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plan, obtain weather, load the passengers, and execute the mission. Maintenance of the aircraft is contracted out to various vendors. A review of maintenance records indicated some aircraft logs are incomplete and lacking some sign-offs. Pilot records were noted to be incomplete and often
ZONK AIR ACCIDENT; CASE# ERAU-300RL10showed no dates of the 135 check rides or line checks though personal logbooks of some pilots did reflect such information. There were no records to indicate that the pilot had attended any formal flight training from a recognized and certified flight safety training company.Financial records that Zonk Air had been up for sale for two years and was delinquent in paying fuel bills and maintenance inspections. The company was in the process of filing for Chapter 11, bankruptcy protection.Zonk Air had no formal dispatching or flight monitoring system, but does have an operations manual stating the need for such requirements. There was no documentation to show pilots received any human factors training or a company manual or procedures for an SMS program. Currently, there is some FAA ambiguity on what constitutes an SMS program for small operations. Though SMS is highly recommended, specific mandated procedures have not been totally adopted and placed into rules. The general theme repeated by the pilots as told to them by the owner is, “never be unsafe, but try and be creative before aborting a flight.”A Zonk Air staff member, the part-time bookkeeper, indicated the owner told the pilot several times that this (mishap flight) was a last minute, urgent “hot flight with good money making potential so do it up right and give them a good show.”1.8 Miscellaneous Information (Option for additional information) The “Tahoe FBO Service” fuel attendant/line tech had, one hour prior to the departure, “topped off the tanks” and asked the pilot where he was going. The pilot stated it was a local flight of about 45 minutes, but wanted “extra gas” in case the clients wanted to go home to Burbank. The pilot seemed “rushed” and was getting “anxious” about the fast changing weather. The fuel truck driver also helped the pilot load four or five large, “like metal sea trunks marked photo gear” into the back passenger compartment of the plane. The fuel attendant asked where the tie down straps or netting was and the pilot stated he would secure the stuff later. The fuel
ZONK AIR ACCIDENT; CASE# ERAU-300RL11attendant estimated the trunks had to be near 100 pounds each and were stacked on top of one another.A secretary for the Tahoe FBO Service said she greeted the passengers of the mishap flight and directed them to the ramp. She heard one the passengers jokingly tell the pilot to hurry-up or they would leave without him. The pilot approached the counter and paid the fuel billwith a company credit card.