Polish government flight PLF 101 departs from Warsaw after a 27-minute delay. Weather conditions in Smolensk are poor, though an earlier Polish plane carrying journalists lands safely in Smolensk at 9:15 a.m
In spite of the worsening weather, Smolensk air traffic control (ATC) apparently makes no attempt to instruct pilots to fly to another airfield.
More than once, Smolensk ATC apparently informs the pilots the aircraft is "on course" when in fact it had veered from the approach path.
A leaked transcript of cockpit voice recordings indicate several people, in addition to the crew, are in the cockpit during the flight. People can be heard making references to alcohol, though Polish investigators later say the pilots were not drinking.
At 300 meters, in poor visibility, cockpit recordings indicate the then-commander of the Polish air force insists the pilots land the plane as scheduled. News reports say General Andrzej Blasik, sitting in the cockpit, can be heard telling pilots: "Go on, you've got enough room."
At around 200 meters, the first of at least two automated "terrain ahead" warnings sounds in the cockpit. Despite an apparent order by the plane's first officer to "go around," the jet continues to descend. Smolensk ATC goes silent for several crucial seconds before instructing the plane to fly level. The plane continues its descent.
At 60 meters, the plane's first officer issues a second "go around" command. It's not clear why, but again the order is not followed.
At 50 meters, Smolensk ATC orders the plane to terminate descent. Polish investigators allege this order and the previous ATC order to fly level came too late to save the plane.
In a last-ditch maneuver, pilots put the plane into an immediate climb. Given the uneven approach to the runway in Smolensk, the effort comes too late.
The jet crashes short of the Smolensk runway after striking trees on the approach. The power of the impact kills everyone onboard immediately.