An airline that maintains its own flight school wants the FAA to reduce the required flight time for its first officers from 1500 to only 700.

It claims that in 700 hours its student pilots have enough experience to serve in a support capacity to a Captain who has more than the required flight time and will not compromise safety.

The 1500-hour requirement for first officers followed a tragic crash of a Colgan Airways turboprop crash in icing conditions on approach to Buffalo N.Y. While the NTSB’s probable cause unfairly blamed the pilots, the new higher flight experience requirement for first officers was designed to bring more skill into the cockpit.

Here’s the problem with the airline’s logic which the FAA will likely go along with. Flight time is not an indicator of experience, it is a number of hours of flight time. Experience is time in the air, time in the type aircraft and years of experiencing all types of weather, lots of emergencies and abnormal conditions in airplanes. That’s why big airlines always had an apprentice program that required a pilot to get years in the cockpit before he became qualified to be a captain or even a first officer.

If the FAA allows this reduction in flight time to be the rule, I predict an airline safety disaster. I had friends who claimed to know it all after just 600 hours. They didn’t but are a risk to themselves and others. The FAA statistics show that most accidents occur when the pilot has between 500 and 1000 hours pilot time. That’s the “I know it all.” period and before a pilot starts to learn that he doesn’t know it all after all.

This proposed reduction of required flight time is a mistake and will make us all less safe.

Arthur Alan Wolk

May 12, 2022

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A Boeing 777 was close to landing at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris when suddenly the crew received multiple warnings from the automation that something was awry. It appears that the aircraft which was operating on the automatic pilot veered off of the ILS (Instrument landing System) for Runway 26 Left and the crew was confused both about the many warnings it received but also what to do about it.

The warnings can be heard in the background as someone with a cooler head, hopefully the Captain, communicated in French with Air Traffic Control and another shouted “Stop, Stop, Stop!”

The aircraft commenced a missed approach, climbed and entered the hold waiting further instructions and so they could sort out the problem.

Here’s my take. First since English is the official language of aviation, had the crew communicated in English, the crews of other 777 aircraft or other Boeing aircraft similarly equipped may have understood the communications, heard the multiple warnings in the background, and been of some help.

This happened to me on approach to Montreal many years ago when the Captain of a Sabreliner was confused and lost situational awareness about other traffic because some pilots spoke in English and others in French. None of us knew where the others were. I spoke up about it and at least for a few moments everyone spoke English. Problem solved.

Ever since the Montreal based International Air Transport Association got involved in aviation, the English only rule has been slowly chipped away. Now we have a confusing patchwork of English/French acronyms that have confused aviation communication and made the skies more dangerous.

Bottom lining this incident, which thank God didn’t become an accident, the first rule in an automated cockpit that is going haywire, whether due to mis-selection of flight modes or malfunction is to “Kill the Automation!” We are pilots and whether it is a HondaJet or a Triple 7 all glass cockpit equipped airplanes are the same. They will get you into trouble in a blink of an eye and at low altitude in weather on an approach to an airport there is no time to fool around or try to reprogram or fix it. Just disconnect, execute a missed approach and FLY THE AIRPLANE.

Someone aboard the flight deck of this aircraft did just that and they all lived to fly another day. But before someone took control, there was confusion and disarray that could have spelled disaster.

Two lessons learned. Speak English! When in Doubt Kill the Automation and Fly the Aircraft!


Arthur Alan Wolk

April 6, 2022

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The latest Boeing 737 crash in China is very disturbing. This aircraft for no apparent reason entered a steep dive from altitude and crashed straight into the ground killing all 133 aboard.

This is reminiscent of a number of other Boeing 737 accidents The Wolk Law Firm has investigated and litigated. The Boeing 737 all variants have suffered 83 crashes but in fairness it is the most numerous of any single airline model. However, the number of crashes or crashes per hundred million miles flown is not an accurate assessment of an airplane’s safety. The Boeing 737 has too many loss-of-control accidents due to control malfunctions and the consequences are always disastrous. Airplanes that dive straight into the ground due to design or mechanical flaws are unacceptable.

United 585 on approach to Colorado Springs rolled in while on approach and straight down killing 25.

USAir 427 did the same at Aliquippa Pennsylvania killing 133 people.

Another Silk Air 737 did the same years ago killing more than 100.

Another 737 did the same over Panama killing more than 120 people.

A Silk Air 737 Max did the same in Indonesia.

An Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max did the same and together with the Silk Air crash 346 people died.

In some of the other accidents the roll over into a dive was caused by a rudder hard over due to a defective rudder control. In the 737 Max instances, a defectively designed and built MCAS system allowed the horizontal stabilizer to move making pitch control impossible.

Every time, the manufacturer, Boeing, has blamed the pilots or some unheard-of weather phenomenon. It has been wrong each time.

While the 737-800 has different flight control systems than the other aircraft mentioned it does have an autopilot, a moveable horizontal stabilizer and a rudder control, all hydraulic and all subject to out of control malfunctions. Video purportedly of the moments before impact show what looks like a missile diving vertically into the ground. Such a maneuver with an intact airplane is almost impossible. This could only happen if the horizontal stabilizer is full nose down (front up) or beyond its pitch down limit and even then, if the airplane is all together, it is difficult to reach that degree of nose down absent a piece missing or a massive control malfunction.

The cockpit counter to an out of control horizontal stabilizer is to manually crank the pitch control over-ride wheel in the opposite direction, a feat requiring super-human strength when the airspeed builds up. The system needs a motor driven over-ride regardless of the cause of this accident.

The Wolk Law Firm knows more about 737 control malfunctions than any other law firm in the world as it was the source of the analysis and information that solved the rudder hard over cases.

The FAA, the agency that certified all the 737’s to this day has not admitted its responsibility for looking the other way with respect to the single rudder control in the legacy 737s and being totally and happily blindsided by Boeing’s failure to inform it of changes made to the MCAS system that made an out of control pitch event likely. In this instance the FAA, living up to its status as the most incompetent agency of Government, has done nothing as usual and has not asked airlines in the U.S. to check anything.

While foul play or maintenance error cannot be ruled out at this early juncture, even though Boeing 737s are the workhorse of the air transport industry, they crash too much straight down!

The Chinese grounded all their 800’s presumably until they can look at the flight data recorder and see what control caused this fatal dive. Hopefully they will be open about what they find even if it implicates Chinese maintenance, Chinese piloting, training or foul play.

Arthur Alan Wolk

March 22, 2022

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This Beech F-33 Bonanza crash shows an unmistakable sign of pre-existing engine failure.

One of the propeller blades was thrown free of the wreckage and is straight with no bends curls. Curls like a pretzel always occur when the engine is running at impact. Video of the crash reveals signs of engine power then interruption and then power. The propeller blade image is reproduced here. The blade is almost pristine confirming no power at impact.

The intense fire confirms there was plenty of fuel aboard.

The aircraft had just completed training maneuvers as confirmed by the FlightAware tracks below. It appears that the aircraft’s owner Brian Filippini was training for a commercial pilots’ license, as he was already a licensed private pilot, when the aircraft went down with his flight instructor Alfred Piranian.

Other than engine failure and inadvertent spin nothing explains the dynamics of this crash. The video shows the aircraft in a steep dive and maybe even a spin or just about a recovery from a spin before impacting the ground at high speed.

I owned a Beech Bonanza and flew it for five years accumulating more than 700 hours as pilot-in-command. I had nothing but trouble with the engine. Engine failure or loss of power in this model is no surprise to me.

This airplane a Be33 was a 285-horsepower version of the straight tail Debonair only later called a Bonanza not to be confused with the V-Tail versions. For two years, this aircraft was certified in the aerobatic category but the accident airplane was not an aerobatic certified airplane.

Review of the maintenance history however revealed several modifications that may have adversely affected the stall and spin recovery ability of this aircraft. The first was a wing tip mod that came out to accommodate strobe lights. The second was the introduction of a 100 lb. T.K.S. modification.

The fluid tank and pumps were aft of the CG and outboard. The pendulum effect from such additional equipment, called the polar moment of inertia, could easily have aggravated the stall and exacerbated the spin and made it more difficult to recover. There was also the T.K.S. leading-edge modification that to some extent changed the airflow and stall characteristics.

What is most offensive about this model Beech aircraft and others Beech produced for decades is the manner in which it ran fuel lines across and below the cabin so that even a survivable crash landing becomes a conflagration. This is a clear violation of the regulations under which the F-33 Bonanza was certified, CAR 3, but of course the FAA has done nothing about it.

The aircraft had recent maintenance on its engine which will have to be investigated and a previous annual inspection. If T.K.S. changes the flight characteristics during flight the aircraft cannot be signed off as airworthy.

The Filippini and Piranian families have suffered a terrible tragedy. The NTSB will bring the aircraft manufacturer to the investigation as a party to the investigation. That long-ago discredited procedure will unlikely find the cause of this accident.

The Wolk Law Firm certainly will find the actual cause of this accident.

May the memories of those who have lost their lives be a blessing!

Arthur Alan Wolk


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There are about 1800 Pilatus PC-12 aircraft built and flying today. The aircraft is widely used by both passenger carrying private and commercial users but also for carrying high priority freight.

It is a big airplane, the size of a Beech King Air 200 but has only one engine, a generally reliable Pratt and Whitney PT-6 turboprop.

While easy to fly and now equipped with advanced flat screen avionics, the PC-12 like most other airplanes can be a handful to fly when things go bad.

Ninety-eight accidents or incidents for a turbine powered aircraft or 5% of the fleet is a lot. For the PC-12 that equates to 111 deaths, also a lot.

The first responders identified three debris fields which usually means in flight break-up. That is a rare but not unknown circumstance for the Pilatus. No airplane should break-up in flight and with an experienced pilot aboard it is even less plausible.

This accident together with 98 other accidents and non-fatal incidents means that either training is lacking, system reliability is lacking or structural integrity needs to be looked at.

Other Pilatus aircraft have demonstrated similar radar signatures including extremely rapid descents due to pitch or roll trim servo issues but that problem has been thought to be resolved in the newer airplanes.

Modern avionics have proved to be a Godsend to pilots because of the information they provide and modern flight control systems have proved to be very reliable but the failure of either can explain an unusual attitude that ends in a steep descent. This aircraft descended at over 7000 feet per-minute in the final dive to the ground.

The Wolk Law firm extends its condolences to the families of the vitcims who have suffered so much from this tragedy. May the memories of those who perished be a blessing.

Arthur Alan Wolk


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Sadly, another critical engine failure on the left was the likely cause of a Beech Baron 58 crash killing an accomplished Army reservist and successful businessman.

The airplane crashed on takeoff and photographs from the scene clearly reveal the aircraft in a hard left bank while in the climb.

Baron 58s do not crash under these circumstances absent an engine failure. The weather was good, the pilot was trained and the airplane is easy to fly with one very notable exception. The Model 58 like most light twins will suddenly roll out of control if there is an engine failure especially on the left.

The mode of loss of control is called a VMC roll. The left engine is the most critical because of the direction the propellers turn. The airplane wants to turn sideways into the failed engine and quick action must be taken to counteract the sideslip and maintain speed above VMC, the minimum control airspeed with the critical engine inoperative and the aircraft in takeoff configuration.

I have 700 hours in the Baron having owed one and flown others. The Achilles heel of the Baron is its Continental IO-520 engines, trouble prone and unreliable.

Investigators will have to carefully inspect the remains of the engines to determine why power was lost, a task made difficult due to the extent of the fire damage. It can be done and The Wolk Law Firm has accomplished this successfully over the years even after the NTSB with Continental’s “help” hasn’t been able to do so.

To the family of Capt. Raymond Ackley, our condolences and may his memory be a blessing.

Arthur Alan Wolk 2/18/22

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I thought I would share an experience I had Friday December 17th at the Macomb, Illinois airport. I have used that airport, an uncontrolled field, for the past 11 years enroute to California from Philly.
It is in the open with no obstacles, a 5000 foot runway in good condition, two GPS approaches and reasonably priced fuel.

I was approaching the airport with Chicago Center who advised me of an airplane maneuvering miles Southeast of the field which I saw on TCAS.(Traffic Collision Avoidance System). I gave a wide berth and joined the downwind announcing my position and intentions to land on Runway 09. I turned the base leg and announced that position. I then turned final and heard another pilot announce he was downwind which also was confirmed on the TCAS.

I then cautioned that aircraft by radio that there was a HondaJet on final for runway 09. I made yet another broadcast that I was on short final. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an aircraft at my altitude crossing directly in front of me. We missed each other by feet!

There was no TCAS warning and no avoidance maneuver (Resolution Advisory) suggested.
I landed moments later and taxied to the fuel pump. I was met with a line serviceman who said, “I thought I was seeing a midair collision.” He confirmed he heard all my transmissions and pointed out the flight instructor and his student standing on the ramp who had obviously landed behind me while I was still on the runway.

I walked up to the instructor and his student who were still standing by the airplane and the instructor said to me, “I guess I owe you an apology.” I gave him what for, like who has the right of way and what was he thinking and everything else I could think of that was as elegant as I could be without saying how I really felt about what he did. He admitted he heard all my transmissions. Okay, I’ll get over it. I admit that I was more pissed than shaken then but it brings up something that is worth articulating.

No matter how careful you are. No matter how strictly you follow the rules. No matter how much you want to live and enjoy the good fortune that has blessed you, there will always be some moron who doesn’t give a crap. If he is a flight instructor, not a kid but an experienced adult, it is even more unforgivable.

The near miss I had was one second and seventy-five feet from collision as confirmed by FlightAware. The reason I got no traffic advisory or resolution advisory was because I was already so low on final and the other aircraft was so close, it was literally beyond the capability of the system to generate either of those.
So lessons learned is to not be complacent that the TCAS will end the risk of mid-air collision, it won’t. The other lesson is there is no substitute for your eyeballs and looking outside especially close in may be the difference between life and death.

Now to be honest, this happened so fast I didn’t have time to react so even though I saw the other aircraft 1 second away there was nothing I could do except be astonished after he whizzed by.
I am still processing all this and if I have any useful suggestions I’ll make them. I guess the only one that makes sense right now is no matter how comfortable you are that no one would be so reckless as to cut you off while you are almost at the threshold, such people do exist so don’t assume you’re safe until you’re on the ramp.

  • TCAS ‘TA’ – N420LH was below 2000′ AGL (on final approach) and the intruder aircraft closing rate provided less than 15 seconds of separation or intruder range is within 0.2 NM.
  • TCAS ‘RA’ – RA is not issued below 1000′ AGL
  • This can all be found in the Garmin Manual which specifies the limits of operation of the TCAS 1 and TCAS 2 systems.
  • Having said that, none of it means beans until it happens and then if you live, you get a chance to read it and you find out why what you thought should happen didn’t.
  • ‘TA’ means traffic advisory audible “Traffic, Traffic, Traffic”
  • ‘RA” means resolution advisory like “Climb”

Airline pilots have the benefit of TCAS that will give traffic alerts and resolution advisories all the way to the ground. The Garmin system leaves a pilot vulnerable when he needs the protection most, in the traffic pattern close to the ground.

This must be fixed!

Arthur Alan Wolk

December 29th, 2021



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A Lear 35A ambulance air flight crashed in the dark and in very marginal VFR conditions at Gillespie Field San Diego, Ca. when the crew attempted a circle to land approach. Control was lost at a base to final turn for runway 27.

The aircraft performed the GPS instrument approach to the only runway into the wind with an instrument approach, Runway 17, but then after being cleared to land, elected to land VFR (Visual Flight Rules) on Runway 27, a much longer runway at the airport but with no instrument approach.

There is also a GPS approach to Runway 9L but both approaches terminate at about 1000 feet AGL.

That resulted in the crew cancelling the IFR clearance and making the circling approach VFR as you must be VFR to legally make such an approach. The approach is supposed to be made at or close to minimums for the IFR approach just completed and within a mile of the runway.

It is a very difficult and demanding maneuver under ideal conditions. At night and in bad weather it is just plain risky. Airlines stopped doing them for that reason.

It is understandable for the crew to request Runway 27 because it is much longer and Runway 17, especially when wet is marginal for a Learjet.

Further investigation will be required and a determination made if any mechanical issue intervened to make the approach unsuccessful.

The FAA requires demonstration of a circling approach during the annual 61.58 ride all jet pilots must pass. But every time I do that maneuver for the check ride, I often wonder why anyone would do such a maneuver in real life let alone at night and in not ideal weather.

A medivac flight is a special animal and pilots often are called upon to do what others may neither have to do or want to do but in this instance perhaps another of the many airports available would have been a better choice. As soon as a jet is taken off the stabilized approach, as a circling approach is not, the risk factors go up exponentially.

Their intentions were the best but sadly the outcome was tragic. May their lives be a blessing.



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The FAA, the agency of Government responsible to ensure aviation safety has been caught flat-footed once again by failing to ensure that frequencies used by 5 G networks do not interfere with aircraft avionics like radar altimeters that provide critical altitude information to aircraft crews performing instrument approaches to airports.

The FAA and FCC had years to work with industry and the authority to tell industry to use slightly different frequencies for their 5G or reduce frequency strength near airports to avoid this. But naturally the Gov’ment being the Gov’ment, it did nothing.

The FAA just issued Airworthiness Directives to airlines warning that interference could occur which is a dangerous condition. The FCC has done nothing about it, the FAA has done nothing about it, and they both have eroded aviation safety by their collective inaction, ineptitude and ignorance.

Sophisticated modern airplanes use radar altimeters to perform Instrument Landing System approaches. The radar altimeter tells the flight crews how high they are above the ground starting at 2500 feet going all the way down to 10 feet above the surface. The safety benefit is enormous but in really bad weather operating radar altimeters are FAA required for Category II Instrument approaches.

So, because it was asleep at the switch the potential exists for a dangerous condition to exist in bad weather so somebody like your youngster can play with their cell phones all day instead of interacting like a human being with their friends and parents.

Maybe the FCC should ban 5 G from cell phones instead of causing interference that may endanger tens of millions of airplane passengers.

Now the good news is that in other countries where 5G has been used for a year or more no airplane interference has been documented. But we have to take seriously the safety warning and assume that while it is only in the imaginary, Illusory and figment of one’s doomsday scenario, and may never materialize, it is nonetheless unforgiveable, but not surprising, that the FAA and FCC who apparently don’t speak to each other on their 5G phones much, didn’t fix this before creating a crisis.

Maybe the FAA was just too busy explaining its way out of why it certified an airliner and missed critical flight system flaws that killed 346 innocent people. Or perhaps it was hiding documents so FAA employees wouldn’t be jailed for looking the other way purposely.

The system is corrupt, inept, dangerous and broken.

Arthur Alan Wolk

December 23rd, 2021.

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The BEECHCRAFT E-90 was originally produced with 3 bladed propellers. An engine failure results in a rapid build-up of drag as the propeller windmills. Once it is feathered to be streamlined with the wind the drag is reduced and the airplane can under the best conditions continue to be flown to a landing.

This airplane was converted to Garrett turbine engines from the Pratt and Whitney PT-6 engines it originally was built with and five bladed propellers which increase climb and are quieter than the original propellers.

The only problem with this conversion is if there is an engine failure these five bladed propellers are like a barn door and the drag which occurs almost instantly may make continued control of the airplane impossible.

Normally a Supplemental Type Certificate of this magnitude would require very intensive testing to make sure that the original flying characteristics of the airplane were not materially compromised but testing is different than the real world of airplane flying.

A five bladed propeller is also very complicated and if it should go to feather or flat pitch it is possible that continued flight is impossible.

The E-90 King Air is a very easy airplane to fly unless an engine failure occurs but no doubt is a handful with a five bladed propeller on top of it.

If the Wolk Law Firm was investigating this accident, the propeller and the testing further to getting the Supplemental Type Certificate would be the first place to look.

This crash like all of them is a very sad occurrence. Two lives lost to their families is a tragedy.

May their memories be a blessing.

Arthur Alan Wolk

November 17, 2021

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