AIRCRAFT LOAD AND TRIM-WHY IS IT CRUCIAL TO A SAFE FLIGHT?
Why is it important?
It is a legal requirement and crucial to the safety and structural integrity of an aircraft that it is loaded in such a way that the specified maximum allowable weights are not exceeded and that the center of gravity as loaded will be within the permitted flight envelope and remain so for the rest of the flight.
It is also very important that aircraft baggage and freight load complies with the restrictions on the carriage of dangerous goods (DGR).
What is the purpose of trim on an aircraft?
Trim Systems are considered to be a “secondary” flight control system. By definition, to “trim” an aircraft is to adjust the aerodynamic forces on the control surfaces so that the aircraft maintains the set attitude without any control input.
And here comes the need for a ”load sheet” for an aircraft- An aircraft filled with passengers, baggage, cargo, and fuel could be too heavy for the engines to lift it off the ground. Therefore, the balance of the aircraft is crucial, and the location of the passengers, baggage, cargo, and fuel will affect the aircraft trim.
So where is trim located on an airplane and how do you achieve it?
Trim tabs have been used in airplanes for decades. Typically found on the outer edges of the ailerons, rudders, and elevator, they allow to control the airplane’s trim during the flight.
FUEL LOADING AND DISTRIBUTION
Many aircraft use fuel distribution to optimize the center of gravity in cruise to reduce fuel burn. This is achieved by keeping the CG towards the aft limits of the envelope by utilizing outboard wing, aft body, or horizontal stabilizer fuel tanks. It is the pilot’s responsibility to ensure that the fuel load before takeoff is correctly distributed and reflected on the load/trim sheet and maintained within the prescribed limits for the remainder of the flight.
DEPARTURE CONTROL SYSTEM (DCS)
Most Load and Trim Sheets used today in commercial air transport operations by multi-crew aircraft are produced by contracted Handling Agents who input flight-specific data into a proprietary DCS. There are several commercial DCS products available today.
It is to be noted that DCS will only produce output data as accurate as of the inputs, so it is important to guard against input errors.
MANUAL LOAD SHEETS
Manual Load sheets involve a calculation of Maximum Ramp Weight (MRW), Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW), and Maximum Landing Weight (MLW) while the Centre of Gravity is located by marking the requisite aircraft operating weight (vertical scale) on a ‘drop line’ located on a center of gravity ‘index’ scale which forms the horizontal axis. If the position so found is within the areas shown as the permitted safe flight envelope, (and remains within the safe area as fuel reduces to planned landing weight) then operation, as loaded, is possible.
- The aircraft commander must be given a copy of the completed load and trim sheet for the flight and should check and sign it, leaving a copy at the point of departure.
- In respect of Passenger Cabin Loading, the senior cabin crew member usually confirms the number of passengers actually on board using a headcount after boarding has been completed.
ELECTRONIC FLIGHT BAG GENERATION OF LOAD AND TRIM DATA
For some flights, especially but not only cargo flights, but the flight crew also have an electronic flight bag (EFB) which they use to calculate aircraft performance data, which takes account of the completed load and trim sheet.
CONSEQUENCES OF MISLOADING OR INCORRECT INPUT OF LOADING DATA
- An attempt is being made to operate the aircraft outside the AFM (aircraft flight management) limits
- Flight crew actions to control the aircraft are ineffective because the aircraft is unable to achieve the expected performance, whether manually selected or FMS (flight management system) generated safety speeds on the ASI (e.g Vr) or selected engine thrust parameters.
AIRCRAFT TAIL TIPPING
In the clip above, a Delta Airlines Boeing 737 tilts backward on its tail while parked at the gate. If you look closely, you can see bags being off-loaded from the forward cargo hold. What happened is that too many bags, and passengers, were offloaded from the front of the plane compared to the back. The result? This slow-motion lift-off at the gate, no doubt to the shock of the ground operations team and any passengers on the plane.
Incidents like these happen because an airplane is like a large seesaw with a fulcrum in the middle. The center of gravity of the aircraft is typically near the landing gear, by design. But the center of gravity is not a constant. Imagine a seesaw where the fulcrum can move. That’s what happens when you add fuel, passengers, or baggage at different weights for every flight. The center of gravity for the aircraft needs to be within published and tested limits created by the airplane manufacturer and approved by the regulators.
Hence again, load and trim/weight and balance becomes a very critical aspect of flight safety.
IMPORTANCE OF PROPER WEIGHT AND BALANCE
Weight and balance are so critical that the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a guide for operators, and it’s part and parcel for every pilot from the outset of their training.
- COVER PIC COURTESY : https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2016-08-01/sounds-your-plane-makes-and-what-they-mean
Experience a World of Luxury: Qatar Airways Launches Al Mourjan Business Lounge – The Garden
Qatar Airways has recently revealed its latest addition to the lounge offerings at Doha’s Hamad International Airport – The Al Mourjan Business Lounge – The Garden. Set in the newly expanded North section of the airport, this lounge boasts stunning views of the Orchard Garden and provides a one-of-a-kind experience for premium passengers. With a strong emphasis placed on natural beauty, comfort, wellness, and nature, this lounge is set to provide travelers with a luxurious and rejuvenating airport experience.
The Garden: A World-Class Lounge
The Garden, a section of the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, covers a vast area of 7,390 square meters and has the capacity to hold up to 707 passengers. Positioned in the heart of ‘The Orchard,’ an indoor green space that showcases more than 300 trees and 25,000 plants, the lounge is built to maximize natural light, making it a tranquil and refreshing spot for travelers to unwind before their flight. Qatar Airways’ elite customers can expect a luxurious travel experience featuring a wide range of dining and shopping choices.
Facilities at The Garden
To ensure passengers have a pleasant airport experience, the lounge is equipped with a comprehensive selection of essential and luxurious amenities. The spa facilities, fitness studio, nursery, relaxation, and quiet rooms, game room, and pedicure/manicure stations are all available for passengers to enjoy. The gym has a variety of workout equipment, such as treadmills and elliptical machines, while the spa has seven treatment rooms and automated massage chairs. The lounge’s dining options are equally impressive, with two dining areas situated in the East and West wings. Passengers can indulge in a diverse selection of hot and cold buffets, a coffee bar, and a cocktail station.
HIA’s Lounge Portfolio
HIA has a variety of airport lounges available to passengers, particularly those traveling on Qatar Airways’ premium services. The Al Safwa First Lounge is exclusively for Qatar and Oneworld first-class passengers, providing a distinct minimalist ambiance and is regarded as one of the world’s top lounges. In addition to The Garden’s counterpart lounge in the South area of HIA, elite passengers can choose from the Platinum, Gold, and Silver lounges located in the South or opt to visit the Al Maha or Orxy Lounges.
Qatar Airways’ Commitment to Excellence
Qatar Airways aims to continuously enhance its services to deliver the ultimate aviation and hospitality experiences to its passengers. The airline’s unwavering commitment to excellence is deeply ingrained in its brand, and The Garden is an excellent example of this dedication. The introduction of this exceptional lounge underscores Qatar Airways’ promise to provide travelers with a refined travel experience, prioritizing comfort, well-being, and nature.
Akbar Al Baker, the Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, expressed his enthusiasm for the launch of The Garden, saying, “We are thrilled to introduce our esteemed passengers to this magnificent addition to our signature lounge collection. Our newly opened Al Mourjan Business Lounge – The Garden at Hamad International Airport will elevate our passengers’ travel experience to new heights.”
The Al Mourjan Business Lounge – The Garden is a stunning addition to HIA’s elite lounge offerings. The lounge’s emphasis on natural beauty and wellness provides a unique experience for premium Qatar Airways passengers. With a wide range of luxury amenities and dining options, The Garden is an excellent space for travelers to relax and rejuvenate before their flight. Qatar Airways commitment to excellence is evident in the launch of The Garden, and the airline continues to set the standard for aviation and hospitality.
Also, you might be interested in reading: Qatar Airways Welcomes Its First Boeing 737 MAX
- Source: Simple Flying
Flying High: Exploring Finland’s Top 5 Airports with the Longest Runways
Finland’s unique geography and position as a strategic hub for air travel make it an important destination for travelers, military personnel, and cargo operators alike. With a growing demand for air travel, it’s vital to have airports with runways capable of handling a range of aircraft. In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 Finnish airports with the longest runways, their histories, and their importance in connecting Finland to the world.
1. Helsinki Vantaa International Airport (HEL)
Helsinki Vantaa International Airport (HEL) holds the top position for having the longest runway in Finland, which is unsurprising given that it is the country’s largest airport. The airport boasts three runways, with the longest measuring an impressive 3,500 meters (11,483 ft). The second and third runways measure 3,060 meters (10,039 ft) and 2,901 meters (9,518 ft), respectively.
Established in 1952, HEL airport initially had only one runway, with the second added in 1956 to accommodate the growing demand for air travel. In 2002, the third runway was inaugurated, leading to increased capacity and more efficient operations. The airport serves as a crucial hub for Finnair and other airlines, connecting Finland to destinations across the globe.
2. Rovaniemi Airport (RVN)
Rovaniemi Airport (RVN) was constructed in 1940 and served as an airbase during the Continuation War, functioning as a supply hub for the German Luftwaffe. The airport has a single runway that measures 3,002 meters (9,849 ft) in length.
While RVN’s runway may not be capable of accommodating fully loaded Boeing 747-8 aircraft, it is capable of serving as a landing strip for an Airbus A380, which necessitates a minimum runway length of 3,000 meters. RVN airport serves as a gateway to the Lapland region, which is a famous tourist destination known for its winter sports and Northern Lights.
3. Kuopio Airport (KUO)
Kuopio Airport (KUO) is situated in northeastern Finland and ranks as the country’s fifth busiest airport, generating considerable profits. The airport has a single runway that measures 2,800 meters (9,186 ft) in length.
An interesting fact about KUO airport is that during its establishment in 1939 and throughout the Finnish-Soviet Continuation War, the runways were entirely constructed of plywood. However, they have been upgraded to asphalt, resulting in enhanced safety and efficiency. KUO airport is used by both the Finnish Air Force and commercial airlines, playing a vital role in connecting military and civilian operations.
4. Tampere-Pirkkala Airport (TMP)
Tampere-Pirkkala Airport (TMP), which was established in 1936, is one of Finland’s oldest airports, boasting one of the longest runways in the country. The airport has a single runway that measures 2,700 meters (8,858 ft) in length.
The runway was paved in 1958 and serves both commercial and military aircraft, making it a critical link for both civilian and military operations. Located in southern Finland, TMP airport serves as a gateway to the Tampere region, which is renowned for its cultural attractions and industrial heritage.
5. Kauhava Airport (KAU)
Kauhava Airport (KAU) was previously utilized for military activities until 2014 and currently holds the fifth position on the list of Finnish airports with the longest runways. The airport has a single runway that is 2,700 meters (8,858 ft) long.
Although KAU’s runway may not be suitable for accommodating fully loaded Airbus A380 or Boeing 747 aircraft, it can still serve as a landing strip for other types of planes, including turboprops and popular models such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. KAU airport is a crucial hub for both military and civilian activities in western Finland.
In conclusion, Finland’s airports with the longest runways play a crucial role in connecting the country to the world. With Helsinki Vantaa International Airport leading the pack, the other airports on this list provide important links for both civilian and military operations, as well as serving as gateways to some of Finland’s most popular regions. As air travel continues to grow, these airports will remain essential in connecting Finland to the rest of the world.
Also, you might be interested in reading: Which airports have the shortest runways?
- Source: Simple Flying
Atlanta Airport Retains Title for Busiest Airport
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) has once again been named the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic for the year 2022.
According to data published by The Airports Council International (ACI) this Wednesday, Atlanta leads the list of busiest airports by a large margin, with around 93 million passengers passing through the airport in 2022. That’s more than 256,711 passengers per day, on average, traveling through Atlanta. Following Atlanta is Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with around 73 million passengers in 2022.
Atlanta has held the number one spot for busiest airport for almost every year since 1998, coming in second only once in 2020 to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.
Why is Atlanta the Busiest Airport?
Although Atlanta is not a significant tourist destination or an highly populated city, it still holds the title for the busiest airport due to 2 primary reasons:
- The city’s geographical position in the Eastern part of the United States. Atlanta’s location enables it to be within a two-hour flight of 80% of the US population, making it an important connecting point between cities.
- Atlanta’s role as the primary hub for Delta Airlines, which is headquartered in the city. The large majority of flights in Atlanta are from Delta Airlines.
Increasing Trend for Air Travel
The passenger traffic data from ACI for 2022 shows a recovering trend in air travel for Atlanta airport. All airports among the top 10 busiest had an increase in passenger traffic from the previous year, with Atlanta seeing a 23.8% increase; however all but 2 airports (Istanbul and Denver) among the top 10 fell short of their numbers from 2019. Nevertheless, Atlanta’s passenger volume has been increasing steadily since 2020 and is on track to return to its pre-pandemic levels from 2019.
Atlanta Airport Passengers:
2019: 110.5 million
2020: 42.9 million
2021: 75.7 million
2022: 93.7 million
Will passenger traffic during this year at ATL return or even surpass that of 2019? The Airports Council International believes that a full recovery in global passenger traffic won’t happen until 2024, however Atlanta could reach its pre-pandemic levels sooner.
READ ALSO: The World’s Largest Airports
Cover Image: Atlanta Journal Constitution
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