Sunday, November 29, 2015

Weight And Balance Are Not Optional

Cessna 172s while having 4 seats, are really 3 seat aircraft when it comes to adults.

Overloading it, as is the case with any airplane, leads to some very bad consequences.

The Detroit News: NTSB: Plane overweight in crash that killed 4

According to the report, the Cessna 172 had a maximum gross weight of 2,457 pounds. Using weights from the medical examiner’s report, plus 10 pounds of baggage and 35 gallons of fuel, the NTSB found the plane had a gross weight of 2,550.6 pounds but would have been within center of gravity limits.

A second calculation, adding 10 percent to the body weights to account for thermal injuries and increasing the baggage weight to 15 pounds, determined a gross weight of 2,622.6 pounds, or 165 pounds overweight, with a center of gravity outside the plane’s operating limits.

Being overweight and outside the center of gravity limits is a very bad thing. Compounding the error, after realizing he was low and slow, the pilot made a left hand turn back to the airport, more than likely stalled in the turn and crashed with fatal results.

Unfortunately, the pilot did the weight and balance calculation in his head and was off by quite a bit, and not in a safe direction. A very sad and completely avoidable accident.

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