Polish CASA C-295M Crash Update

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The Jan. 23 crash of a Polish air force air transport aircraft that killed all 20 aboard (including high-ranking officials) has led Polish officials to ground its fleet of nine EADS CASA C-295M aircraft pending the results of an investigation. The crash aircraft had fewer than 500 flight hours and its data recorder has been recovered. It clipped trees prior to crashing approximately 1 nm shy of the runway at Miroslawiec air base in northwest Poland. The crash occurred just after 7 p.m. local time. Weather at the time included cloud bases near 300 feet with heavy rain in the area. It was the aircraft's second approach. An instrument landing system had yet to be introduced at Miroslawiec, a spokesman for the Polish air forces, Lieutenant-Colonel Wiesław Grzegorzewski, told the Polish Radio Information Agency. He added that the pilots knew that the ILS system was not operating at the base and were landing by means of a precision approach radar. The pilots, according to the spokesman, were used to such conditions. The flight was returning personnel from a flight safety conference in Warsaw. Among those killed were Col. Jerzy Pilat, commander of the Miroslawiec air base, and Brig. Gen. Andrzej Andrzejewski, commander of an air brigade based in Swidwin. The Polish government is recognizing the loss with three days of national mourning.