A newly published FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) reminds Part 135 airplane and rotorcraft certificate holders how critical it is to ensure accurate data entry when calculating aircraft weight and balance. According to the FAA, “A number of accident and incident investigations have revealed several instances where inaccurate basic operating weight was entered into the weight and balance software program. Errors of this type could have serious ramifications.”
Software programs usually have pre-loaded information, such as basic operating weight. But If the pre-loaded data is not verified to be accurate, then the calculations will be incorrect and could place the aircraft outside of weight and/or center-of-gravity limitations, “which could have catastrophic consequences,” the FAA warned.
The agency is asking operators to review Advisory Circular 120-27E and examine their weight-and-balance procedures to ensure aircraft weight-and-balance information is correct, as well as verifying that pre-loaded information in weight-and-balance software programs is correct.
Regulations require aircraft to operate within approved weight and center-of-gravity limits. Yet the FAA said it is aware of accidents or incidents related to the aircraft operating outside of its approved weight and balance limits. The agency noted that accurate weight-and-balance calculations can be completed using aircraft-specific software programs, “as long as the data entered is correct.”