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Advanced Math/Airplane Load / Weight.


Commercial Airplane Operators
Commercial Airplane Op  
QUESTION: Dear Prof Randy

1. Is the Cargo carrying capacity (Load, Weight) fixed or standard in all Commercial Airplane Carriers ?. Is this done for Security measure for not exceeding the total weight, load of the airplane i.e passengers, cargo, fuels, airplane etc ?  

2. Is there a certain Total Load or Weight of the Airplane which cannot be exceeded ?. Is this identified by Electronic Instruments panel, Alarms etc indicating the Total Weight, Load of the Airplane to the pilot before flight takes off ?.

3. In case if the Total Load or Weight of a Airplane is exceeded
and still the Pilot tries a take off, can it lead to plane crash ?

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Yes, I'm pretty sure the load capacity (maximum load) of airplanes (commercial or otherwise) is standardized. If it is not an official standard, then Sir Isaac Newton will "weigh" in regardless (pun intended).

Crews have to make an accurate estimate of the weight of the aircraft before it goes anywhere. They use "engineering" formulas to estimate fuel, cargo and people loads. An engineering formula means to use estimates of the weight of each component, add them up and then multiply by a safety factor which should ensure the maximum allowed weight is not exceeded due to inaccuracies in the estimates. This has to be signed off by the ground crew and ultimately the pilot before he'll fly it. I have been on small commuter airplanes (< dozen passengers) where the flight attendent (FA) had us move seats so that the passenger load was distributed more evenly so that the plane would fly more controllably. The FA didn't weigh us but just eyeballed an estimate of our stature and whether we hadn't missed too many meals lately.

I doubt seriously that a total weight of the loaded sircraft is directly measured. Not that this isn't crucial information, but a direct measurement is difficult and not necessary given the comments above.

If a plane is overloaded and the pilot is irresponsible enough to try to take off, it is likely a crash will occur.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Prof Randy

Thank you.

Can this be considered as a part of Airplane Load / Stress Testing methods ?.

Can we derive some mathematical formula or equation to calculate / compute the Total Weight of the Machine (Airplane) before takeoff ?

Parameters : temperature, maximum power of the engines etc

1 Ton = 1000 kg

Example :

1. Aircraft Weight : x kg - Construction (Manufacturing)
2. Fuels Weight : y kg - Construction (Manufacturing)
3. Passengers Weight : z kg - Load - Includes Crew Cabin - Pilot, CoPilot, Captain etc - Load
4. Cargo Weight : - n kg - Load
5. Miscellaneous Weight - Furniture - Seats, Tables, Utensils - Dishes,Glasses etc) - m kg - Load

Total Weight of the Aircraft W in Tons = x + y + z + n + m.

Should we add safety factor value to this total weight ?

Do you feel electronic instrument panels calculating and showing the Total
Weight (Load) of the aircraft can be useful for Pilot before he takes a take off ?. Alarms will buzz to the Cabin Crew if Overload occurs within the aircraft before the Take Off.

Among different accidents, which are the most likely to occur because of Aircraft Overweight ?

1. During Takeoff.
2. During Landing.
3. During Aircraft flight (i.e. After Plane Takeoff and Before landing).

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Prashant, I enjoy answering your questions but I think you might get a better response from another expert, perhaps in a different subject area. You are a very imaginative young person and I encourage you to keep exploring. If you have a question regarding Advanced Math, by all means submit a question to me.

Sincerely, Randy

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randy patton


college mathematics, applied math, advanced calculus, complex analysis, linear and abstract algebra, probability theory, signal processing, undergraduate physics, physical oceanography


26 years as a professional scientist conducting academic quality research on mostly classified projects involving math/physics modeling and simulation, data analysis and signal processing, instrument development; often ocean related

J. Physical Oceanography, 1984 "A Numerical Model for Low-Frequency Equatorial Dynamics", with M. Cane

M.S. MIT Physical Oceanography, B.S. UC Berkeley Applied Math

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