Runway 1836 is equipped with medium intensity edge

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Runway 18/36 is equipped with medium-intensity edge lights and 1,400-foot medium intensity approach lighting system with sequenced flashers (AirNav: KTVL - Lake Tahoe Airport, 2017). 1.4 Flight Information and Mission According to Zonk Air’s flight logs, the aircraft was scheduled to fly a sunset photo flight within 20 miles of the airport with a return to the same airport or with an option to continue to Burbank, CA. The aircraft departed under visual flight rules (VFR) and visual meteorological
ZONK AIR ACCIDENT REPORT PROJECT 6 conditions (VMC) with 4 passengers, one pilot and 4 trunks of camera and photo equipment. According to witness interviews with the air traffic controller, the controller asked the pilot if he wanted instrument flight rules (IFR) since the weather seemed to be getting bad and the pilot responded by saying he would get it if need be. 1.5 Aircraft Information According to the FAA Registry and operator’s manuals, aircraft N517RL was a 1980 PA- 31-310 twin engine, turbo-charged “Navajo” with Lycoming IO-540 reciprocating engines. According to the flight manual, the aircraft had a max gross weight of 6500 pounds and an empty weight of 3900 pounds. Maintenance logs revealed the aircraft had more than 15,000 hours total airframe time and was within two hours of its next 100-hour inspection. Both Lycoming IO-540 engines had been rebuilt some time ago as they were already within 10 hours of Time Before Overhaul (TBO). The aircraft was considered “airworthy’ by the company which possessed an FAA registration, airworthy certificate, and Form 337. According to FAA records and company records, the aircraft had been seized by the DEA from a drug smuggler and had been bought and sold multiple times before ending up at Zonk Air. An airworthiness directive (AD) was issued by the manufacturer three days prior to the mishap for the cracking of fuel line support brackets. No records indicated the maintenance was performed, but the aircraft was scheduled to receive its 100-hour inspection on the conclusion of the flight. 1.6 Pilot Information According to company records, the mishap pilot was a new hire and had only worked at Zonk Air for a year. The FAA online records database shows the pilot possessed a commercial
ZONK AIR ACCIDENT REPORT PROJECT 7 multi-engine instrument rating. Airman certification records show he had 300 total hours, 50 hours in twin-engine with only 15 hours coming from the mishap aircraft. The pilot only had 5 hours of actual instrument meteorological condition (IMC) flight time. The mishap pilot had only conducted three flights for Zonk Air and he previously flew twin-engine aircraft for a solar panel company. He received his multi-engine flight training from a company, Super Pilot, who is no longer in business. The pilot had not flown in 10 days at the time of the accident and was two days over his grace period for his Part 135 check ride. According to the witness statements, he was viewed as likeable and a good kid, but seemed like he was always tired. The fuel attendant stated he seemed rushed and wanted to take off before the weather got worse. The mishap pilot told the owner after he was called in to do the flight that he was a little tired but that he wanted to do the flight. The owner stated he did not

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