New Rules Stem from CLT Air Midwest Crash


New Member
USA Today reported yesterday (USA Yesterday?) that, in response to the Aid Midwest crash in CLT a few months ago, the FAA will revise its average weight program. According to the article, average passenger weights for adults will increase from 175 winter/170 summer to 195 and 190 lbs. Average bag weights will increase to 30 lbs.

In my view, this will affect regional turboprops most because these airplanes are already weight limited by summer temperatures. You will see more instances of paying passengers being turned away with empty seats still on the aircraft, which will further hurt the airlines bottom lines as well as relations with customers.
Guess the regionals will have to buy more airplanes.

I'd rather fly on an aircraft that was NOT overloaded, than one that might be. Just MHO.
Well, there's overloaded and then there's overloaded.

Even with the new rules, you might be overloaded and you might not be. The only way to tell for sure would be to individually weigh each bag and each passenger.

Frankly, I like to fly the Jetstream best when it's loaded to almost max gross. It lands a lot better that way. No floating.
Another note about weight ...

The gross weight on a C172R is 2450lbs. (If I remember correctly). The Rs have a 160hp engine bolted up front.

Now, the Apache has a gross weight of 3800lbs. and it has two 160s bolted to each wing.

The interesting thing is that the single engine ceiling (which is determined at gross weight on a "standard" day) is 5,500 ft. on the Apache.

Anybody notice that the same engine that pulls the 172R up into the sky is now supporting 3,800 pounds?

Now, I'm <font color="red">not advocating in anyway shape or form</font> that A) it's ok to overload an aircraft or B) to go out and intentionally, or unintentionally, overload any aircraft - but the airplane isn't going to fall out of the sky if it's a little over weight (assuming the CG range is still OK).
the FAA will revise its average weight program.

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On another note ... this could have made a great headline:

"FAA Declares U.S. Citizens Fat"


I miss the newsroom sometimes ...
So, in response to a problem of potential overloading (and crashing) of a 19-seat aircraft, the FAA mandates new rules regarding the average wieghts of passengers and bags for aircraft with more than 19 seats. Got it. That makes sense.
The weights are incorrect and we all know it. How many FAA average people do you know? Most my friends are 210 or above or 120 and below it seems, not too many 170 pounders. I don't know many people that weigh in as average, and it's better to guess on the high side.


John Herreshoff
This can/will have a major effect on the RJ's as well. As airlines start to push the range on the RJ flights it will be a major factor. 20 pound increase per person for 50 people is 1000 pounds. That's alot of fuel or baggage you're oging to be leaving behind. On our RJ flights from RDU to MIA and MSY we were almost always weight limited and that was with the old weights.

Anybody notice that the same engine that pulls the 172R up into the sky is now supporting 3,800 pounds?

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Actually, I believe the single engine numbers assume that both engines were running to get the airplane to V1. Anything below and (you hope) the pilot will abort the takeoff. So, if you were to get a C172 in the air at 2800 lbs and then miraculously added 1000 more pounds to it (icing? &lt;grin&gt;), it would fly... maybe... Not that I'd want to test that...

Amen on the RJ thing... We're going DEN-YEG. We can stuff everyone on if it's clear and cold. Throw an alternate on for YEG (YYC is the closest for us, at about 130 miles away), and you're stretching it. If YYC is down also or if it gets hot, you're already kicking people...

We're also doing a ORD-AUS turn on the BAe-146 which is about the limit. Even with max fuel on board if you get anything other then minor enroute deviations, you've gotta drop short for fuel!

Actually, I believe the single engine numbers assume that both engines were running to get the airplane to V1. Anything below and (you hope) the pilot will abort the takeoff.

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The Apache (or any twin) would take off eventually with only one engine running (and assuming you're at an airport that lies below the SEC and it's a "standard day") it'd just take a helluva a lot of runway.

Same thing in the case of the 172.

The problem with overloading or single engine ops lies in the amount of concrete you have in front of you.

In the real world yes you'd want to abort the takeoff after an engine failure before V1 - or if you've rotated land it "straight ahead" if you're below blueline (talking piston twins here).
Here's the complete article from

May 15, 2003

FAA Says Pax Are Fatter

By Arturo Weiss

The FAA has recognized the growing girth of Americans by revising weight-and-balance estimates used for loading aircraft. Under current guidelines, an adult passenger flying in winter is estimated to weigh 185 pounds, including clothing and carry-on luggage, while the same passenger is calculated at 180 pounds during summer travel. Recently, the FAA ordered 15 airlines to check passenger weights. The survey showed that passengers and their bags generally are heavier than the estimates by 20.63 pounds, carry-on bags were higher by 5.72 pounds and domestic checked bags by 3.81 pounds. After reviewing the results of its survey, the FAA released new guidelines on Monday, adding 10 pounds to its estimate for passengers and five pounds to luggage. In addition, checked bags now will be estimated to weigh 30 pounds rather than 25. The new guidelines come as the NTSB released more information on the crash of a Beech 1900D airliner in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this year, in which it was suggested that weight-and-balance issues may have been a factor. You may remember AVweb's first report on the crash of US Airways Flight 5481, a commuter flight with 19 passengers and two crew aboard operated by Air Midwest, out of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Destined for Greenville-Spartanburg, the Beech crashed immediately after takeoff, killing all 21 on board. From the beginning, the aircraft's weight and balance was scrutinized, but preliminary reports, and a subsequent AD, suggest problems with the rigging of the elevator. Under the new guidelines some airlines changed their weight estimates and now carry only 18 passengers on a 19-seat plane. Airlines, which have 90 days to implement the new guidelines, will have the option of using their own estimates if they survey their passengers' weight, which is sure to be a popular line of questioning at the check-in counter.