Aircraft Mass And Balance

Aircraft Mass and Balance

The main purposes of monitoring the mass and balance of aircraft are to maintain safety and to achieve efficiency in flight. The position of loads such as passengers, fuel, cargo and equipment will alter the position of the Centre of Gravity (CG) of the aircraft.

Incorrect loading will affect the aircraft rate of climb, manoeuvrability, ceiling, speed and fuel consumption. If the CG were too far forward, it would result in a nose-heavy condition, which could be potentially dangerous on take-off and landing. If the CG is too far aft, the tail-heavy condition will increase the tendency of the aircraft to stall and make landing more difficult.

Stability of the aircraft will also be affected with the CG outside the normal operational limits. Provided the CG lies within specified limits, the aircraft should be safe to fly. The unit of measurement for mass and balance are normally dictated by the aircraft manufacturer and can be either Metric or Imperial terms. Specific definitions for mass and balance ensure they are correctly interpreted.