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ENGR 6421 - STANDARDS AND CERTIFICATION


WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF


AIRCRAFT
An insight into the weight and balance of aircraft, the calculations behind every successful flight,
the maintenance teams responsibility and the Standards and Regulations that govern this
subject.

A REPORT COMPILED BY: SUBMITTED TO :



SUDHA RANI BURUGU [40055026] DR. CHANDRA ASTHANA
JASPARAMVIR SINGH [40049954] CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY
NOEL PETER DSOUZA [40054636]

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

Overview
The weight and balance of an aircraft is one of the most critical aspects of a safe flight and
an airworthy aircraft. An overloaded aircraft, or an aircraft flying with displaced center of
gravity locations, could result in unsafe flight and add undesirable structural loads to the
machine. The responsibility of weight and balance of the aircraft beings with the engineers
and designers during the manufacturing process. It is then further extended to the Aircraft
Maintenance Engineer during routine maintenance, and rests with the pilot and operator of
the aircraft before every flight. For the purpose of this report, only fixed wing aircraft will
be considered.

Goals
1. Inform the reader about the weight and balance of an airplane.
2. Define some technical terms involved in the weight and balance process.
3. Take a look at the calculations that into the weight and balance and look into some
actual weight and balance reports.
4. Look at the regulatory bodys perspective. Transport Canada Civil Aviation, Federal
Aviation Administration will be considered in this report.
5. Briefly look at some accidents that resulted in fatalities which after investigation
turned out to be related to the weight and balance.








WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. DEFINITIONS AND TERMINOLOGY USED.pg 5
1.1 STANDARD AVIATION TERMS.pg 5
1.2 WEIGHT AND BALANCE TERMS .pg 6
2. ABSTRACT .pg 9
3. INTRODUCTION .pg 11
3.1 WEIGHT OF AN AIRPLANE.pg 12
3.2 BALANCE AND THE CENTER OF GRAVITY .pg 13
4. RESPONSIBILITY OF WEIGHT AND BALANCE .pg 14
5. ADVERSE EFFECTS OF IMPROPER WEIGHT MANAGEMENT.pg 15
5.1 EFFECTS OF WEIGHT CHANGES.pg 15
6. EFFECTS OF ADVERSE BALANCE.pg 17
6.1 MANUFACTURERS POINT OF VIEW ON BALANCE AND C.G..pg 18
7. TRANSPORT CANADA CIVIL AVIATION (T.C.C.A.) GUIDELINES FOR WEIGHT
AND BALANCE.pg 20
7.1 PART V - STANDARD 571 APPENDIX C, PART VI , STANDARD 625 APPENDIX C
7.2 OTHER REGULATIONS FROM THE T.C.C.A..pg 22
.pg 24
7.3 DIVISION III - FLIGHT OPERATIONS

8. REQUIREMENTS OF WEIGHT AND BALANCE AS PER FEDERAL AVIATION


ADMINISTRATION (U.S.A.) AS PER FAA - 8083 - 30 - CHAPTER 12.pg 28
8.1 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATION TITLE 14 - 14 CFR.pg 29
8.2 EMPTY WEIGHT AND CENTER OF GRAVITY: REQUIREMENT 14 CFR 85.pg 30

9. THE LOAD SHEET.pg 32


9.1 PREPARATION OF A LOAD SHEET.pg 33
9.2 SAMPLE AIRCRAFT LOAD SHEET.pg 34

10. LOADING PROCEDURES.pg 35


10.1 FUEL LOADING AND DISTRIBUTION.pg 36
10.2 TRADITIONAL LOAD AND TRIM SHEETS.pg 36
10.3 DEPARTURE CONTROL SYSTEMS (DCS).pg 37
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

10.4 MANUAL LOAD SHEETS.pg 38


10.5 AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS' ACCEPTANCE OF LOAD AND TRIM SHEETS.pg 39
10.6 ELECTRONIC FLIGHT BAG GENERATION OF LOAD AND TRIM DATA.pg 39
10.7 PROVISIONAL AND FINAL LOAD SHEETS.pg 40
10.8 ADJUSTMENT OF THE LAST MINUTE CHANGES (LMC).pg 40
10.9 RISKS ARISING FROM AIRCRAFT LOADING.pg 41
10.10 CONSEQUENCES OF ACTUAL MISLOADING OR INCORRECT INPUT OF
LOAD-RELATED DATA.pg 42

11. A LOOK INTO THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE ANALYSIS OF AIRCRAFT


WEIGHT AND BALANCE RELATED SAFETY OCCURRENCES PUBLISHED BY THE
NATIONAAL LUCHT- EN RUIMTEVAARTLABORATORIUM (NATIONAL
AEROSPACE LIBRARY - THE NETHERLANDS).pg 43
11.1 FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS .pg 43
11.2 ANALYSIS OF OCCURRENCE DATA.pg 44
11.3 ONBOARD AIRCRAFT WEIGHT AND BALANCE SYSTEMS.pg 49

12. EXAMPLES OF SOME TYPICALLY WEIGHT AND BALANCE RELATED


ACCIDENTS.pg 50
12.1 OVERWEIGHT TAKE OFF B727-200 (PP-LBY).pg 50
12.2 OVERWEIGHT TAKE OFF WITH AN EXCEEDANCE OF FORWARD CENTRE OF
GRAVITY LIMIT B727-200, 3X-GDO.pg 52

13. WEIGHT AND BALANCE PROCEDURE AND CALCULATIONS.pg 56


13.1 PROCEDURE.pg 56
13.2 EXAMPLE CALCULATION.pg 58
13.3 CENTER OF GRAVITY REFERENCE DATUM .pg.pg 60

14. CONCLUSION.pg 63

15. REFERENCES.pg 64

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

1. DEFINITIONS AND TERMINOLOGY USED :



1.1 STANDARD AVIATION DEFINITIONS 1 :

Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

Airplane means an engine-driven fixed-wing aircraft heavier than air, that is


supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its wings.

Commercial operator means a p erson who, for compensation or hire, engages in


the carriage by aircraft inair commerce of persons or property, other than as an air
carrier or foreign air carrier or under the authority of Part 375 of this title. Where it
is doubtful that an operation is for compensation or hire, the test applied is
whether the carriage by air is merely incidental to the person's other business or is,
in itself, a major enterprise for profit.

Flight plan means specified information, relating to the intended flight of an


aircraft, that is filed orally or in writing with a
ir traffic control.

Load factor means the ratio of a specified load to the total weight of the a
ircraft.
The specified load is expressed in terms of any of the following: aerodynamic forces,
inertia forces, or ground or water reactions.

Minimum descent altitude (MDA) is the lowest altitude specified in an instrument


approach procedure, expressed in feet above mean sea level, to which descent is
authorized on final approach or during circle-to-land maneuvering until the pilot
sees the required visual references for the heliport or runway of intended landing.

Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of
morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time.
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

Pilot in command means the p


erson who:

(1) Has final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the flight;

(2) Has been designated as p


ilot in command before or during the flight; and

(3) Holds the appropriate category, class, and type r ating, if appropriate, for the
conduct of the flight.

Propeller means a device for propelling an aircraft that has blades on an


engine-driven shaft and that, when rotated, produces by its action on the air, a
thrust approximately perpendicular to its plane of rotation. It includes control
components normally supplied by its manufacturer, but does not include main and
auxiliary rotors or rotating airfoils of engines.

1 Source: https://www.law.cornell.edu

1.2 WEIGHT AND BALANCE DEFINITIONS 2 :

Arm (moment arm) - is the horizontal distance in inches from the reference datum
line to the center of gravity of an item. The algebraic sign is plus (+) if measured aft
of the datum, and minus (-) if measured forward of the datum.

Basic empty weight - includes the standard empty weight plus optional and special
equipment that has been installed.

Center of gravity (CG) - is the point about which an airplane would balance if it
were possible to suspend it at that point. It is the mass center of the airplane, or the
theoretical point at which the entire weight of the airplane is assumed to be
concentrated. It may be expressed in inches from the reference datum, or in
percent of mean aerodynamic chord (MAC).

Center-of-gravity limits - are the specified forward and aft points within which the
CG must be located during flight. These limits are indicated on pertinent airplane
specifications.

Center-of-gravity range - is the distance between the forward and aft CG limits
indicated on pertinent airplane specifications.
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

Datum (reference datum) - is an imaginary vertical plane or line from which all
measurements of arm are taken. The datum is established by the manufacturer.
Once the datum has been selected, all moment arms and the location of CG range
are measured from this point.

Delta - is a Greek letter expressed by the symbol to indicate a change of values. As


an example, CG indicates a change (or movement) of the CG.

Floor load limit - is the maximum weight the floor can sustain per square inch/foot
as provided by the manufacturer.

Fuel load - is the expendable part of the load of the airplane. It includes only usable
fuel, not fuel required to fill the lines or that which remains trapped in the tank
sumps.

Licensed empty weight - is the empty weight that consists of the airframe,
engine(s), unusable fuel, and undrainable oil plus standard and optional equipment
as specified in the equipment list. Some manufacturers used this term prior to
GAMA standardization.

Maximum landing weight - is the greatest weight that an airplane normally is


allowed to have at landing.

Maximum ramp weight - is the total weight of a loaded aircraft, and includes all
fuel. It is greater than the takeoff weight due to the fuel that will be burned during
the taxi and runup operations. Ramp weight may also be referred to as taxi weight.

Maximum takeoff weight - is the maximum allowable weight for takeoff.

Maximum weight - is the maximum authorized weight of the aircraft and all of its
equipment as specified in the Type Certificate Data Sheets (TCDS) for the aircraft.

Maximum zero fuel weight - is the maximum weight, exclusive of usable fuel.

Mean aerodynamic chord (MAC) - is the average distance from the leading edge to
the trailing edge of the wing.

Moment - is the product of the weight of an item multiplied by its arm. Moments
are expressed in pound-inches (lb-in). Total moment is the weight of the airplane
multiplied by the distance between the datum and the CG.

Moment index (or index) - is a moment divided by a constant such as 100, 1,000,
or 10,000. The purpose of using a moment index is to simplify weight and balance
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

computations of airplanes where heavy items and long arms result in large,
unmanageable numbers.

Standard empty weight - consists of the airframe, engines, and all items of
operating equipment that have fixed locations and are permanently installed in the
airplane; including fixed ballast, hydraulic fluid, unusable fuel, and full engine oil.

Standard weights - have been established for numerous items involved in weight
and balance computations. These weights should not be used if actual weights are
available. Some of the standard weights are:

Gasoline
6 lb / US gal

Jet A, Jet A 1 6.8 lb / US gal

Jet B 6.5 lb / US gal

Oil 7.5 lb / US gal

Water 8.35 lb/ US gal

Payload - is the weight of occupants, cargo, and baggage.

Station - is a location in the airplane that is identified by a number designating its


distance in inches from the datum. The datum is, therefore, identified as station
zero. An item located at station +50 would have an arm of 50 inches.
Useful load - is the weight of the pilot, copilot, passengers, baggage, usable fuel,
and drainable oil. It is the basic empty weight subtracted from the maximum
allowable gross weight. This term applies to general aviation aircraft only.

2 Source: http://www.free-online-private-pilot-ground-school.com/

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

2. ABSTRACT

Every single load on the aircraft has an influence on its center of gravity.
Right from the weight of the crew members and the passengers, up to the cargo
and baggage of the passengers influence the performance and handling
characteristics of the plane.
For most large commercial airliners, if the aircraft is not loaded with any
passengers or cargo, the center of gravity is going to be located somewhere in
between the wings of the plane. If there is too much weight in the forward section of
the aircraft, the aircraft will be nose heavy and with too much cargo located in the
aft portion of the aircraft, it will be tail heavy. How then do we load the plane, and
assure safe, reliable characteristics for the pilot to fly, you may wonder. The answer
to this question, is the weight and balance of the airplane. As long as we stick within
certain limits, we can balance the plane in flight and guarantee that all the control
surfaces will be optimally in use for the duration of the flight. A good rule of thumb
is to bring the aircraft center of gravity as close as possible to the center of lift.
Just as the center of gravity is the imaginary point where all of the mass of
the aircraft can be assumed to be acting, the center of lift is the imaginary point
where the concentrated lift force can be assumed to be acting. There are many
mathematical calculations that go into the balancing of all the weights and lift forces
in an airplane, mostly done by the manufacturer. These calculations also come into
play every time an aircraft has to take off, and more so in commercial operations as
proper balancing of the plane can lead to increased efficiency, hence savings in fuel
costs.
For everyday weight and balance calculations, in many airlines a specialized
team called Load Control is assigned this task. Where in early days, pen and paper
calculations were the norm, in todays modern atmosphere, there are computer
softwares such as System Automated Balance and Load Engineering (SABLE)
software developed by iMinds iTech and software such as Eflight and Horizon
Software which run on constantly upgraded algorithms that claim to save around
27% in fuel costs to airlines. These softwares generate the weight and balance
report instantly once certain data is keyed in. The flight crew then input these
numbers into their autopilot system, also called the Flight Management System
(FMS) for the autopilot to calculate the most efficient flight configurations. The
reality of such claims however, is debatable.
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In this project, we will try to give the reader a brief glimpse into the world of
weight and balance and the views and regulations of the key regulatory bodies
such as the F.A.A. (Federal Aviation Administration), the T.C.C.A. (Transport Canada
Civil Aviation) and the I.C.A.O. (International Civil Aviation Organization).

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3. INTRODUCTION4

Weight is a major factor in airplane construction and operation, and it demands
respect from all pilots and particular diligence by all maintenance personnel. Excessive
weight reduces the efficiency of an aircraft and the available safety margin if an emergency
condition should arise. When an aircraft is designed, it is made as light as the required
structural strength allows, and the wings or rotors are designed to support the maximum
allowable weight. When the weight of an aircraft is increased, the wings or rotors must
produce additional lift and the structure must support not only the additional static loads,
but also the dynamic loads imposed by flight maneuvers.

4 Source: https://www.faa.gov/

3.1 INTRODUCTION TO WEIGHT5

Weight is the force with which gravity attracts a body toward the center of the earth.
It is a product of the mass of a body and the acceleration acting on the body. Weight is a
major factor in airplane construction and operation, and demands respect from all pilots.

The force of gravity continually attempts to pull the airplane down toward earth. The
force of lift is the only force that counteracts weight and sustains the airplane in flight.
However, the amount of lift produced by an airfoil is limited by the airfoil design, angle of
attack, airspeed, and air density. Therefore, to assure that the lift generated is sufficient to
counteract weight, loading the airplane beyond the manufacturer's recommended weight
must be avoided. If the weight is greater than the lift generated, the airplane may be
incapable of flight.

5 Source: http://www.free-online-private-pilot-ground-school.com/

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

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3.2 INTRODUCTION TO BALANCE AND CENTER OF GRAVITY 6


Balance refers to the location of the center of gravity (CG) of an airplane, and
is important to airplane stability and safety in flight. The center of gravity is a point
at which an airplane would balance if it were suspended at that point.
The prime concern of airplane balancing is the fore and aft location of the CG
along the longitudinal axis.
The center of gravity is not necessarily a fixed point; its location depends on
the distribution of weight in the airplane. As variable load items are shifted or
expended, there is a resultant shift in CG location. The pilot should realize that if the
CG of an airplane is displaced too far forward on the longitudinal axis, a nose-heavy
condition will result. Conversely, if the CG is displaced too far aft on the longitudinal
axis, a tail-heavy condition will result. It is possible that an unfavorable location of
the CG could produce such an unstable condition that the pilot could not control the
airplane.

6 Source: http://www.free-online-private-pilot-ground-school.com/


Fig 3.2A : The center of gravity can be visualised as the point where the tail heavy loads equal the
nose heavy loads. Similar to the point where you could suspend the airplane from an imaginary
string . (Image Courtesy: Rickard Engineering )
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

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4. RESPONSIBILITY OF WEIGHT AND BALANCE 7

The responsibility for proper weight and balance control begins with the
engineers and designers and extends to the technicians who maintain the aircraft
and the pilots who operate them.
Modern aircraft are engineered utilizing state of-the-art technology and
materials to achieve maximum reliability and performance for the intended
category.
As much care and expertise must be exercised in operating and maintaining
these efficient aircraft as was taken in their design and manufacturing:
1. The designers of an aircraft set the maximum weight based on the amount
of lift the wings or rotors can provide under the operational conditions for which the
aircraft is designed. The structural strength of the aircraft also limits the maximum
weight the aircraft can safely carry. The designers carefully determine the ideal
center of gravity (CG) and calculate the maximum allowable deviation from this
specific location.
2. The manufacturer provides the aircraft operator with the empty weight of
the aircraft and the location of its empty weight center of gravity (EWCG) at the time
the certified aircraft leaves the factory. Amateur-built aircraft must have this
information determined and available at the time of certification
3. The FAA-certificated mechanic or repairman who maintains the aircraft
keeps the weight and balance records current, recording any changes that have
been made because of repairs or alterations. 4. The pilot in command (PIC) has the
responsibility prior to every flight to know the maximum allowable weight of the
aircraft and its CG limits. This allows the pilot to determine during the preflight
inspection that the aircraft is loaded so that the CG is within the allowable limits.

7 Source: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/




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5. ADVERSE EFFECTS OF IMPROPER WEIGHT MANAGEMENT 9

An overloaded airplane may not be able to leave the ground, or if it does


become airborne, it may exhibit unexpected and unusually poor flight
characteristics. If an airplane is not properly loaded, the initial indication of poor
performance usually takes place during takeoff.
Excessive weight reduces the flight performance of an airplane in almost
every respect. The most important performance deficiencies of the overloaded
airplane are:
Higher takeoff speed.
Longer takeoff run.
Reduced rate and angle of climb.
Lower maximum altitude.
Shorter range.
Reduced cruising speed.
Reduced maneuverability.
Higher stalling speed.
Higher approach and landing speed.
Longer landing roll.
Excessive weight on the nosewheel or tailwheel.
The pilot must be knowledgeable in the effect of weight on the performance
of the particular airplane being flown. Preflight planning should include a check of
performance charts to determine if the airplane's weight may contribute to
hazardous flight operations.
Excessive weight in itself reduces the safety margins available to the pilot,
and becomes even more hazardous when other performance-reducing factors are
combined with overweight. The pilot must also consider the consequences of an
overweight airplane if an emergency condition arises. If an engine fails on takeoff or
airframe ice forms at low altitude, it is usually too late to reduce the airplane's
weight to keep it in the air.
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9 Source:
http://www.free-online-private-pilot-ground-school.com/weight_and_balance.html

5.1 EFFECTS OF WEIGHT CHANGES 8

The weight of the aircraft can be changed easily by varying the payload
(passengers, baggage, and cargo). But, if weight has to be decreased by reducing the
payload, the flight will be less profitable. Weight can also be changed by altering the
fuel load. Gasoline or jet fuel has considerable weight - 30 gallons may weigh more
than a paying passenger. But, if weight is lowered by reducing fuel, the range of the
aircraft is shortened. Fuel burn is normally the only weight change that takes place
during flight. As fuel is used, the aircraft becomes lighter and performance is
improved; this is one of the few good things about the consumption of the fuel
supply.
Changes of fixed equipment also have a major effect upon the weight of the
aircraft. Many aircraft are overloaded to a dangerous degree by the installation of
extra radios or instruments. Repairs or modifications usually add to the weight of
the aircraft; it is a rare exception when a structural or equipment change results in a
reduction of weight. As with people, when an aircraft ages, it just naturally puts on
weight. The total effect of this growth is referred to as "Service Weight Pickup." Most
service weight pickup is the known weight of actual parts installed in repair,
overhaul, and modification. These parts should have been weighed or the weight
calculated when they were installed. In addition, an unknown weight pickup results
from the collection of trash and hardware, moisture absorption of soundproofing,
and the accumulation of dirt and grease. This pickup can only be determined by the
accurate weighing of the aircraft as a unit.





8 Source : http://avstop.com/ac/weightbalance/ch1.html

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Source : http://avstop.com/ac/weightbalance/ch1.html


Aircraft manufacturers using the method of weight and balance computation
prepare graphs similar to those shown in figure 3-13 for each make and model
aircraft at the time of original certification. The graphs become a permanent part of
the aircraft records.
Source: http://avstop.com/
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6. EFFECTS OF ADVERSE BALANCE8

Adverse balance conditions affect airplane flight characteristics in much the


same manner as those mentioned for an excess weight condition. In addition, there
are two essential airplane characteristics that may be seriously affected by improper
balance; these are stability and control.
Loading in a nose-heavy condition causes problems in controlling and
raising the nose, especially during takeoff and landing. Loading in a tail-heavy
condition has a most serious effect upon longitudinal stability, and can reduce the
airplane's capability to recover from stalls and spins. Another undesirable
characteristic produced from tail-heavy loading is that it produces very light control
forces. This makes it easy for the pilot to inadvertently overstress the airplane.
The manufacturer establishes limits for the location of the airplane's center
of gravity. These are the fore and aft limits beyond which the CG should not be
located for flight. These limits are published for each airplane in the Type Certificate
Data Sheet, or Aircraft Specification and the Airplane Flight Manual or Pilot's
Operating Handbook (AFM/POH). If, after loading, the CG is not within the allowable
limits, it will be necessary to relocate some items within the airplane before flight is
attempted.



Image source : http://avstop.com/ac/weightbalance/ch1.html
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8 Source: www.http://aeronauticalknowledgehandbookmanual.blogspot.ca/

6.1 MANUFACTURERS POINT OF VIEW ON BALANCE AND C.G. 9

Limits for the location of the airplane's center of gravity are established by
the manufacturer. These are the fore and aft limits beyond which the CG should not
be located for flight. These limits are published for each airplane in the Type
Certificate Data Sheet, or Aircraft Specification and the Airplane Flight Manual or
Pilot's Operating Handbook (AFM/POH). If, after loading, the CG is not within the
allowable limits, it will be necessary to relocate some items within the airplane before
flight is attempted.
For some airplanes the CG limits, both fore and aft, may be specified to vary
as gross weight changes. They may also be changed for certain operations such as
acrobatic flight, retraction of the landing gear, or the installation of special loads and
devices that change the flight characteristics
The forward center-of-gravity limit is often established at a location that is
determined by the landing characteristics of the airplane. During landing, which is
one of the most critical phases of flight, exceeding the forward CG limit may result in
excessive loads on the nosewheel; a tendency to nose over on tailwheel type
airplanes; decreased performance; higher stalling speeds; and higher control forces.
In extreme cases, a CG location that is forward of the forward limit may result in
nose heaviness to the extent that it may be difficult or impossible to flare for landing.
The aft center-of-gravity limit is the most rearward position at which the CG
can be located for the most critical maneuver or operation. As the CG moves aft, a
less stable condition occurs, which decreases the ability of the airplane to right itself
after maneuvering or turbulence.
Manufacturers purposely place the forward CG limit as far rearward as
possible to aid pilots in avoiding damage to the airplane when landing. In addition to
decreased static and dynamic longitudinal stability, other undesirable effects caused
by a CG location aft of the allowable range may include extreme control difficulty,
violent stall characteristics, and very light stick forces that make it easy to overstress
the airplane inadvertently.
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9 Source: http://www.free-online-private-pilot-ground-school.com/weight_and_balance.html

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7. TRANSPORT CANADA CIVIL AVIATION (T.C.C.A.) GUIDELINES FOR WEIGHT AND BALANCE

Lets take a look at some of the actual regulations laid down by Transport Canada
and the Acceptable Methods of Compliance (A.M.C.) of these regulations.
It is useful to know the regulations that guide the operations of aircraft in over 90 Airports
with NAV Canada ATC towers and the 5.5 million aircraft movements annually
(source: www.cacairports.ca as of 2016 and with + 0.2% increase from 2015)
Below are some of the regulations as mentioned on the Transport Canada Website :
http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/programs/environment-air-index.htm

Only the relevant sections pertaining to weight and balance of the aircraft have been
reproduced here.

7.1 PART V - STANDARD 571 APPENDIX C, PART VI , STANDARD 625 APPENDIX C

Part V - Standard 571 Appendix C - Aircraft Weight and


Balance Control
a) The empty weight of an aircraft stated in a weight and balance report shall include all items
required by the basis of the aircraft type certification, and all additional items of installed
equipment. Any item not forming part of the type design shall be entered in an equipment list
with its associated weight and moment. This list constitutes a part of the weight and balance
report.

(b) Weight and Balance reports shall be certified by signing a maintenance release.

Part VI - General Operating and Flight Rules


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Standard 625 APPENDIX C - Out of Phase Tasks and


Equipment Maintenance Requirements

9. Weight and Balance


Except as provided for in an approved fleet empty weight and balance control program,
all large aircraft shall be reweighed and an updated report prepared every five years.

OUR INTERPRETATION

As per Canadian aviation regulations, all commercially operated aircraft must be weighed
every 5 years and this weight must correspond within limits set aside by the manufacturer
of the airplane. Most aeroplanes gain weight over time. A list of definitions in the definition
section also explain the different types of weights that are associated with an aircraft such
as Empty Weight, MTOW Maximum Take Off Weight and more. The regulation of Part 5,
Standard 571 puts forth what items are to be taken into consideration during the weighing
process of the aeroplane.
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7.2 OTHER REGULATIONS FROM THE T.C.C.A.

Advisory Circular (AC) No. 703-004

1.1 Purpose
(1)
The purpose of this AC is to notify Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) and the
aviation industry that segmented weight has been established as one of the acceptable
methods of determining passenger weights for weight and balance calculation of the
aeroplane involved in operations under Subpart 703 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations
(CARs).

1.2 Applicability
(1) Segmented weights are applicable:

o (a) To passengers (male and female) aged 12 years and older; and

o (b) To the weight and balance control of aeroplanes that are operated under Subpart
703 of the CARs.

With the coming into effect of Subsection 723.37(3) of the Commercial Air Service
(2)

Standards (CASS) on 30 July 2012, weight and balance calculations for aeroplanes operating
under Subpart 703 of the CARs can no longer use the standard passenger weights published
in Rules of the Air and Traffic Services (RAC) 3.5 Weight and Balance Control in Transport
Canada Publication (TP 14371) Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM) Table 1 - Standard
Weights or Passengers Aged 12 years and older. The amended standard calls for operators
of aeroplanes under Subpart 703 of the CARs to determine the weight of passengers by using
either actual weights or segmented weights - (TCCA published or air operator derived), as
described in this AC.

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3.0 Background
(1)Accurate calculation of weight and balance for every phase of flight and ensuring that
it is within the aeroplanes permissible limits is mandatory not only for compliance with the
airworthiness certificate of the aeroplane but also for conformity with the regulations. Analysis
of the accidents involving aeroplanes operated under Subpart 703 of theCARs revealed that
five of those accidents were attributable to the over-weight condition of the aeroplane, four of
them being fatal causing 24 fatalities.

3.3 Risk Factor


(1)
To optimize revenue and to remain competitive, Subpart 703 of the CARs operators
normally operated their aeroplanes at the limits of their weight and balance envelope. In such
cases, the use of standard weights may reveal that the aeroplane is operating within its
weight and balance limits in the flight log, but in reality, it may exceed its limitations, thus
posing a risk to safety.

(2)
In Canada, over 3,560 small aeroplanes are being operated under Subpart 703 of the
CARs. They operate over a thousand flights daily. The sheer volume of these operations
combined with the probability of exceeding the maximum weight limits induced by using
standard weights exposed a serious weakness in the system. Often, flight crew and operators
opt to use standard weights, over-riding the suspicion that its use may result in an overweight
condition, because it mathematically establishes conformity with the Aircraft Flight Manual
(AFM) even though in reality it may not. This is not only an infraction of Subsection 703.37(1)
of the CARs which requires that the aeroplane be operated within its weight and balance
envelope in every phase of its flight, but also an unsafe practise because it nullifies the
airworthiness certificate.

OUR INTERPRETATION

The Advisory Circular NO. 703 004 aims to inform all operators within Canadian
Airspace of using estimated weights of passengers for weight and balance calculations
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

24

instead of real passenger weights. In the US, the use of estimated weights for some of the
flights showed vast deviations from actual weight considerations of passengers.


Hence, this Advisory Circular first popped up in the United States titled Advisory
Circular 120 27 E Aircraft Weight and Balance Control. Very soon, most other countries
including Canada followed suite with the development of their own Advisory Circulars. Also
in this AC information is provided about the 3500 small aeroplanes in Canada, which are
airplanes weighing less than 5700 kg Max Take Off Weight. In the case of repeated
overweight flights, there is a chance of the suspension of the Certificate of Airworthiness by
the authorities therefore grounding the aircraft for an indefinite amount of time.

7.3 DIVISION III - FLIGHT OPERATIONS

Division III - Flight Operations


Only relevant sections pertaining to this project are adapted here. For a complete section
of the regulations please see:
Complete Division III - Flight Operations

RS743.37 Weight and Balance Control

The operator may meet the requirements of the regulations and standards through any
means so long as these items are addressed:

1. The weight and balance calculation is accurate and complete;


2. Weight and balance tables when provided, must address the various possible
passenger, fuel and cargo loadings;
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

25

3. Weight and balance tables when precalculated, must cater for various
configurations;
4. Any process developed for weight and balance control must meet the standards
and be preapproved; and
5. For compliance with the CARs, CG "location" may refer to a range of safe values
contained in the pre-calculated weight and balances tables. The range of values
should cover the CG at maximum and minimum permissible fuel.

4. Operational Requirements:

The weight and balance control system shall be detailed in the company operations
manual and shall include:

1. How, before each flight, the air operator shall establish the accuracy of items
listed in Subsections 723.37(1) to (7) of the CASS;
2. Preparation and disposition of all required documentation, whether completed by
the air operator or other qualified personnel authorized by the air operator, are
listed below;
3. The procedure to establish the maximum allowable weights for the flight and to
ensure that it does not exceed the AFM weight limits specified for various phases
of the flight.

5. Computerized Systems:

1. Where load data are generated by a computerized weight and balance system,
the operator must verify the integrity of the output data by a check to be
performed at intervals not exceeding 6 months; and
2. There must be a means in place to identify the person inputting the data for the
preparation of every load manifest and the identity of that person must be
authenticated and verified by the system and retained as required for paper
copies.
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

26

6. On-Board Weight and Balance Systems:

1. The advantage of this system over the traditional system of calculating the weight
and balance is that this system calculates the actual weight and CG within its
tolerance limits, eliminating the requirement for manual estimates and
calculations. It can cater for last minute changes. An air operator must obtain
approval to use an on-board weight and balance computer system as a primary
source for dispatch. The on board system equipment has to be approved either
through a TC or STC. The operator shall demonstrate the system reliability and
accuracy for obtaining certification for its usage for flight dispatch. The procedure
shall be detailed in the COM. Guidance contained in FAA AC 20-161 (latest
version) may be used, as applicable to the Canadian context.

3. What is the purpose of the air operators weight and balance control?

The Regulations require that the aircraft shall never be outside the weight and centre of
gravity limitations as specified in the AFM or the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH).
There is no escape from this obligation. The air operators weight and balance control
should be focused on meeting this commitment. It does not matter what means are
used for computing the weight and balance of the aeroplane, as long as it ensures that
the aircraft conforms to its weight and balance limitations at all times.

4. Who is responsible for exercising the weight and balance control?

The air operator is responsible for establishing, implementing and ensuring the
accuracy of its weight and balance control; obtaining approval from TCCA prior to its
implementation; detailing the procedure in the COM and to train its personnel to acquire
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

27

the required competencies. The PIC, being the final authority for the flight, is ultimately
responsible for ensuring that the aircrafts weight and balance is never in excess of its
limitations. The PIC has no relief from this responsibility.

5. Why is there an increased restriction in the weight and balance control for
subpart 703 air operators?

More than a thousand flights operate daily under subpart 703. Most of these flights
operate at their weight limitations and use standard weights for their weight and balance
calculations. TSB determined that for small passenger seating capacity aircraft, use of
standard passenger weights underestimate the actual weight of the passengers,
resulting in the aircraft being overweight when actually loaded. Therefore, the sheer
number that flights that operate at their maximum gross weights and the prospect that
because of the use of standard weights, though these flights in the weight and balance
document appear to be operating within their weight and balance envelope could in
reality be operating outside of it, expose these aircraft and the industry to a high degree
of risk. Increased restriction in weight calculations for subpart 703 air operators was
introduced to mitigate this risk.

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

28

8. REQUIREMENTS OF WEIGHT AND BALANCE AS PER FEDERAL AVIATION


ADMINISTRATION (U.S.A.) AS PER FAA - 8083 - 30 - CHAPTER 12

Regulations do not require periodic weighing of privately owned and
operated aircraft. Such aircraft are usually weighed when originally certificated or
after major alterations that can affect the weight and balance. The primary purpose
of aircraft weight and balance control is safety. Manufacturers conduct extensive
flight tests to establish loading limits for their aircraft because limit information is
critical for safe flight. A secondary purpose is to aid efficiency during flight.
Overloading of the aircraft is not the only concern; the distribution of the weight is
important also. The aircraft has CG limits, and any loading that places the CG
outside the established limits seriously impairs controllability of the aircraft.

Weight and balance is of such vital importance that each Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) certificated mechanic or repairman maintaining an aircraft
must be fully aware of his or her responsibility to provide the pilot with current and
accurate information for the actual weight of the aircraft and the location of the CG.
The pilot in command (PIC) is responsible for knowing the weight of the load, CG,
maximum allowable weight, and CG limits of the aircraft. The weight and balance
report must include an equipment list showing weights and moment arms of all
required and optional items of equipment included in the certificate empty weight.


Source: www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/









WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

29

8.1 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATION TITLE 14 - 14 CFR 11


23.1589 Loading information.


The following loading information must be furnished:
(a) The weight and location of each item of equipment that can be easily
removed, relocated, or replaced and that is installed when the airplane was
weighed under the requirement of 23.25.
(b) Appropriate loading instructions for each possible loading condition between the
maximum and minimum weights established under 23.25, to facilitate the center of
gravity remaining within the limits established under
23.23.

21.5 Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual.


(a) With each airplane or rotorcraft that was not type certificated with an
Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual and that has had no flight time prior to
March 1, 1979, the holder of a Type Certificate (including a Supplemental
Type Certificate) or the licensee of a Type Certificate shall make available to the
owner at the time of delivery of the aircraft a current approved Airplane or
Rotorcraft Flight Manual
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

30

91.9 Civil aircraft flight manual, marking, and placard requirements.


(a) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, no person may operate a civil
aircraft without complying with the operating limitations specified in the approved
Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual, markings, and placards, or as otherwise prescribed
by the certificating authority of the country of registry.
(b) No person may operate a U.S.-registered civil aircraft
(1) For which an Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual is required by 21.5
of this chapter unless there is available in the aircraft a current, approved
Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual or the manual provided for in
21.141(b);

11 Source: forums - jetliners discussion on 14 CFR

8.2 EMPTY WEIGHT AND CENTER OF GRAVITY: CURRENCY REQUIREMENT 14 CFR 135.185 12

135.185 Empty weight and center of gravity: Currency requirement.


(a) No person may operate a multiengine aircraft unless the current empty weight and
center of gravity are calculated from values established by actual weighing of the aircraft
within the preceding 36 calendar months.
(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to -
(1) Aircraft issued an original airworthiness certificate within the preceding 36 calendar
months; and
(2) Aircraft operated under a weight and balance system approved in the operations
specifications of the certificate holder.

12 Source : https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

31

ON A LIGHTER NOTE:


SOURCE: h
ttp://www.slowtrav.com/blog/palma/2011/03/pilots_and_control_towers.html

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

32

9. THE LOAD SHEET

An aircraft is pretty similar to a coach, both have passenger seats and room for baggage.
However, unlike a coach we cant just board an aircraft, fill it with fuel, baggage and cargo
and set off. Essentially the load control process allows for the maximisation of payload, all
important for generating revenue whilst ensuring that the aircraft still takes off, flies and
lands safely. 14

For most aircraft in the transport category a load sheet must be prepared for each flight.
This is normally signed by a Loading Officer and must also be signed by the Commander of
the aircraft. It may be signed by the Commander only. One copy travels with the aircraft and
one is retained at base. Aircraft not exceeding 2730 kg and helicopters may carry the
second copy of the load sheet in an approved container if it is not reasonably practicable to
leave it on the ground. The load sheet is valid for that flight, but must be retained for six
months.
EXCEPTIONS
Aircraft with a maximum total weight authorised (MTWA) not exceeding 1150 kg (2500 lbs)
Aircraft with an MTWA not exceeding 2730 kg (6000 lbs) when a flight is intended not to
exceed 60 minutes AND is either:
a flight intended to begin and end at the same aerodrome, or

a flight for the purpose of training persons to perform duties on the aircraft.13

13 Source: Air Service Training, Perth, Scotland - Notes, EASA Part 66 module 7 Chapter 14 As per
European Air Law as enforced through Civil Aviation Authority, United Kingdom.

14 Source http://aviationknowledge.wikidot.com/aviation:load-control

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

33

9.1 PREPARATION OF A LOAD SHEET 15


To prepare a load sheet the pilot or loading officer will require information from several
sources.
The Loading and Distribution Schedule or the Weight and C of G schedule will give the Basic
Weight and C of G position. It will also give the lever arms of the seats, fuel tanks and cargo
compartments, fuel capacity, weight and lever arms of standard equipment etc.
The Flight Manual (or C of A, if there is no Flight Manual) will specify the Max Take Off
Weight and the permissible C of G range.
Limitations will also be given in the Flight Manual concerning the loading of cargo holds or
compartments, giving for example the maximum load per square foot of floor area. Other
relevant information such as access to each compartment will also be included.
The operator's Operations Manual will detail how loading is to be achieved.
The loading of very large aircraft is complex and may require a team of specialists,
particularly if the lateral C of G is also required to be established.

15 Source: Air Service Training, Perth, Scotland - Notes, EASA Part 66 module 7 Chapter 14 As per
European Air Law as enforced through Civil Aviation Authority, United Kingdom.

However in todays modern computer dependant industry, a special team called Load
Control will generate this sheet remotely without even having to visit the airplane.

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

34

9.2 SAMPLE AIRCRAFT LOAD SHEET


Image Source: https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/File:Loadsheet.png
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

35

10. LOADING PROCEDURES16

It is essential that the dispatcher, or other official assigned responsibility for


overseeing aircraft loading, specifies the loading requirement correctly and has a reliable
method by which he/she can be satisfied that his/her instructions have been carried out as
requested. Whilst modern automated systems may determine the seating options for
passengers and the load disposition, effective procedures and compliance remain the only
way of ensuring that what has been specified and passed to the aircraft commander has
actually been achieved.
Specification of the hold compartment loading is usually achieved by the completion
of a Loading Instruction Form (LIF). The LIF is given to the loading supervisor who certifies
that it has been complied with and returns it to the issuer as evidence that the work has
been completed. The completed load and trim sheet are then given to the aircraft
commander.
The human supervisor must also have a reliable means of confirming that if
dangerous goods are loaded the dangerous goods regulations are complied with and a
Notification to Captain (NOTOC) is issued and duly signed by the aircraft commander. The
original NOTOC is retained by the aircraft commander onboard and a copy is held at the
departure point. The human supervisor must also confirm that any special requirements
for securing unusual items in the holds or in the passenger cabin have been complied with.


16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

36

10.1 FUEL LOADING AND DISTRIBUTION16


Many swept wing jet transport aircraft use fuel distribution to optimize the
centre of gravity in cruise to reduce fuel burn. This is achieved by keeping the C of G
towards the aft limits of the envelope by utilizing outboard wing, aft body or
horizontal stabilizer fuel tanks. It is the aircraft commanders responsibility to
ensure that the fuel load prior to takeoff is correctly distributed and reflected on the
load/trim sheet and maintained within the prescribed limits for the remainder of the
flight.

10.2 TRADITIONAL LOAD AND TRIM SHEETS16


The traditional method for ensuring load and trim compliance dates from the
days when all load and trim sheets were completed manually on specific forms
designed for use with each aircraft type, and is as follows:
the completed document is presented to the aircraft commander
the aircraft commander checks that it is internally consistent by carrying out
some simple cross checks of input and calculated output data for gross
errors and,
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

37

if the cross checks are satisfactory, the commander formally accepts the load
and trim sheet by means of a signature on at least two copies, one being
retained by the departure agent and the other by the flight crew.
The DCS (Departure Control Systems) process is slightly different in that only
the input data need be checked and the completed document may not necessarily
be signed by the agent presenting it, as he/she may have had no part in its
preparation.
However, in both cases, the acceptance of an apparently correct load and
trim sheet does not guarantee that the aircraft has necessarily been loaded as
stated.

16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim

10.3 Departure Control Systems (DCS) 16


Most Load and Trim Sheets used today in commercial air transport
operations by multi-crew aircraft are produced by contracted Handling Agents who
input flight-specific data into a proprietary DCS. There are a number of commercial
DCS products available. Some are operated by large airlines for their own use and

then also employed to generate external user business. Other similar DCS are
operated independently of any particular airline. Where DCS are used, the data
input and electronic generation of the load and trim sheet may be carried out at a
regional centre and merely printed off, together with corresponding LIF, by the
aircraft operator or the contracted handling agent employees. Note that DCS will
only produce output data as accurate as the inputs, so it is important to guard
against input errors.

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

38

10.4 MANUAL LOAD SHEETS 16


Manual Load sheets involve a pro forma calculation of Maximum Ramp


Weight (MRW), Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) and Maximum Landing Weight
(MLW) whilst the centre of gravity is located by marking the requisite aircraft
operating weight (vertical scale) on a drop line located on a centre of gravity index
scale which forms the horizontal axis. If the position so found is within the areas
shown as the permitted safe flight envelope, (and remains within the safe area as
fuel reduces to planned landing weight) then operation as loaded is possible.



16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim



Manual preparation of load and trim sheets used to be commonplace but
they are now used so infrequently that recalling the necessary method can be
challenging to ground staff and flight crew alike. Many younger pilots have seldom
or never prepared a manual load and trim sheet or checked one for acceptance; this
unfamiliarity significantly increases the risk of undetected errors with significant
consequences. It is good practice to complete a manual load sheet once a month to
develop and sustain proficiency against the day one suddenly becomes essential at
short notice. 16






WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

39

10.5 AIRCRAFT COMMANDERS' ACCEPTANCE OF LOAD AND TRIM SHEETS 16


The aircraft commander must be given a copy of the completed load and trim sheet
for the flight and should check and sign it, leaving a copy at the point of departure.
The aircraft commander is obliged to accept that the aircraft is loaded as stated in
respect of the Hold Loading (Cargo Loading ). However, in respect of Passenger Cabin
Loading the senior cabin crew member usually confirms the number of passengers actually
on board by means of a headcount after boarding has been completed.

16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim

10.6 ELECTRONIC FLIGHT BAG GENERATION OF LOAD AND TRIM DATA16

For some flights, especially but not only cargo flights, the flight crew have an
electronic flight bag (EFB) which they use to calculate aircraft performance data, which
takes account of the completed load and trim sheet. They also use the EFB to make the
load and trim calculations themselves, so that once it has been checked, all that is required
is that a copy be left with the agent at the point of departure. Clearly, it is vital that a
rigorous process of cross checking is included in the preparation of such documentation to
avoid input errors. Cross Checking does not mean simply repeating the numbers
selected/presented but also confirming that they make sense in relation to the actual
situation.


16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

40

10.7 PROVISIONAL AND FINAL LOAD SHEETS 16


DCS and the communication facility afforded by ACARS (aircraft Communicaitons


Addressing and Reporting System) has allowed aircraft commanders to be given
substantially complete and correct loading documents with provisional status in plenty of
time before STD; final status documents with highlighted minor amendments (also known
as Last Minute Changes - LMC) can be generated as the aircraft leaves the gate for
acceptance via ACARS at any time before take-off commences.


16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim

10.8 ADJUSTMENT OF THE LAST MINUTE CHANGES (LMC) 16


It is often necessary to adjust the loadsheet after completion. These
adjustments are called last minute changes (LMC). The LMC process is a way to
enter late alterations/updates to a final manual or electronically produced
loadsheet, without requiring revisions to the main body or the preparation of a new
document. Guidance material on the LMC is made available by UK CAA: CAP 1008
Last minute changes (LMC).
Any LMC increase or change must not exceed the:
allowable underload calculation (Underload is the weight that still is available
until the first limiting maximum weight is reached).
maximum mass and balance limits for zero fuel, take-off or landing
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

41

limitation of any compartment that is intended to be used



There is a maximum allowable change to the number of passengers or hold
load as an LMC, which will be specified in the individual operators Operations
Manual for each aircraft type. Operators must also specify a similar rule for changes
to the balance condition, to be defined in index units.
If there are changes to fuel quantities and/or locations, the weight and
balance figures should be fully recalculated and new documentation produced
because of the significance in terms of the aircraft mass and balance condition.
However, some operators may permit fuel LMCs for lesser quantities, so fuel mass
and index data must be made available and should be checked.
If any LMC occurs after the completion of the mass and balance
documentation, it must be brought to the attention of the captain and clearly
entered on the documentation. The captain should amend the mass and balance
sheet, but it is essential that it is recorded on the copy kept at the point of
departure.

16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim

10.9 RISKS ARISING FROM AIRCRAFT LOADING 16


The primary risks arise from the aircraft being set up for take off with
incorrect pitch, trim and/or take off reference speeds. This can arise in one of three
ways:
The aircraft is not loaded in the way stated on the accepted load and trim
sheet (applicable to any load sheet type)
The aircraft load and trim sheet uses correct input data but the output data
is wrong (applicable to manual load sheets)
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

42

The flight crew apply the (correct) load and trim data incorrectly when using
it to calculate aircraft take-off performance data, including reference speeds
and scheduled thrust settings.
The hold load is not properly secured or contains prohibited or incorrectly
packed items.

10.10 CONSEQUENCES OF ACTUAL MISLOADING


OR INCORRECT INPUT OF LOAD-RELATED DATA 16

Either actual miss-loading of an aircraft or incorrect use of correct load


related data for aircraft systems set up can severely affect aircraft performance,
stability and control. Loss of Control may occur during an attempted take off or
during subsequent flight because either:
an attempt (usually inadvertent) is being made to operate the aircraft outside
the AFM limits, or
flight crew actions to control the aircraft are ineffective because the aircraft is
unable to achieve the expected performance, whether in relation to manually
selected or FMS generated safety speeds on the ASI(e.g Vr) or selected engine
thrust parameters.



16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim


One potential consequence of an error in loading or data entry is tailstrike on
take off. This will usually lead to fuel dumping and a return to the take-off airfield,
without pressurizing the cabin and is not career enhancing for any of the pilots,
even the relief crew. Even more serious, Runway Excursion has been a regular result
of errors of both these types in the past, whether or not an R.T.O. (Rejected Take
Off ) has been attempted. 16

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

43

Given the potential severity of a mistake in loading, of transferring erroneous


weight and balance figures however derived, of entering erroneous data into the
aircraft management systems (FMS) or miss-setting Air Speed Indicator speed bugs,
both pilots should always carry out Gross Error checks. Seniority does not imbue
data entry infallibility! Amongst other checks, it is vital to confirm that the Zero Fuel
Weight is sensible and then that the indicated Take-Off Weight is as expected. 16

16 Source https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim

11. A LOOK INTO THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE ANALYSIS OF AIRCRAFT WEIGHT AND
BALANCE RELATED SAFETY OCCURRENCES PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAAL LUCHT- EN
RUIMTEVAARTLABORATORIUM (NATIONAL AEROSPACE LIBRARY - THE NETHERLANDS)

FOR FULL DOCUMENT, PLEASE SEE THE URL w
ww.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/1149.pdf

Each year there are a number of aircraft accidents related to weight and balance
Issues. Such accidents have occurred due to for instance incorrect loading of the
aircraft and the use of wrong takeoff weight for performance calculations amongst
others. Description of work Weight and balance related accidents are analysed that
have occurred with commercial aircraft worldwide since 1970. Furthermore weight
and balance related incidents as reported by airlines are analysed for the period
1997-2004. Factual information, causal factors, and trends of weight and balance
related accidents and incidents are analysed using the data sample. Finally the
influence of technologies such as onboard weight and balance systems is discussed.

11.1 FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

The important findings of the study are that the risk of having a weight and balance
related accident with cargo flights is 8.5 times higher than with passenger flights; that there
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

44

are various factors involved in weight and balance accidents/incidents such as errors in the
load sheet, shifting of cargo, incorrect loading etc.; and that automatic onboard aircraft
weight and balance systems could resolve most of the weight and balance problems
identified in the present study. However the accuracy and reliability of such systems is
currently insufficient to enforce the use of these systems on commercial aircraft as primary
means for determining the weight and balance.

11.2 ANALYSIS OF OCCURRENCE DATA

Searches were conducted in the NLR Air Safety database for accidents (as
defined by ICAO Annex 13) that were directly related to weight and balance issues.
The query was focused on those cases in which the certified weight and balance
limits were exceeded. The search covered the time period 1970-2005 and
encompassed civil transport aircraft with a take off mass of 5,500 kg or higher,
equipped with turbo jet/fan or turbo prop engines. Included were passenger and
cargo flights. Excluded from the data sample were test flights, ferry flights,
emergency/precautionary landings and occurrences related to sabotage or any
other criminal act.
The query resulted in 82 accidents that met the above mentioned criteria.
There were 34 (41%) accidents with one or more onboard fatalities. The data sample
comprises of 50 (61%) passenger flights and 32 (39%) cargo flights. These
frequencies of flight types are not very meaningful unless they are related to the
flight exposure of each flight type as many more passenger flights are conducted
than cargo flights. With the NLR Air Safety database it is possible to calculate the
exposure of civil passenger or cargo transport aircraft from 1970 and onwards.
For the period 1970-2005 it is calculated that 7% of all revenue flights are full
cargo flights and 93% of all revenue flights are full passenger flights. This means that
the risk of having a weight and balance related accident is about 8.5 times higher
with a cargo flight than with a passenger flight. The distribution of the flight phase in
the data sample is shown in Figure 2 below. Clearly the take off phase is by far the
most critical in weight and balance related accidents for both passenger and cargo
flights accounting for more than half of all accidents.


WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

45


Source: www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/1149.pdf





Figure 3 (below) shows the factors that are involved in accidents related to
weight and balance. A distinction is made between passenger and cargo flights in
this figure. Although there are some differences in the frequency of factors between
passenger and cargo flights, some care should be taken when drawing conclusions
from this as the data sample of factors is not always sufficiently large to do so.
However still some observations can be made with confidence.
Shifted (not secured) cargo is a factor that is often present in cargo flights
and is much less observed in passenger flights. Exceedance of the aft centre of
gravity limits occurs more often than exceedances of the forward limit. This applies
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

46

to both passenger and cargo flights. Overweight take offs occur more often than
overweight landings. However there is no systematic difference between passenger
and cargo flights when looking at overweight take offs and landings.


Source: www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/1149.pdf

The results from Figure 3 suggest that this is mainly the result of accidents in
which shifted cargo, that was not secured properly, was a factor. This was the case
in 40% of all cargo accident flights and only in 10% of the passenger flights.
Furthermore many of the accidents related with cargo flights analysed here
WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

47

involved smaller airlines that operated in regions with a low safety performance in
general5). These small cargo airlines were often found to have low standards and
did not have a quality control system in place. Also the oversight by the regulators in
some countries of these smaller cargo airlines and the ground agents was often
found to be insufficient.

In Figure 4 the trend in the accident rate is shown for the study period. Data from
both passenger and cargo flights are combined to obtain a sufficient high statistical
accuracy in the calculated rates. The data show that over the years the accident rate of
weight and balance related occurrences has reduced by a factor two.

Source: www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/1149.pdf

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

48

The change in the accident rate since 1970 shown in Figure 4 above, shows an
optimistic trend. However the actual progress made in safety is rather small. For instance
in the period running from 1980 to 1995, the accident rate remained nearly constant.
Towards the end of the nineties rate started to drop again. It is difficult to say what has
caused to this improvement. Most likely it is a combination of a number of factors.

In Figure 5 below, the distribution of the accident rate by world region is shown. It is clear
from this figure that there exist large differences amongst the different regions regarding
the accident rate.
For reasons of statistical accuracy the whole study period studied is used to estimate the
region rates.

WEIGHT AND BALANCE OF AIRCRAFT

49

The differences in accident rates for the different world regions as shown Figure 5
are not a surprise. These differences in rates can also be observed when considering
overall accident rates for these regions. Clearly, the African region is the most vulnerable
regarding weight and balance accidents. Surprisingly this is not caused by cargo flights.
Passenger flights are more often involved in weight and balance related accidents in the
Africa region.
Source: www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/1149.pdf

11.3 ONBOARD AIRCRAFT WEIGHT AND BALANCE SYSTEMS

The majority (more than 90%) of weight and balance problems identified in
this paper could be eliminated if there was a system available to the flight crew that
would do an automatic onboard weight and balance assessment. In the past
accident investigation boards have often recommended the development of such
primary6 onboard weight and balance systems.
Attempts to develop an onboard weight and balance system go back to the
1940s. Unfortunately, many of those attempts failed to deliver a system that was
accurate and reliable enough to be used as a primary system. Therefore
implementation of onboard weight and balance systems has been limited. In 1998,
an evaluation of the reliability of onboard weight and balance systems conducted by
the FAA showed that (cargo) operators had concerns with onboard weight and
balance systems. Operators noted reliability problems resulting in unnecessary
delays and maintenance burden.
However, their biggest concern was with the accuracy of the system. Large
differences were noted between the centre of gravity position determined by the
onboard systems and the centre of gravity position determined by the operators
primary weight and balance method. These large differences and the reliability
problems resulted in a lack of confidence in the system by the flight crew. These
issues generally result from the wide range of the operating environment the
onboard systems have to deal with. In many cases the system was deactivated by
the operators due to these reliability and accuracy problems.
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Therefore the FAA stated (in 1998) that the results of its evaluation did not
support imposing a requirement to install a system that displays airplane weight
and balance and gross weight in the cockpit of transport-category cargo airplanes.
The advances of a primary onboard weighing system go further than safety
only. In fact the operator can gain more operational flexibility and reduce cost. In
theory a primary onboard weight and balance system should measure the actual
weight and centre of gravity location of an aircraft. As a result an operator may not
need to include certain curtailments to the loading envelope to account for variables
such as passenger seating variation or variation in passenger weight giving more
flexibility. However, an operator still needs to curtail the loading envelope for any
system tolerances that may result in centre of gravity or weight errors.
As an alternative to onboard systems there are efforts to develop systems to
rapidly weigh and automatically track passenger and baggage weight and location
data as passengers board aircraft. The rapid development in different technological
advances such as hand-held devices and wireless bar code scanners indicate that it
may be feasible to compile actual weight data and account for the weight location,
which can result in a reliable calculation of actual aircraft weight and balance.

Source: www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/1149.pdf

12. EXAMPLES OF SOME TYPICALLY WEIGHT AND BALANCE RELATED ACCIDENTS

12.1 OVERWEIGHT TAKE OFF B727-200 (PP-LBY), FLY LINEAS AEREAS, QUITO AIRPORT,
ECUADOR, 01/05/1996. Source: Air Safety Database

During take off from runway 35 at Quito, the crew felt that the aircraft was
not accelerating quickly enough and was not reaching the calculated V speeds.
Therefore the crew elected to abort the take off at 120 knots (V1=143 knots). The
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runway was wet and the available runway length left to stop the aircraft was only
900 meters (3000 ft.). The aircraft could not be stopped on the runway and overran
the end. It came to rest some 130 meters from the runway end after having struck
an ILS antenna and the airport perimeter fence. The maximum take off weight was
exceeded by some 9,729 kg (+16%) for the conditions at Quito. It was determined
after the accident that the crew had not calculated the weight and balance for the
flight. Instead they had used the load sheet from a previous flight.



Image Source: http://www.baaa-acro.com/1996/archives/crash-of-a-boeing-727-200-in-quito/

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12.2 OVERWEIGHT TAKE OFF WITH AN EXCEEDANCE OF FORWARD CENTRE OF GRAVITY LIMIT
B727-200, 3X-GDO, UNION DES TRANSPORTS AFRICAINS, COTONOU, BNIN, 25-12-2003

(source: BEA Bureau d'Enqutes et d'Analyses pour la Scurit de l'Aviation Civile, report translation
3x-o031225a)

On December 25th, 2003, a Boeing 727 operated by the Union des Transports
Africains (UTA) crashed during take off from Cotonou. There were at least 160 people on
board and only 22 survived. Passenger boarding and baggage loading was carried out in
great confusion. For flight preparation, incomplete information on the loading was
provided to the Captain. He had determined the configuration for take off on the basis of
this information. The investigation showed that, after the brakes were released, the aircraft
accelerated up to rotation speed. As the forward hold had been filled, the aircraft had a
significant forward centre of gravity that the crew had not compensated for with the
stabiliser because they had not been informed of the loading of this hold.
The pilot's nose-up input thus did not have an immediate effect and it took seven
seconds for the aircraft to leave the ground, with a very low slope angle. The aircraft hit a
building located on the extended runway centreline, crashed onto the beach and ended up
in the ocean. The investigation also showed that, without the uncompensated forward
centre of gravity, the aircraft would have taken off despite its excess weight. The
investigation concluded that the accident was due to the crew's difficulties in performing
the rotation with an overloaded aircraft with a forward centre of gravity that they were
unaware of.


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RECOMMENDATIONS AFTER THE ACCIDENT:



Autonomous systems for measuring weight and balance:
Knowing the true weight and balance of the airplane would most likely have
enabled the crew to avoid the accident. In addition, erroneous estimates of these
parameters are quite likely during operations. Onboard autonomous systems are,
however, available and they give an indication of the airplanes weight and balance that is
sufficient to attract the crews attention in case of an abnormal situation.

Consequently, the BEA recommends that:

the civil aviation authorities, in particular the FAA in the United States and the
EASA in Europe, modify the certification requirements so as to ensure the presence, on
new generation airplanes to be used for commercial flights, of on-board systems to
determine weight and balance, as well as recording of the parameters supplied by these
systems;

t he civil aviation authorities put in place the necessary regulatory measures to


require, where technically possible, retrofitting on airplanes used for commercial flights of
such systems and the recording of the parameters supplied.


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Image Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_727#/media/File:B727FAMILYv1.0.png

Image Source : http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-12/28/content_293944.htm


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Image Source https://www.tailstrike.com/Photos/Utage%20141_3.jpg

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13. WEIGHT AND BALANCE PROCEDURE AND CALCULATIONS

Although as per Canadian TCCA and the FAA, for technical purposes, the relevant approved
aircraft manuals are to be referred . The notes given here are for brief summary purposes
only.

13.1 PROCEDURE

PREPARATION OF AIRCRAFT FOR WEIGHING


Source: Module 7 Air Service Training, Perth Scotland EASA Part 147 approved organization Notes:
Chapter 12 Aircraft Handling

Ensure that the aircraft is equipped in accordance with the Loading and Distribution
Schedule, or the Weight and Centre of Gravity Schedule.
Ensure that the engine oil is topped up to the correct level and that only unusable
fuel is in the fuel tanks.
Ensure that the hydraulic system reservoir is topped up to the correct level.
Ensure that the aircraft is clean and dry.
The aircraft should be weighed indoors.

It is first necessary to find the weight of the aircraft acting at the undercarriage positions or
the main jacking positions. The aircraft must be longitudinally and laterally level; it may be
possible to reduce the pressures in the tyres or shock absorbers to achieve this.
The aircraft is weighed by placing the wheels on weighing machines or if jacking the
aircraft, by placing a weighing machine between each jack and the aircraft jacking points.
When weighing the aircraft at the undercarriage positions, mechanical or electrical scales
are used. These may be permanently fitted in the hangar floor, but are usually portable
units with a suitable ramp so that the aircraft can easily be rolled up on to them. If jacking
the aircraft, hydrostatic units (based on hydraulic principles) or electrical units, (based on
the strain gauge principle) are used. The hydrostatic type may not give a direct reading, the
indications may have to be converted using a chart applicable to that type.
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The capacity of the weighing equipment must be correct for the aircraft being weighed. All
weighing equipment should be checked at periods not exceeding one year, and in addition,
the zero indication should be checked before any weighing is carried out.
With the main wheels located centrally on the weighbridge platforms the wheel brakes
should be released and the nose raised or lowered until the fuselage is longitudinally level.
Plumb bobs should be suspended from the centre lines of the main wheel axles on the
inner side of the wheels, and the two positions marked on the floor. The midway point
between these two marks represents the rear reaction point. A plumb bob suspended from
the centre line of the nose jacking point will enable the distance between the front and rear
reaction points to be measured.
Once the weighing figures have been obtained the Basic Weight can be obtained by adding
together the three weights. The position of the Centre of Gravity can be found by using the
following formula:
(A x B) / C

Where A = distance between the front and rear reactions


B = weight at the nose or tail wheel
C = Basic Weight

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13.2 EXAMPLE CALCULATION

A = 145 in
B = 210 lb
C = 210 + 2000 + 1990 = 4200 lb

Thus (A x B) / C = ( 145 x 210 ) / 4200

= 7.25
The C of G is 7.25 in forward of the main wheel centre line.
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Fig 4-20 Fig 4 -12 Fig 4 -15 Source :


https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aircraft/amt_handbook/media/FAA
-8083-30_Ch04.pdf

13.3 CENTER OF GRAVITY REFERENCE DATUM

Source: Module 7 Air Service Training, Perth Scotland EASA Part 147 approved organization Notes:
Chapter 12 Aircraft Handling

Whenever a C of G distance is calculated relative to the main wheel centre line, it should
always be corrected to relate to the reference datum and its associated moment
calculated. This gives the C of G position relative to the reference datum. From this the total
moment can be found, and together with the Basic Weight, it establishes the necessary
mathematical datum point for subsequent calculations which give the C of G position after
loading and preparation for flight.
Centre of Gravity correction to the reference datum is achieved by:
1. Suspending a plumb bob from the reference datum,
2. Measuring the distance, parallel to the aircrafts longitudinal centre line, from the
reference datum to the main wheel reaction point centre line and,
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3. Either adding or subtracting to or from the distance of the C of G from the main
wheel centre line.
The total moment can then be found by multiplying together the arm of the C of G from the
reference datum and the Basic Weight.

For example, if the Basic Weight of the large aircraft inn the example was 83,000 lb the
calculation would be as follows:
Arm of the C of G from reference datum = 159 in
Basic Weight = 83000 lb
= 83000 x 159
Total Moment = 13197000 lb in
The Weight and Centre of Gravity Schedule will state:
Basic Weight = 83000 lb
Centre of Gravity = 159 in aft of the reference datum
Total moment about the datum = 13197000 lb in
NOTE: Once the c of g and its related moment have been established, any subsequent
changes to the aircraft in terms of loading, fuel uplift or modification, etc can be
recalculated from the original Basic Weight and moment.
The most commonly used reference datum adopted by the majority of aircraft
manufacturers is, at, or forward of, the nose of the aircraft (eg fuselage station zero),
for the following reasons:
All items of equipment whether basic or additional will be preceded by a + sign (ie aft of
the datum) thereby simplifying weight and balance computations.
Offers an accessible point for the purposes of measurement and as such the moment of
any item can be easily calculated by its weight and distance relative to its fuselage station.
Provides a common location for future series aircraft, of the type.

Source: Module 7 Air Service Training, Perth Scotland EASA Part 147 approved organization Notes:
Chapter 12 Aircraft Handling

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14. CONCLUSION

In an ever advancing aviation Industry, the need for accuracy and precision is amplified and
also expected from the passengers, many of who use these services on a regular basis.
We have seen from the National Aerospace Library , Netherlands, report of how switching
to an electronic load sheet and Computerised Loading Systems eliminate many of the
errors encountered by human factor of error issues which have caused serious fatalities in
the past like the Union Des Transports Africains accident resulting in more than 140
fatalities. This case has also been presented in this report and studied in brief detail.
Worldwide the weight and balance related accident rate shows a slow improvement since
1970. Nevertheless the accident rate has reduced by almost 50% in 35 years; The likelihood
of a cargo aircraft having a weight and balance related incident is 8.5 times more likely than
a passenger aircraft.
A look at the FAA and TCCA regulations also showed that the regulatory bodies are making
every attempt to keep up with current industry trends, tough as they might be in such a
rapidly expanding industry.
We also looked into the basic calculations for weighing an aircraft and also the calculations
to determine the center of gravity. Although more detailed procedures can be found in the
relevant sections of the aircraft manuals.

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15. REFERENCES

A list of all the websites and URLs used for the creation of this Project Report are
mentioned below. All these references are also made in the body of this report
immediately after the article is mentioned. All images contain their references in-situ but
are mentioned here once again for redundancy.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/1.1

http://www.free-online-private-pilot-ground-school.com/

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aircraft/amt_hand
book/media/FAA-8083-30_Ch12.pdf

http://www.free-online-private-pilot-ground-school.com/weight_and_balance.html

http://avstop.com/ac/weightbalance/ch1.html

http://www.http://aeronauticalknowledgehandbookmanual.blogspot.ca/

http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/programs/environment-air-index.htm

https://forums.jetcareers.com/threads/where-is-weight-and-balance-requirement-
in-fars.68607/

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/135.185?qt-ecfrmaster=2#qt-ecfrmaster

http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/palma/2011/03/pilots_and_control_towers.html
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Air Service Training, Perth, Scotland - Notes, EASA Part 66 module 7 Chapter 14 As
per European Air Law as enforced through Civil Aviation Authority, United
Kingdom.

http://aviationknowledge.wikidot.com/aviation:load-control

https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/File:Loadsheet.png

https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Aircraft_Load_and_Trim

http://www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/2678.pdf

https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/AFM

www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/1149.pdf

https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19960501-2

https://www.tailstrike.com/Photos/Utage%20141_3.jpg

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-12/28/content_293944.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_727#/media/File:B727FAMILYv1.0.png

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aircraft/amt_hand
book/media/FAA-8083-30_Ch04.pdf