Aircraft Weighing - JAR OPS 1.6

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JAR - OPS 1.605 General
(See Appendix 1 to JAR - OPS 1.605)

(a) An operator shall ensure that during any phase of operation, the loading, mass and centre of gravity of the aeroplane complies with the limitations specified in the approved Aeroplane Flight Manual, or the Operations Manual if more restrictive.

(b) An operator must establish the mass and the centre of gravity of any aeroplane by actual weighing prior to initial entry into service and thereafter at intervals of 4 years if individual aeroplane masses are used and 9 years if fleet masses are used. The accumulated effects of modifications and repairs on the mass and balance must be accounted for and properly documented. Furthermore, aeroplanes must be reweighed if the effect of modifications on the mass and balance is not accurately known.

(c) An operator must determine the mass of all operating items and crew members included in the aeroplane dry operating mass by weighing or by using standard masses. The influence of their position on the aeroplane centre of gravity must be determined.

(d) An operator must establish the mass of the traffic load, including any ballast, by actual weighing or determine the mass of the traffic load in accordance with standard passenger and baggage masses as specified in JAR - OPS 1.620.

(e) An operator must determine the mass of the fuel load by using the actual density or, if not known, the density calculated in accordance with a method specified in the Operations Manual. (See IEM OPS 1.605(e).)

Appendix 1 to JAR - OPS 1.605

Mass and Balance - General
See JAR - OPS 1.605

(a) Determination of the dry operating mass of an aeroplane

(1) Weighing of an aeroplane

(i) New aeroplanes are normally weighed at the factory and are eligible to be placed into operation without reweighing if the mass and balance records have been adjusted for alterations or modifications to the aeroplane. Aeroplanes transferred from one JAA operator with an approved mass control programme to another JAA operator with an approved programme need not be weighed prior to use by the receiving operator unless more than 4 years have elapsed since the last weighing.

(ii) The individual mass and centre of gravity (CG) position of each aeroplane shall be re-established periodically. The maximum interval between two weighings must be defined by the operator and must meet the requirements of JAR - OPS 1.605(b). In addition, the mass and the CG of each aeroplane shall be re-established either by:

(A) Weighing; or

(B) Calculation, if the operator is able to provide the necessary justification to prove the validity of the method of calculation chosen,
whenever the cumulative changes to the dry operating mass exceed ± 0.5% of the maximum landing mass or the cumulative change in CG position exceeds 0.5% of the mean aerodynamic chord.

(2) Fleet mass and CG position

(i) For a fleet or group of aeroplanes of the same model and configuration, an average dry operating mass and CG position may be used as the fleet mass and CG position, provided that the dry operating masses and CG positions of the individual aeroplanes meet the tolerances specified in sub-paragraph (ii) below. Furthermore, the criteria specified in sub-paragraphs (iii), (iv) and (a)(3) below are applicable.

(ii) Tolerances

(A) If the dry operating mass of any aeroplane weighed, or the calculated dry operating mass of any aeroplane of a fleet, varies by more than ±0.5% of the maximum structural landing mass from the established dry operating fleet mass or the CG position varies by more than ±0.5 % of the mean aerodynamic chord from the fleet CG, that aeroplane shall be omitted from that fleet. Separate fleets may be established, each with differing fleet mean masses.

(B) In cases where the aeroplane mass is within the dry operating fleet mass tolerance but its CG position falls outsides the permitted fleet tolerance, the aeroplane may still be operated under the applicable dry operating fleet mass but with an individual CG position.

(C) If an individual aeroplane has, when compared with other aeroplanes of the fleet, a physical, accurately accountable difference (e.g. galley or seat configuration), that causes exceedance of the fleet tolerances, this aeroplane may be maintained in the fleet provided that appropriate corrections are applied to the mass and/or CG position for that aeroplane.

(D) Aeroplanes for which no mean aerodynamic chord has been published must be operated with their individual mass and CG position values or must be subjected to a special study and approval.

(iii) Use of fleet values

(A) After the weighing of an aeroplane, or if any change occurs in the aeroplane equipment or configuration, the operator must verify that this aeroplane falls within the tolerances specified in sub-paragraph (2)(ii) above.

(B) Aeroplanes which have not been weighed since the last fleet mass evaluation can still be kept in a fleet operated with fleet values, provided that the individual values are revised by computation and stay within the tolerances defined in sub-paragraph (2)(ii) above. If these individual values no longer fall within the permitted tolerances, the operator must either determine new fleet values fulfilling the conditions of sub-paragraphs (2)(i) and (2)(ii) above, or operate the aeroplanes not falling within the limits with their individual values.

(C) To add an aeroplane to a fleet operated with fleet values, the operator must verify by weighing or computation that its actual values fall within the tolerances specified in sub-paragraph (2)(ii) above.

(iv) To comply with sub-paragraph (2)(i) above, the fleet values must be updated at least at the end of each fleet mass evaluation.

(3) Number of aeroplanes to be weighed to obtain fleet values

(i) If 'n' is the number of aeroplanes in the fleet using fleet values, the operator must at least weigh, in the period between two fleet mass evaluations, a certain number of aeroplanes defined in the Table below:

(ii) In choosing the aeroplanes to be weighed, aeroplanes in the fleet which have not been weighed for the longest time should be selected.

(iii) The interval between 2 fleet mass evaluations must not exceed 48 months.

(4) Weighing procedure

(i) The weighing must be accomplished either by the manufacturer or by an approved maintenance organisation.

(ii) Normal precautions must be taken consistent with good practices such as:

(A) Checking for completeness of the aeroplane and equipment;
(B) Determining that fluids are properly accounted for;
(C) Ensuring that the aeroplane is clean; and
(D) Ensuring that weighing is accomplished in an enclosed building.

(iii) Any equipment used for weighing must be properly calibrated, zeroed, and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Each scale must be calibrated either by the manufacturer, by a civil department of weights and measures or by an appropriately authorised organisation within 2 years or within a time period defined by the manufacturer of the weighing equipment, whichever is less. The equipment must enable the mass of the aeroplane to be established within ±0.1%.

(b) Special standard masses for the traffic load. In addition to standard masses for passengers and checked baggage, an operator can submit for approval to the Authority standard masses for other load items.

(c) Aeroplane loading
(1) An operator must ensure that the loading of its aeroplanes is performed under the supervision of qualified personnel.
(2) An operator must ensure that the loading of the freight is consistent with the data used for the calculation of the aeroplane mass and balance.
(3) An operator must comply with additional structural limits such as the floor strength limitations, the maximum load per running metre, the maximum mass per cargo compartment, and/or the maximum seating limits.

(d) Centre of gravity limits
(1) Operational CG envelope. Unless seat allocation is applied and the effects of the number of passengers per seat row, of cargo in individual cargo compartments and of fuel in individual tanks is accounted for accurately in the balance calculation, operational margins must be applied to the certificated centre of gravity envelope. In determining the CG margins, possible deviations from the assumed load distribution must be considered. If free seating is applied, the operator must introduce procedures to ensure corrective action by flight or cabin crew if extreme longitudinal seat selection occurs. The CG margins and associated operational procedures, including assumptions with regard to passenger seating, must be acceptable to the Authority. (See IEM to Appendix 1 to JAR - OPS 1.605(d).)

(2) In-flight centre of gravity. Further to sub-paragraph (d)(1) above, the operator must show that the procedures fully account for the extreme variation in CG travel during flight caused by passenger/crew movement and fuel consumption/transfer.

Centre of gravity limits
See Appendix 1 to JAR - OPS 1.605 sub-paragraph (d)

1 In the Certificate Limitations section of the Aeroplane Flight Manual, forward and aft centre of gravity (CG) limits are specified. These limits ensure that the certification stability and control criteria are met throughout the whole flight and allow the proper trim setting for take-off. An operator should ensure that these limits are observed by defining operational procedures or a CG envelope which compensates for deviations and errors as listed below:

1.1 Deviations of actual CG at empty or operating mass from published values due, for example, to weighing errors, unaccounted modifications and/or equipment variations.

1.2 Deviations in fuel distribution in tanks from the applicable schedule.

1.3 Deviations in the distribution of baggage and cargo in the various compartments as compared with the assumed load distribution as well as inaccuracies in the actual mass of baggage and cargo.

1.4 Deviations in actual passenger seating from the seating distribution assumed when preparing the mass and balance documentation. (See Note)

1.5 Deviations of the actual CG of cargo and passenger load within individual cargo compartments or cabin sections from the normally assumed mid position.

1.6 Deviations of the CG caused by gear and flap positions and by application of the prescribed fuel usage procedure (unless already covered by the certified limits).

1.7 Deviations caused by in-flight movement of cabin crew, pantry equipment and passengers.

NOTE: Large CG errors may occur when 'free seating' (freedom of passengers to select any seat when entering the aeroplane) is permitted. Although in most cases reasonably even longitudinal passenger seating can be expected, there is a risk of an extreme forward or aft seat selection causing very large and unacceptable CG errors (assuming that the balance calculation is done on the basis of an assumed even distribution). The largest errors may occur at a load factor of approximately 50% if all passengers are seated in either the forward or aft half of the cabin. Statistical analysis indicates that the risk of such extreme seating adversely affecting the CG is greatest on small aeroplanes.

JAR - OPS 1.620 Mass values for passengers and baggage

(a) An operator shall compute the mass of passengers and checked baggage using either the actual weighed mass of each person and the actual weighed mass of baggage or the standard mass values specified in Tables 1 to 3 below except where the number of passenger seats available is less than 6, when the passenger mass may be established by a verbal statement by or on behalf of each passenger or by estimation. The procedure specifying when to select actual or standard masses must be included in the Operations Manual.

(b) If determining the actual mass by weighing, an operator must ensure that passengers' personal belongings and hand baggage are included. Such weighing must be conducted immediately prior to boarding and at an adjacent location.

(c) If determining the mass of passengers using standard mass values, the standard mass values in Tables 1 and 2 below must be used. The standard masses include hand baggage and the mass of any infant below 2 years of age carried by an adult on one passenger seat. Infants occupying separate passenger seats must be considered as children for the purpose of this sub-paragraph.

(d) Mass values for passengers - 20 seats or more

(1) Where the total number of passenger seats available on an aeroplane is 20 or more, the standard masses of male and female in Table 1 are applicable. As an alternative, in cases where the total number of passenger seats available is 30 or more, the 'All Adult' mass values in Table 1 are applicable.

(2) For the purpose of Table 1, holiday charter means a charter flight solely intended as an element of a holiday travel package.
Table 1

(e) Mass values for passengers - 19 seats or less.
Table 2

(1) Where the total number of passenger seats available on an aeroplane is 19 or less, the standard masses in Table 2 are applicable.

(2) On flights where no hand baggage is carried in the cabin or where hand baggage is accounted for separately, 6 kg may be deducted from the above male and female masses. Articles such as an overcoat, an umbrella, a small handbag or purse, reading material or a small camera are not considered as hand baggage for the purpose of this sub-paragraph.

(f) Mass values for baggage

(1) Where the total number of passenger seats available on the aeroplane is 20 or more the standard mass values given in Table 3 are applicable for each piece of checked baggage. For aeroplanes with 19 passenger seats or less, the actual mass of checked baggage, determined by weighing, must be used.

(2) For the purpose of Table 3:

(i) Domestic flight means a flight with origin and destination within the borders of one State;

(ii) Flights within the European region means flights, other than Domestic flights, whose origin and destination are within the area specified in Appendix 1 to JAR - OPS 1.620(f); and

(iii) Intercontinental flight, other than flights within the European region, means a flight with origin and destination in different continents.

Table 3 - 20 or more seats

(g) If an operator wishes to use standard mass values other than those contained in Tables 1 to 3 above, he must advise the Authority of his reasons and gain its approval in advance. He must also submit for approval a detailed weighing survey plan and apply the statistical analysis method given in Appendix 1 to JAR - OPS 1.620(g). After verification and approval by the Authority of the results of the weighing survey, the revised standard mass values are only applicable to that operator. The revised standard mass values can only be used in circumstances consistent with those under which the survey was conducted. Where revised standard masses exceed those in Tables 1 - 3, then such higher values must be used. (See IEM OPS 1.620(g).)

(h) On any flight identified as carrying a significant number of passengers whose masses, including hand baggage, are expected to exceed the standard passenger mass, an operator must determine the actual mass of such passengers by weighing or by adding an adequate mass increment. (See IEM OPS 1.620(h) & (i).)

(i) If standard mass values for checked baggage are used and a significant number of passengers check in baggage that is expected to exceed the standard baggage mass, an operator must determine the actual mass of such baggage by weighing or by adding an adequate mass increment. (See IEM OPS 1.620(h) & (i).)

(j) An operator shall ensure that a commander is advised when a non-standard method has been used for determining the mass of the load and that this method is stated in the mass and balance documentation.

IEM OPS 1.620(g)
Statistical evaluation of passenger and baggage mass data
See JAR - OPS 1.620(g)

1 Sample size (see also Appendix 1 to JAR - OPS 1.620(g)).

1.1 For calculating the required sample size it is necessary to make an estimate of the standard deviation on the basis of standard deviations calculated for similar populations or for preliminary surveys. The precision of a sample estimate is calculated for 95% reliability or 'significance', i.e. there is a 95% probability that the true value falls within the specified confidence interval around the estimated value. This standard deviation value is also used for calculating the standard passenger mass.

1.2 As a consequence, for the parameters of mass distribution, i.e. mean and standard deviation, three cases have to be distinguished:

a. µ, s = the true values of the average passenger mass and standard deviation, which are unknown and which are to be estimated by weighing passenger samples.

b. µ¢, s¢ = the 'a priori' estimates of the average passenger mass and the standard deviation, i.e. values resulting from an earlier survey, which are needed to determine the current sample size.

c. x, s = the estimates for the current true values of m and s, calculated from the sample.

The sample size can then be calculated using the following formula:


n = number of passengers to be weighed (sample size)
e'r = allowed relative confidence range (accuracy) for the estimate of µ by x (see also equation in paragraph 3).

NOTE: The allowed relative confidence range specifies the accuracy to be achieved when estimating the true mean. For example, if it is proposed to estimate the true mean to within ± 1%, then e'r will be 1 in the above formula.

1.96 = value from the Gaussian distribution for 95% significance level of the resulting confidence interval.

2 Calculation of average mass and standard deviation. If the sample of passengers weighed is drawn at random, then the arithmetic mean of the sample (x) is an unbiased estimate of the true average mass (µ) of the population.

2.1 Arithmetic mean of sample


xj = mass values of individual passengers (sampling units).

2.2 Standard deviation

= deviation of the individual value from the sample mean.

3. Checking the accuracy of the sample mean. The accuracy (confidence range) which can be ascribed to the sample mean as an indicator of the true mean is a function of the standard deviation of the sample which has to be checked after the sample has been evaluated. This is done using the formula:

whereby er should not exceed 1% for an all adult average mass and not exceed 2% for an average male and/or female mass. The result of this calculation gives the relative accuracy of the estimate of µ at the 95% significance level. This means that with 95% probability, the true average mass µ lies within the interval:

4. Example of determination of the required sample size and average passenger mass

4.1 Introduction. Standard passenger mass values for mass and balance purposes require passenger weighing programs be carried out. The following example shows the various steps required for establishing the sample size and evaluating the sample data. It is provided primarily for those who are not wellversed in statistical computations. All mass figures used throughout the example are entirely fictitious.

4.2 Determination of required sample size. For calculating the required sample size, estimates of the standard (average) passenger mass and the standard deviation are needed. The 'a priori' estimates from an earlier survey may be used for this purpose. If such estimates are not available, a small representative sample of about 100 passengers has to be weighed so that the required values can be calculated. The latter has been assumed for the example.

Step 1: estimated average passenger mass
n xj (kg)
1 79.9
2 68.1
3 77.9
4 74.5
5 54.1
6 62.2
7 89.3
8 108.7
. .
85 63.2
86 75.4

Step 2: estimated standard deviation
n xj (xj - x) (xj - x)2
1 79.9 +9.3 86.49
2 68.1 - 2.5 6.25
3 77.9 +7.3 53.29
4 74.5 +3.9 15.21
5 54.1 - 16.5 272.25
6 62.2 - 8.4 70.56
7 89.3 +18.7 349.69
8 108.7 +38.1 1451.61
. . . .
85 63.2 - 7.4 54.76
86 75.4 - 4.8 23.04

6071.6 34 683.40

Step 3: required sample size.

The required number of passengers to be weighed should be such that the confidence range, e'r, does not exceed 1% as specified in paragraph 3.

The result shows that at least 3145 passengers have to be weighed to achieve the required accuracy. If e'r is chosen as 2% the result would be n ³ 786.

Step 4: after having established the required sample size a plan for weighing the passengers is to be worked out, as specified in Appendix 1 to JAR - OPS 1.620(g).

4.3 Determination of the passenger average mass

Step 1: Having collected the required number of passenger mass values, the average passenger mass can be calculated. For the purpose of this example it has been assumed that 3180 passengers were weighed. The sum of the individual masses amounts to 231 186.2 kg.

Step 2: calculation of the standard deviation.
For calculating the standard deviation the method shown in paragraph 4.2 step 2 should be applied.

Step 3: calculation of the accuracy of the sample mean.

Step 4: calculation of the confidence range of the sample mean.

The result of this calculation shows that there is a 95% probability of the actual mean for all passengers lying within the range 72.2 kg to 73.2 kg.


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