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Mi-8 helicopter belonging to the Government of Poland
Leszek Miller in a January 2003 photo

On 4 December 2003, a Polish Mi-8 helicopter operated by the 36th Special Aviation Regiment carrying Poland's Prime Minister Leszek Miller crashed near Piaseczno, just outside Warsaw.[1] The pilot performed an autorotation landing in a forest following the failure of both engines. The helicopter suffered extensive damage and was written off as a total loss, but despite the severity of the crash there were no fatalities. Fourteen of the 15 people on board were injured, including Leszek Miller, who had two of his thoracic vertebrae broken.


Aircraft and pilotEdit

The helicopter was 26 years old at the time of the crash, and was close to the end of its service. It belonged to the 36th Special Aviation Regiment responsible for transporting Polish government officials. The pilot of the helicopter was major Marek Miłosz, later promoted to lieutenant colonel.


The cause of the engine failure was determined to be icing.[2]


On 10 March 2004, Miłosz was criminally charged with violating flight safety rules and causing the crash.[1] Specifically, the pilot was blamed for not manually turning on the deicing equipment during the flight. The pilot argued that the meteorologic information available to him at the time did not indicate that icing was likely, and hence he was not required to turn on the deicing equipment. He was consulting a thermometer during the flight, but it suffered from a systematic measurement error and hence was unable to warn of icing. In addition, during the flight an unusual thermal inversion occurred; the temperature rose with altitude, which the pilot could not have predicted.[1] In March 2010, the 6-year trial ended with a verdict of not guilty.[1] The judge in the case noted the pilot expertly carried out the difficult autorotation landing and that the passengers survived because of his superb piloting skills. Leszek Miller declared that if he had to fly again in a helicopter in difficult atmospheric conditions, he would choose Miłosz as his pilot.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Pilot Millera niewinny. - Miller's pilot not guilty". TVN24. 2010-03-22. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  2. ^ "Polish plane crash highlights 'lamentable' fleet". Reuters India. 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
  3. ^ "Miller: z ppłk. Miłoszem poleciałbym i drugi raz - Miller: I would fly a second time with Lieutenant Colonel Miłosz". Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved 2010-04-11.[permanent dead link]

Coordinates: 52°02′08″N 21°04′06″E / 52.03556°N 21.06833°E / 52.03556; 21.06833