The owner stated he did not think he had ever flown

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flight that he was a little tired but that he wanted to do the flight. The owner stated he did not think he had ever flown to Lake Tahoe before and thought he had mountain experience from his previous job. These facts will never be found as the pilot’s logbook was not found, likely destroyed in the crash. The air traffic controller was interviewed along with company personnel. During this investigation, it was found that the pilot did not file a VFR or IFR flight plan and never requested or was given a weather report. 1.7 Company Information Zonk Air Charters is based out of Oxnard, CA and they operate three aircraft; a PA-31 (mishap aircraft) and two 1979 Cessna 310s. According to the FAA, the company is certified for Part 135 and Part 91 operations. Payroll records show they employ six part-time pilots, the owners, and a secretarial staff. There are no maintenance employees on the staff and all
ZONK AIR ACCIDENT REPORT PROJECT 8 maintenance is contracted out to another agency on the same airfield. Zonk Air has had no previous accidents according to the FAA, but they were cited for failing to maintain proper records in accordance with CFR 135 operations. The owner is a certified Part 135 check airman with the FAA and he conducts all training and flight proficiency flight for his employees. Investigators found that maintenance records and pilot records were incomplete and lacking multiple sign-offs. Pilots records showed no dates for the 135 check rides and there were no records showing the pilot had attended any formal flight training from a reputable flight safety training company. Zonk Air had recently put themselves up for sale within the last two years and after reviewing their finances, investigators found that they were late in paying fuel bills and maintenance inspections. Also, according to public records Zonk Air had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections. Zonk Air had no formal training program to include flight, human factors, or company operating procedures. Maintenance personnel in an interview stated they believed the pilot had noticed a power loss of the right engine along with fuel droplets on the mishap aircraft. Ground personnel could not duplicate the malfunction and the owner stated that it was just the nature of this aircraft. The mechanic that usually serviced aircraft for Zonk was no longer employed at the airfield, but FAA records show that his A&P is still valid. The company he did work for did not have any records showing experience working on PA-31 aircraft. 1.8 Miscellaneous Information The witness statement and receipts from the ground attendant show the aircraft was carrying 1000 pounds of fuel. The passengers, pilot, and cargo trunks weighed
ZONK AIR ACCIDENT REPORT PROJECT 9 approximately 1880 pounds. These weights combined add up to 6,780 pounds which exceeds the max gross weight of 6500 pounds. The fuel attendant/line tech topped of the tanks and briefly spoke with the mishap pilot. He asked the pilot where he was going and was told it was a short 45-minute flight but that he wanted “extra gas” in case the passengers wanted to go home to Burbank. The attendant stated that the pilot seemed rushed and was anxious about the weather.

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