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The 6 Most Common Weight And Balance Mistakes

Thanks to UND Aerospace Phoenix for making this story possible. Check out the full series here. And if you want to become a pilot, learn how to get started at UND Aerospace Phoenix.

Weight and balance mistakes can lead to major problems. Here are 6 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 necessarily a performance limitation, it's often 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.


5) Rounding weights

Try to be as accurate as possible when determining the weight of people and baggage on board. What's the best way to be accurate? Use a scale.


6) 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. 1 gallon of 100LL avgas is 6 pounds. Forgetting to do so may put your weight and balance computations off by hundreds of pounds.


Thinking about becoming a pilot? Get started with UND Aerospace Phoenix, and find out what it takes to start your aviation career here.

Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at

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