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The 7 Most Common Weight And Balance Mistakes

Weight and balance mistakes can lead to major problems - and even crashes. Here are 7 of the most common errors.

1) Using improper weight and balance information

When determining the weight and balance for your aircraft, it's crucial that you use the weight and balance for your specific aircraft. Weights between a generic POH and your specific aircraft POH could be considerably different.

2) Math errors

If you're using the computational method to determine weight and balance, it's important that you double check your calculations. A simple miscalculation could put you out of weight and balance limits.


3) Only knowing one method to determine weight and balance

Different aircraft manufacturers will provide various methods to compute weight and balance. These include graphs, tables, and the general computational method. If you need to calculate weight and balance for an aircraft you're not familiar with, you might be using a different method than what you're used to.


4) Overloading the aircraft

Not taking maximum gross weight seriously can have adverse effects on flight characteristics. And remember, max gross weight isn't a performance limitation, it's a structural limitation. You might have the performance to take off, but your airframe may not be strong enough to handle turbulence and G-loading.

Roger Wagner

5) Rounding weights

Try to be as accurate as possible with determining the weights of various items that may be on board. Doing so could prevent accidentally flying an overweight aircraft that you thought was within weight and balance.

Swayne Martin

6) "My plane can fly with more weight!"

If you think that crashes related to weight and balance errors "happens to other people," you may be setting yourself up for a bad situation.


7) Forgetting to convert

When you calculate weight and balance, remember that fuel will be given in gallons, and it's your responsibility to convert gallons to pounds. Forgetting to do so may put your weight and balance computations off by hundreds of pounds.


Corey Komarec

Corey is a commercial aviation student and commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings who attends the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota. He has been flying since his junior year of high school and has since started his flight instructing training. You can reach him at

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