.


Glenn Jorgensen's strong interest in an accident in a country that he is not personally involved in is puzzling. "My wife has asked me about this many times. If you see an accident on the highway, where people are already on spot to help, you surely can continue. But when you see that the so-called helpers only make things worse by their behavior, so you must step up to do the right thing," he said. Poland's leading expert in aircraft accidents, Grzegorz Kowaleczko from the Polish Air Force Institute of Technology, ITWL, does not officially agree with Glenn Jorgensen. In December 2013 he published a report rejecting Glenn Jorgensen's analysis. ”Kowaleczko’s calculations show however that the plane would be more than 11 m above the mentioned birch tree, assuming it hits the ground, where it actually crashed. Officially, he picks on me, but the questions he has asked about my study tells me, that I am most likely on track," says Glenn Jorgensen. The newspaper “Ingeniøren” tried unsuccessfully to contact Grzegorz Kowaleczko by email for his comment before the article was published. Later Kowaleczko answered that he believes Glenn Jorgensen’s aerodynamic model is correct, also through his help. Glenn Jorgensen hopes that it would be possible to arrange a new conference about the accident - hopefully in Denmark, where all the experts can meet. But one thing is certain the Katyn massacre has never been forgotten in Poland. The same can be said of the Smolensk plane crash.



The Russian authorities explained that, the crash was due to the pilot pulling up the airplane too late. As a result the plane hit a birch tree that tore a piece of of the wing. This made the plane to roll to the left and crash near the runway of the Smolensk airport.

1. In dense local fog with a visibility of 400 m the plane hit a birch tree at 5 meters height, very close to the ground.
2. The plane rolls violently to the left and flies at an angle of 90 degrees along the ground. 70 m before the crash all electricity power shuts down in the plane.
No explanation for it is given.
3. The plane crashes to the ground with the bottom side up, and all 96 people on-board die.

Distance between the birch and crash area: 340 meters

Text in the circle in the figure above: A piece of the left wing tip of 5.5 meters gets torn off.


The aerodynamic calculations by Danish engineer Glenn Jorgensen show that the aircraft needed be been at least 30 meters in height above the ground over the mentioned birch tree when it lost the first part of the left wing tip, in order to reach the crash area 340 meters ahead. Thus, the aircraft could not have had contact with the birch tree and the destruction of the wing was most likely caused by explosions.

Text under ‘roll angle plot’ Figure:
The figure shows the calculated roll angle of the plane following the loss of wing area for the two cases (A loss of 5.5 m respectively 9.5 m wing). A good correlation between the calculated roll angle and the the recorded roll angle data from the aircraft’s black box, is only present when assuming a wing loss of about 8.5 m to 10.5 m.

1. The plane loses the left wing tip at 30 meters height
2. Additional 3-5 meter of the left wing is lost
3. The plane makes a left roll of 130 degrees and rushes to the ground in an angle of 15 degrees.

In figure above first circle from right: The first piece of the wing tip 5.5 meters is lost. Second circle from the right: Additional piece of the wing is lost.

source: Danish weekly Ingeniøren
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