Saturday, September 6, 2008

Effects of Weight

Most modern aircraft are so designed that if all seats are occupied, all baggage allowed by the baggage compartment is carried, and all of the fuel tanks are full, the aircraft will be grossly overloaded. This type of design requires the pilot to give great consideration to the requirements of the trip. If maximum range is required, occupants or baggage must be left behind, or if the maximum load must be carried, the range, dictated by the amount of fuel on board, must be reduced.

Some of the problems caused by overloading an aircraft

  • the aircraft will need a higher takeoff speed, whichresults in a longer takeoff run.
  • both the rate and angle of climb will be reduced.
  • the service ceiling will be lowered.
  • the cruising speed will be reduced.
  • the cruising range will be shortened.
  • maneuverability will be decreased.
  • a longer landing roll will be required because the landing speed will be higher.
  • excessive loads will be imposed on the structure, especially the landing gear.

The POH or AFM includes tables or charts that give the pilot an indication of the performance expected for any weight. An important part of careful preflight planning includes a check of these charts to determine the aircraft is loaded so the proposed flight can be safely made.

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