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QUESTION: Dear Kevin

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: 1. cargo carrying ability varies with aircraft type.
2. each aircraft has a Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), a maximum zero fuel weight, and a known empty weight.  MTOW varies with density altitude.  There is no alarm per se but there is a weight indicator which can be generated by FMS which will alter you when the weight entered in over the limit.  Cargo aircraft and some passenger aircraft have weight sensors on the landing gear which provide a calculated weight value to an indictor in the cockpit.  The weight value calculated by the crew and entered into the load sheet is the primary reference for adjusting speeds and determining balance field length for takeoff.
3. yes.

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

QUESTION: Dear Kevin

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

To type certify an aircraft the manufacturer must show tests which prove the performance of the aircraft at the operating limits stated in the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) operating documents.

MTOW calculation is empty weight + cargo + passengers + fuel = MTOW

MTOW charts have distance required X1.15 incorporated

No alarms required they have to complete and sign a legal document prior to departing showing calculations made for that flight.  Both pilots check the work and engineer and dispatcher check it.

takeoff accidents most likely for overweight situations.  


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Kevin Parker


I will do my best to answer any question related to my experience. If I don't know, I promise to help you find the answer. Every question deserves an answer.


I have 30 years experience in Commercial Type Rating training, program development, human factors, instructor training, flight simulation and flying large aircraft in general. Operated L188, DC8, B747, B757, A320, A330 and A340 aircraft. Involved in cockpit design, flight testing and type certification.

Aviation college, military flight instructor, ATPL, check airman, maintenance test pilot, Simulator Test and Evaluation Pilot, Production Chief Pilot

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