Establishing the Initial Weight of an Aircraft

Prior to being placed into service, each aircraft is weighed and the empty weight and CG location established. New aircraft are normally weighed at the factory and are eligible to be placed into operation without reweighing if the weight and balance records were adjusted for alterations and modificationsto the aircraft, such as interior reconfigurations.

An aircraft transferred from one operator that has an approved weight and balance program to another operator with an approved program does not need to be weighed prior to use by the receiving operator unless more than 36 calendar months have elapsed since the last individual or fleetweighing, or unless some other modification to the aircraft warrants that the aircraft be weighed. Aircraft transferred, purchased, or leased from an operator without an approved weight and balance program, and that have not been modified or have been minimally modified,can be placed into service without being reweighed if the last weighing was accomplished by an acceptable method (for example, manufacturer’s instructions or AC 43.13-2, Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices—Aircraft Alterations) within the last 12 calendar months and a weight and balance change record was maintained by the operator. It is potentially unsafe to fail to reweigh an aircraft after it has been modified.

When weighing large aircraft, compliance with the relevant manuals, operations specifications, or management specification is required to ensure that weight and balance requirements specified in the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) are met in accordance with approved limits. This provides information to the flightcrew that allows the maximum payload to be carried safely.

The aircraft should be weighed in still air or an enclosed building after the aircraft has been cleaned. Ensure that the aircraft is in a configuration for weighing with regard to flight controls, unusable fuel, ballast, oil and other operating fluids, and equipment as required by the controlling weight and balance procedure.

Large aircraft are not usually raised off the floor on jacks for weighing; they are weighed on ramp-type scales. The scales must be properly calibrated, zeroed, and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Each scale should be periodically checked for accuracy as recommended in the manufacturer’s calibration schedule, either by the manufacturer or by a recognized facility, such as a civil department of weights and measures. If no manufacturer’s schedule is available, the period between calibrations should not exceed 12 months.

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