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Commercial Airplane Op
QUESTION: Dear Cal

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 ?

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: For ALL aircraft, there are maximum weight limits. These limits are specific to each type of airplane. The limits is  usually expressed as Maximum Takeoff Gross Weight (MTOGW). This limit is actually below the weight that woyld totally prohibit takeoff. The Max TOGW is dependent upon air and runway temperature. For instance, an airplane taking off on a hot day in Srinagar might have a lower max TOGW than the same airplane taking off on a cold day in Delhi.

The loading calculations must be done before takeoff. The number of passengers and the cargo are weighed. This information plus aircraft empty weight and weight of the fuel are calculated against airfield elevation and temperature to find max TOGW. If necessary, some cargo or passengers must be removed.

There way also be maximum allowable landing weights, due to the need to not stress the landing gear. Sometimes, an airplane must dump fuel to be able to make a safe landing.

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

QUESTION: Dear Cal

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).

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

The issue of aircraft weight is quite simple. Each airframe has a basic weight (structure, trapped fuel and oil). Design parameters and flight testing establish the maximums I mentioned in the last letter.  Thus, cargo (including pasengers) is not loaded past that weight. Fuel and/or load is adjusted for the length of the flight. Fuel and cargo are loaded to get the proper distribution of weight. In special cases, the airplane can actually be weighed.

You asked if there is a formula. It would be something like "basic weight + fuel and oil + passengers and cargo = total weight."  If the answer is mmore than max TOGW, then fuel or cargo/pax are reduced.

I know of no instrument in the airplane that will show total aircraft weight. That all has to be calculated separately.

As far as accidents go, number one would be most likely. If the airplane can struggle into the air, fuel will be burned off over time, removing the  overwight condition. Then, the crew goes happily on its way to make a safe landing.
Questioner's Rating
 Rating(1-10) Knowledgeability = 10 Clarity of Response = 10 Politeness = 10 Comment Dear Cal Thank you. Thanks & Regards, Prashant S Akerkar

Aerospace/Aviation

Volunteer

#### Cal Taylor

##### Expertise

Questions about the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster, its history, operations and technical information. I wrote and published the definitive history of the C-133, Remembering an Unsung Giant: The Douglas C-133 Cargomaster and Its People. Someone has done a good job of extracting material from my book for the article about the C-133 on AllExperts. I AM NOT an expert on educational opportunities in India or other countries and request that such questions be directed elsewhere. I will not answer such questions because I do not have the knowledge to do so adequately.

##### Experience

I accrued 1,837 hours as a C-133 navigator out of a total of 6,738 flying hours in the USAF. Twelve years of that time were as a crew member, the other years were in various training assignments and as a USAF intelligence officer. My flying experience includes time in the B-52H, C-141, C-133, AC-130, C-130 and the C-5A. I have considerable knowledge in general aviatio history.

Organizations
Air Force Association, Military Officers Association of America, National Association of Uniformed Services, Vasa Order of America

Publications
Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society; Warbirds publication of the Experimental Aircraft Association; Quarterly of the Jimmie Doolittle Museum, Travis AFB, CA

Education/Credentials
BA, HIstory; MA, Asian Studies; MA, Management

Awards and Honors
Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, other military decorations