Weight and Balance


What is weight and balance?

  • Stable verses Unstable
  • Why is it important to compute a weight and balance for every flight?
  1. Affects handling characteristics of the aircraft
  2. Affects performance
  3. May affect the structural integrity
  4. May exceed manufacturer’s limitations
  5. Could create hazardous outcomes

Definitions: PHAK 9-5

  • Arm
  • Basic empty weight
  • Center of gravity (CG)
  • CG limits
  • CG range
  • Datum (reference datum)
  • Delta ∆
  • Floor load limit
  • Fuel load
  • Licensed empty weight
  • Standard empty weight
  • Moment
  • Moment index
  • Payload
  • Standard weights (these weights should not be used if actual weights are available.
  1. Gasoline                 6.b/US gal
  2. Jet A, Jet A-1                     6.8 lb/US gal
  3. Jet B                      6.5 lb/US gal
  4. Oil                          7.5 lb/US gal
  5. Water                     8.35 lb/US gal

How do I computer weight and balance?

  1. AFM/POH chapter 6 is always weight and balance
  • Do a full weight and balance calculation with the aircraft to be flown
  • Explain the chart
  1. What if you were overweight in your calculation?
  • Take less luggage
  • Less fuel
  • Move bags around?
  1. Recalculate weight and balance after moving/removing fuel/items.


Conclusion and Evaluation:

Knowing the weight of your aircraft is important and should alter the way you fly.  Performing the weight and balance calculation for every flight is critical to operating safely within the envelope.  Decide now to never operate outside the recommendations of the manufacturer.