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mongoose33

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Weight AND balance, not just weight.

I don't know the degree to which that's an issue on airliners, but I know that the difference between flying and not can be relatively few passengers. Once out of DFW in August it was so warm that they had to remove a few passengers from the flight to make weight. My wife and I took their offer of free flights to do so, but you wouldn't think that six passengers would make that big a difference.

Well, it does, for the plane to stay within maximum limits. On hot days and esp. hot humid days, the air is much less dense, and thus less lift is generated by the wings. So weight needs to come off the plane until it's within margins.

BTW, know why the pilot in a 2-place biplane always sits in the back seat? Without a passenger, the pilot's weight is offsetting the weight of the engine; put a single flyer in the front seat and you make the plane too nose-heavy, which is a handling issue.

If you add a passenger, that front seat is over the wings and doesn't affect the plane's center of gravity very much so the plane remains fairly stable to fly.

I earned my private pilot's license in March, and this is just one of the really cool things I learned about flying.
 
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pvpeacock

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Reminds me of the first time I was transporting a gun on a plane. I called the airline to make sure I knew and was following all of the rules. 1. Gun must be unloaded. 2. Gun must be in locked case with no ammunition. 3. You must declare the gun in the locked case with no ammunition when you check in. 4. You must sign a form stating that the gun is unloaded and put it in the locked case.

I did as I was told and after signing the form and putting it in the locked case with the gun, the airline attendant asked "so, do you want to check that or carry it on?" WTF? Smartly, I told her I thought it had to be checked at which point she realized her mistake.
 

InspectorJon

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That is a real thing. I had one 45 lb bag and one 55 lb bag. 50 lb was the single bag limit and the nice person behind the counter made me move stuff from one bag to the other.

In another experience I met a friend in the airport when he was transiting through SFO on his way home to Indonesia. We spent the afternoon together. For some reason they made him go to the ticketing counter to get a different boarding pass because they did not like the one issued in Phoenix. While at the ticketing counter they asked to weigh his carry on bag (never seen that before). It was over their 15 lb limit and they charged him $125 while he was standing their waiting for his flight to board in 30 minutes. That's a weeks wages in Indonesia. Felt a lot like extortion. I will never patronize EVA Airlines.

Maybe we should start a "Stupid or strange things that happened to me in the airport" thread.
 

Pkrd

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That is a real thing. I had one 45 lb bag and one 55 lb bag. 50 lb was the single bag limit and the nice person behind the counter made me move stuff from one bag to the other.
The 50lb limit is for the baggage handlers backs.

I remember back when flying to the US I could take 2 70lb bags, anywhere else in the world was one 50lb. Why does anyone need 140lb of anything unless you're relocating?
 

GrogNerd

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The 50lb limit is for the baggage handlers backs.

I remember back when flying to the US I could take 2 70lb bags, anywhere else in the world was one 50lb. Why does anyone need 140lb of anything unless you're relocating?
I'm an overpacker. must provision for all of the days' meals & activities, all possible levels of formality & any weather contingency
 

InspectorJon

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Why does anyone need 140lb of anything unless you're relocating?
I normally fit everything I need in a single bag under 40lb for 2-3 weeks. The 2 50lb bags were for a job that required me to live in a hotel for 2 months on the other side of the country.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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The 50lb limit is for the baggage handlers backs.

I remember back when flying to the US I could take 2 70lb bags, anywhere else in the world was one 50lb. Why does anyone need 140lb of anything unless you're relocating?
Longer stay larger suitcase, bringing stuff back… Years ago my large case was over weight by a couple pounds returning from HI. Counter person first said you’ll have to take something out, but then decided to put a warning sticker for the baggage handlers, thankfully.
 

Brooothru

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Weight AND balance, not just weight.

I don't know the degree to which that's an issue on airliners, but I know that the difference between flying and not can be relatively few passengers. Once out of DFW in August it was so warm that they had to remove a few passengers from the flight to make weight. My wife and I took their offer of free flights to do so, but you wouldn't think that six passengers would make that big a difference.

Well, it does, for the plane to stay within maximum limits. On hot days and esp. hot humid days, the air is much less dense, and thus less lift is generated by the wings. So weight needs to come off the plane until it's within margins.

BTW, know why the pilot in a 2-place biplane always sits in the back seat? Without a passenger, the pilot's weight is offsetting the weight of the engine; put a single flyer in the front seat and you make the plane too nose-heavy, which is a handling issue.

If you add a passenger, that front seat is over the wings and doesn't affect the plane's center of gravity very much so the plane remains fairly stable to fly.

I earned my private pilot's license in March, and this is just one of the really cool things I learned about flying.
Depending on the FAR the certificate holder is operating under, weights can be estimated based on average weight for baggage. Usually the larger the aircraft, the less critical the specific weight of individually specific bags is, up to a point. On wide body aircraft, where individual bags are loaded in separate L-2 containers, the loaded containers are each individually weighed before placing the container in the cargo hold. This becomes critical for weight and balance, as well as total gross weight. I can't recall what the "average weight" per luggage piece the FAA allows, but it's probably around 22.5# per bag. That's partially the reason that oversized baggage in excess of 55# will not be accepted by the air carrier.

Interestingly the same holds true for passenger weights, which used to be 5~10# higher during winter months due to extra clothing. That limit increased from (IIRC) 155# to passenger to 165# per passenger for summer weights. Do they really think the 'average' airline passenger today only weights #165#? Yes. They. Do.

If I were to guess, the average Part 121 operating commercial aircraft is probably "overweight" for most performance limited takeoff computations, although very likely well within balance limits. As long as all engines continue to operate (and assuming there is no overweight-induced structural failure), virtually any modern commercial aircraft can take-off overweight. But not out of balance.
 
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