The Wolk Law Firm recently litigated a takeoff crash of a Mooney M20J in Kansas City Mo.

In that instance two people were killed when the engine lost power intermittently and finally control was lost and it crashed.

The initial NTSB analysis was that water in the fuel caused the engine interruption and it doubled down on the fiction that a rainstorm the night before departure caused water to flood into the fuel tanks that the pilot allegedly did not check after refueling.

It turned out that not only was there a drought and no such rainstorm (that occurred a year later) but the fuel caps on the tanks did not leak and the pilot was seen on surveillance video checking for water.

The cause of the crash, found by The Wolk Law Firm was a failed magneto that had been overhauled some 4.7 flight hours before.  A jury trial resulted in a 9-million-dollar verdict for the plaintiffs.

The magneto in Mooney aircraft is know as a single drive dual mag, in other words a single drive from the engine turns both magnetos in one housing which makes the term “redundant” a euphemism for disaster. The single drive dual mag is not redundant and has been responsible for many accidents and incidents in Mooneys and all other aircraft that use them.

The other recurrent issue in Mooneys is the difficulty in draining water out of the fuel tanks. The fuel drains are raised from the bottom of the fuel tank and care must be exercised to drain enough fuel to get all the water out.

The fact that this airplane flew four hours that day without problems means that likely a mechanical failure in the engine such as the magneto may have caused this crash.

Careful investigation by the Wolk Law Firm is vital to determining the cause of airplane crashes especially when post-crash fires damages or destroys much of the evidence. That is what we do.

We are especially sad that four lives were lost in this crash and wish the families of Henry Punt, Jacquie Ann Fig, Steve Sanz and Kenneth Malinowski our fervent wishes for peace in the face of this tragic loss.

Arthur Alan Wolk

July 21, 2021





Aviation Attorney Arthur Wolk says a recent emergency airworthiness directive may explain what could have caused crash of AirAsia Flight QZ8501.

The latest word from the Government of Indonesia is that the cause of the crash was entry into a thunderstorm that resulted in so much ice accumulations that one or more engines failed and the airplane stalled.

Any ice accumulation sufficient to shut down one of these engines would literally have to be so large that it covered the entire engine inlet. The aircraft is equipped with inlet heat to prevent just such an accumulation which has never happened even without inlet heat. The inlet is about 6 feet around.

Large ice accumulations if the heat was off could cause foreign object damage to an engine but it would take far more than one engine being damaged to cause the loss of this airplane.

Loss of an engine simply means the crew must descend to a lower altitude but this crew ascended so power was available and thus the engine didn’t fail.

An aerodynamic stall that apparently is misunderstood by the Government official is also virtually impossible due to a single engine failure.

The remaining engine  has more than enough power to maintain flight albeit at a lower altitude.

The Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued December 10th says that ice can prevent angle of attack sensors from operating, pitch the airplane nose down and prevent the sidestick controllers from allowing the crew to pull out of a dive. That scenario is far more likely as is a breakup due to turbulence.

If the pitot tubes used to provide airspeed data to the computers iced up, the aircraft can stall due to misinformation provided to the flight control system.

The current theory appears to be generated from industry representatives attempting to establish pilot error as the cause rather than airplane defect. That undue influence on investigators happens all the time.

If they don’t figure out or disclose or fix how the airplane’s computer architecture contributes to these accidents, they will continue to occur.

The weather was bad, and perhaps the crew should have refused to take the flight but Airbus needs to be transparent about how pilots need to have the last word how the airplane operates not the computers that interface with them.

Arthur Alan Wolk

January 4, 2015


Analyis of voice recorder reveals disagreement regarding procedures to be followed

PHILADELPHIA – (01/22/1999) According to Philadelphia aviation attorney, Arthur Alan Wolk, analysis of the cockpit voice recorder of Swissair 111 reveals a disagreement between the captain and first officer on the appropriate procedures to be followed when smoke began filling the cockpit.

The first officer recommended that the aircraft be landed immediately, and the captain declined that recommendation. That decision was fatal to the crew and all the passengers aboard.

Fire in an aircraft cabin is one of the most serious emergencies that can affect an aircraft in-flight. An emergency descent and landing is the only procedure that can save the aircraft. There was nothing to prevent Swissair 111 from making a safe landing within minutes of the first discovery of smoke, and nothing would have presented any danger to the passengers or crew by landing slightly overweight on a runway that was more than ample.

It is sad that so many lost their lives, but hopefully this will remove any doubt from any airline and from any flight crew that smoke in an aircraft is not a time for a majority vote; it’s the time for the fastest possible emergency landing at the nearest airport, regardless of the circumstances.

Although immediately following the crash Swissair denied that such a landing was possible, analysis of procedures in the MD-11 flight manual reveal that such a landing at Halifax could have been safely made within seven minutes of the discovery of smoke — about half the time the aircraft remained airborne after that discovery.

Other parts of the investigation may reveal that electronic engine controls need to be isolated from electrical faults so that loss of engine power does not complicate the emergency landing process. There is much more to be learned from the investigation of this crash, but one thing is certain — there is neither adequate means nor training currently available to fight a fire in an aircraft in-flight, in spite of the well-worn but true statement “where there’s smoke there’s fire.”