What Does Heavy Mean in Aviation? Aviation is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and while some people are relieved to see air travel return to normal after September 11th, some fear it may cause more problems in the future.
People at the College of Aviation in Flint applaud the new changes to make flying safer, but some say that it could slow down the flow of traffic.
“We’re talking about security for airplanes, and if there is any chance that we can improve security, we will take advantage of it,” said Lowell Green.
Lowell Green, an aviation professor at the college, says many of his students are worried more restrictions may be placed on airlines.
What Does Heavy Mean in Aviation
What does “heavy” mean in aviation? It actually means something quite different from that which we think of as “heavy”.
The weight and balance control system (WBC) is one of the most important tools at the disposal of a pilot. The W&BC determines how much weight can be loaded aboard an aircraft for each particular take-off and what the aircraft’s CG is likely to be.
The W&BC uses a scale to determine weight in pounds. Aircraft in Canada tend to be weighed in kilograms instead of pounds, so when you read the W&BC column on a Weight and Balance form, each number represents 1000 lbs.
For example, if an aircraft weighs 5,000 lbs. on the scale, the number in the W & BC column will read 5.
The CG is determined by finding the balance point of the aircraft. This can be done by suspending weights from various points on the airframe and measuring how far they move.
The farther a weight moves, the higher its value (and therefore, the greater the CG).
The balance point is the distance, in inches, from a reference point somewhere on an aircraft to a weight.
If it is thought of as being suspended from a crane, the balance point will be the location where the crane cable intersects with the centre of gravity line.
In this case, if we were suspending a 2,000 lb. weight, this would be the balance point.
The aircraft’s CG location is found by taking into account the various weights that are actually onboard the aircraft. Weights are added to each end of the scale until it reaches equilibrium (balance).
When one end goes up, the other goes down in proportion to how much said weight moves up or down the scale.
There is a limit to how much weight can be added to each end of the scale before it becomes unrepresentative of what is actually on the aircraft. This is called the maximum gross weight (MGW) of the aircraft.
The MGW will usually be shown on a placard located near the W&BC scale. Once the weight of all items on the aircraft is added, including fuel, the resulting number must be less than or equal to the MGW in order for the aircraft to be legal for flight.
When an aircraft is loaded with cargo, it is important to maintain the CG within the limits. If the CG moves outside of acceptable limits, the aircraft may become unstable in flight and be at risk of an accident.
How Can You Tell if You’re Overweight on an Airplane
Have you ever been on a plane and wondered if that overweight person next to you is going to fly the aircraft, or will they let an off-duty pilot take over just before landing? Well here’s what to look for.
If your fellow passenger has filled out their “ticket” completely, but would pass as a greyhound on its way to the track, they’re definitely overweight.
The Federal Aviation Administration has set weight and balance limits for each type of aircraft to ensure safe takeoffs and landings.
For smaller planes, those weighing more than 240 pounds are considered “overweight.” For larger planes, the limit is 280 pounds. If a passenger’s weight exceeds these limits, the aircraft may not be able to take off or land safely.
If your fellow passenger does make it onto the plane, they will most likely try and fit in by cramming themselves into a window seat.
So if you’re in an aisle seat and need to get up during the flight, do so at your own risk! If you strike out, and the only seat left is next to the “overweight” person, consider sitting in the row behind them.
The good news is that most passengers who are considered overweight are not likely to cause a problem. However, if you’re uncomfortable with the situation, or think the passenger’s weight might jeopardize safety, don’t hesitate to speak up.
Pilots and flight attendants are happy to help find a seat that’s more comfortable for you.
So the next time you’re on a plane and you see an “overweight” passenger, don’t worry. They’re not going to take over the aircraft! But do be aware of the weight limit, in case you need to speak up.
The Benefits of Being “Heavy” on an Airplane
When you’re flying, the heavier you are, the more fuel your plane needs to carry. This is because a plane has to work harder to generate lift and keep itself in the air when it’s carrying a lot of weight.
So, airlines often charge passengers by their weight in order to cover the extra costs.
In the United States, a plane ticket actually has two prices: one that you pay based on your origin and destination, and a second one that is determined by your flight plan.
The second price is calculated using the weight of each person on board, with all passengers’ combined weight determining which category they fall into.
This system allows airlines to charge people who are overweight more for their tickets, and it has been in place since the early 1990s.
But being “heavy” on an airplane has some benefits, too! For one, a plane with more weight requires less thrust to stay in the air, meaning that it uses less fuel.
This is especially important when planes are taking off, when they need to generate the most thrust in order to get into the air.
Also, when determining what set of fares applies to you, your weight counts twice when compared to other passengers’ total weight.
So if your combined weight is 200 pounds and another person on board weighs 100 pounds, this adds up to 300 pounds, meaning that the plane is considered a “heavy” one.
In some cases, airlines will offer an incentive for consumers to choose flights that are heavier, as they tend to be more profitable. And as if this wasn’t enough of an advantage already, heavy passengers also benefit from discounts on checked baggage!
This means that being overweight might not be as bad as you think, at least when it comes to flying. So the next time you’re booking a flight, don’t worry too much about your weight just make sure that you’re within the airline’s designated category!
Why Is It Important to Know Your Weight Before Flying
When it comes to weight, many people try to blame everything from their finances to their love lives on the scale. But have you ever thought about what your body weight could do for or against you when flying?
Airlines use a person’s total body weight in kilograms during flight planning, and that number can affect your travel plans, your wallet, and even your seat comfort.
So, before you book that flight to Hawaii (or anywhere else), find out what the airline weighs, how much you really weigh, and how much weight you can carry on board.
Here’s why it’s important to know your weight before flying:
- Most airlines require passengers to know their weight.
- You may be charged for exceeding your weight allowance, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
- Your chances of getting an upgrade are slim if you’re over the airline’s maximum weight limit for coach seats.
- Knowing how much you weigh will help you get a more accurate price when you buy an airline ticket.
- Some airlines charge more if you exceed your weight allowance than if you exceed your baggage allowance.
- Many airlines will try to get heavy passengers, especially large men, to purchase two seats.
- Airlines require everyone on board to have a seatbelt fastened, and those who exceed a certain weight may not be able to properly buckle up.
- A person’s weight can affect the type of airplane seat they are assigned.
- Heavier passengers often have to purchase a more expensive ticket because they take up more space in the cabin and on the plane.
- The stress on the plane caused by excess weight can lead to additional wear and tear, which might increase the airline’s operating costs.
- A heavy passenger or their luggage can affect how much fuel an aircraft needs to fly safely.
- If a plane isn’t at its required weight, it may have to burn off fuel before taking off.
- Under certain circumstances, a plane may be prohibited from departing if it’s overloaded.
- A person who weighs 350 pounds is about three times as heavy as the average American and up to five times as heavy as some Asian passengers. The average weight of a non-Asian passenger is about 180 pounds.
So, before you book your flight, be sure to find out your weight and the airline’s weight restrictions. It could save you time, money, and a lot of hassle.
Ways to Stay Light After Getting Weighed at the Airport
Air travel comes with many annoyances, but one of the worst is always having to get on the scale at security.
Before hitting your gate, you’re forced to unload all of your stuff and step onto that little machine that tells everyone what you weigh. If you’re too heavy, it can be an embarrassing experience.
One airline is looking to minimize that humiliation by putting power in the passengers’ hands. According to the CBC,
Air Canada has started allowing people who are concerned about their weight affecting their flight to pay for a second checked bag before getting weighed.
According to Yahoo! News, Air Canada is trialing this new policy on flights from Montreal and Toronto.
A spokesperson for the airline said that since many people may not realize they’re overweight until it’s time to check their bags, the new policy “helps those customers who wish to do so avoid potentially embarrassing situations.”
The price of a second checked bag will be $80 Canadian dollars ($72 US dollars), which is $20 more than the standard fee.
If this policy is successful, it’s likely that other airlines will follow suit. In the meantime, here are a few ways to help you stay light after getting weighed at the airport:
This may seem like common sense, but packing light is one of the best ways to avoid having to check a bag. When you don’t have to worry about lugging a suitcase around, you’re free to move about the airport more easily.
Think about what you really need for your trip and leave the rest at home. If you can fit everything you need into a carry-on bag, you won’t have to worry about getting weighed at security.
When packing, try to put the heaviest items at the bottom of your bag and the lightest items on top. This will help you distribute the weight evenly and avoid having a heavy bag.
Ship Packages Ahead of Time
If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, it might be helpful to ship some of your belongings ahead of time. This way, you won’t have to worry about packing everything in your suitcase and you’ll avoid having to check a bag altogether.
Wear lighter clothing.
When it comes to clothing, opt for lighter fabrics that weigh less. Natural materials like cotton and linen are usually a good choice, while heavier materials like denim are more likely to weigh your suitcase down.
Put the heavy stuff in your carry-on bag.
If you have to check a bag, make sure that all of your necessities are in it, including things like medications and other essentials. Make an effort to put any heavy items you might need during your trip in this bag, so that it’s not as weighed down.
Snacks and Drinks by Byo
Airport food can be expensive and unhealthy, so it’s a good idea to bring your own snacks and drinks with you. This way, you’ll have something to eat on the plane, and you’ll avoid the temptation of airport snacks.
Traveling can be a hassle, but with a little planning, you can avoid some of the most common problems.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to stay light after getting weighed at the airport and make your travel experience a little easier.
Tips for Staying Light While Traveling
When traveling, it’s important to keep your luggage as light as possible. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Bring versatile clothing.
A few pairs of pants or skirts that can be dressed up or down and a few different shirts will give you more outfit options than if you brought several outfits that are only good for one thing.
Bring light, multipurpose items.
Bring a scarf that can double as a shawl or blanket if needed, and bring an umbrella that also acts as a walking stick or tent pole.
Leave your charger(s) at home.
If you’re like me, you probably have several chargers for your different devices. But instead of packing all of them, pick the one you will need the most and leave the others at home.
Bring a small bag.
A small backpack or shoulder bag is much easier to carry around than a large suitcase.
Check the weight of your luggage before you go.
Airlines often have weight restrictions for checked luggage, so it’s important to make sure your bag doesn’t exceed those limits.
By following these tips, you can travel light and avoid the hassle of carrying around a heavy suitcase.