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FAA Says People Have Gotten Heavier  
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6204 posts, RR: 12
Posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 2352 times:

FAA changes rules to reflect heavier passengers, luggage

LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer Monday, May 12, 2003

(05-12) 23:02 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --

Not only have Americans gotten heavier, but so have the bags they carry onto planes.

The government acknowledged both of those trends on Monday when it raised its 8-year-old estimates of how much passengers and their luggage weigh. The new standard was prompted a crash last winter that killed all 21 people aboard a commuter plane in Charlotte, N.C.

The Federal Aviation Administration is adding up to 10 pounds to its estimate for passengers and 5 pounds to luggage. The weights are used to gauge whether a plane is overloaded.

The new weight standards are temporary until a committee to be appointed by the FAA conducts a broad, in-depth survey of passengers' weights, which will form the basis for a permanent standard, FAA spokeswoman Diane Spitaliere said.

Instead of weighing all passengers and their bags, airlines generally use official government estimates to determine whether a plane is too heavy to fly safely.

The FAA's new estimate is that passengers weigh 190 pounds, including clothing and carryons. The old standard was 180 pounds for summertime travelers and 185 for winter.

Children 2 to 12 will continue to be estimated at 80 pounds. Checked bags now will be estimated to weigh 30 pounds rather than 25.

Spitaliere said U.S. air carriers have 90 days to implement the changes. Airlines will have the option of using their own estimates if they survey their passengers' weight within that time.

Weight is important for all planes, but critically so for smaller aircraft. Too many bags or a few heavy people in the back could change the plane's center of gravity and make it harder to fly.

Regional airlines support the FAA's plan, saying a much broader survey is needed than one conducted soon after the Charlotte crash.

Still, there is concern that permanently raising weight estimates could force airlines to eliminate seats to comply.

Debby McElroy, president of the Regional Airline Association, said safety was the top priority. "If the data shows that this is necessary in order to ensure the safety of the passengers and employees, we're going to make those changes."

US Airways Express Flight 5481, which crashed Jan. 8, was judged to be within 100 pounds of its maximum takeoff weight. The 19-seat Beech 1900 turboprop plunged to earth shortly after takeoff at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Weight and mechanical problems are under investigation as possibly contributing to the accident.

After the crash, the FAA ordered 15 regional airlines to check passenger weights. The survey showed that the average passenger weight was higher than the estimates by 20.63 pounds, carryon bags were higher by 5.72 pounds and domestic checked bags by 3.81 pounds, the FAA's Spitaliere said.

Some regional airlines quickly changed their weight estimates, she said. Air Midwest, for example, now estimates passengers at 200 pounds and checked bags at 30 pounds.

David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, said those figures show that the FAA weight estimates are still too low.

"Something's wrong with the FAA's math," he said. "This new estimate is almost 50 percent off what their surveys show."

The FAA's announcement followed the release Monday of tapes of conversations between the cockpit and controllers just before the US Airways Express plane crashed 37 seconds into its flight to Greer, S.C.

Capt. Katie Leslie declared an emergency just before the plane plunged to earth, but never described the problem.

The National Transportation Safety Board also is looking at possible mechanical problems.

In a preliminary report, the NTSB said tension controls for the elevators -- the tail flaps that move up and down and cause the plane to climb or dive -- were set improperly. One cable was nearly 2 inches shorter than the other. Slack cables lessen pilot control over the elevators.

The NTSB will hold hearings into the cause of the crash beginning May 20.





Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePmcdonald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2260 times:

"After the crash, the FAA ordered 15 regional airlines to check passenger weights. The survey showed that the average passenger weight was higher than the estimates by 20.63 pounds, carryon bags were higher by 5.72 pounds and domestic checked bags by 3.81 pounds, the FAA's Spitaliere said."

Just curious here: How did they conduct that survey? Did they actually weigh people prior to boarding?

I agree with the head of the ATA about the FAA's numbers still being too low. I mean I'm not one of those circus acts that guesses peoples weight or anything but have your really looked around at your fellow passengers on flights here in the US? Looks like a lot of folks have been a bit too fond of Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast or something.


User currently offlineNonrevman From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1297 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2252 times:

This is not going to bode well with airline costs. The result is going to be some hefty (no pun intended) weight restrictions on some of the long haul flights as well as smaller aircraft. This will result in more "no riding" of passengers, freight, and bags on some of these flights as the airlines try to get the weight calculated under the restrictions. As it stands, some routes and airports are already faced with big weight restriction issues. Who knows, maybe they should just make everyone weigh in on a scale so they will know exactly what the payload is.

User currently offlineFlywithken From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 223 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2245 times:

I am a ramper for Alaska Airlines at their hub in SEA. I think that having an average is a good way to have close estimates, but people pack differently for different markets. For example, checked baggage going North to ANC, FAI, etc. seem to weigh about a million pounds...ok so maybe not that much  Big grin While baggage going to SNA seems to consist of lots of relatively lighter roller bags. I hope you understand what I am saying.

Maybe some kind of averages for different markets would be a good idea. Although different airlines' bags may not vary as much as ours do...I don't really know. Just a thought.



User currently offlinePmcdonald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2244 times:

Perhaps this question would be appropriate in the tech/ops forum, but it applies here: Are a/c actually weighed in any way before pushback? I don't think it would be that difficult to accomplish. This is something that I have no idea about, so I'll leave it to those who are more familiar with operations.

User currently offlineAWA22 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2238 times:

I am not aware of any passenger carrier that weighs their aircraft prior to push back, the aircraft are however atleast at HP weighed once a year with just the equipment on board.

User currently offlinePmcdonald From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2232 times:

Now as I said, I know very little about a/c ops; but-and this may be an inappropriate analogy, but the highway patrol has mobile scales to weigh trucks, would it be plausible to have some type of similar system to weigh a/c or some other mechanism to weigh them at the gate? It just seems to me that it would take all of the guesswork out of a potentially serious safety issue such as this one.

User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2203 times:

Took them this long to figure out that Americans are getting huge?

FSP


User currently offlineAvObserver From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 2472 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2193 times:

Another good reason for a lot of my fellow Americans to start some SERIOUS dieting!  Big grin

User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4490 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2182 times:

Just curious here: How did they conduct that survey? Did they actually weigh people prior to boarding?

I was weighed about a month after the AMW crash before boarding an Air Midwest B190 RDG-PHL. They weighed my carryon and my checked bag and asked me my own weight. They added 10lbs on to the weight I gave them.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineDelta-flyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 2676 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2162 times:

On my very first flight ever, in 1957, every passenger was weighed with all his/her baggage and belongings on a large scale prior to boarding. The pilot recorded the weights on a clipboard.

We flew on a chartered TCA North Star from Vienna to Moncton, NB, making two stops enroute.

Pete


User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8507 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2108 times:

In The High and the Mighty the author said that passengers were weighed, but the scale was hidden, as it wouldn't do "to ask a matronly passenger her weight."

User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2084 times:

am not aware of any passenger carrier that weighs their aircraft prior to push back, the aircraft are however atleast at HP weighed once a year with just the equipment on board.

-----

One does not only have to determine the gross weight of an aircraft for each flight, one also has to have a rough determination as to how that weight is distributed. Scales that weigh the whole plane would not help with that.


User currently offlineBobrayner From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2065 times:

Scales that weigh the whole plane would not help with that
Surely, if you get separate loads for each axle (how else would you weigh an airliner?) it's trivial to establish the CG along the longitudinal axis.

But back in the real world, it would be quite inappropriate to weigh the whole machine after boarding  Smile Easier just to have passenger weighing sessions once in a blue moon.



Cunning linguist
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6204 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2034 times:

How does one determine the CG when located somewhere other than the longitudinal axis? The only formula they teach us small airplane pilots is WEIGHT X ARM = MOMENT, and TOTAL MOMENTS / TOTAL WEIGHTS = CG (inches from datum line).


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 15, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2017 times:

I was really surprised to see what their weight estimates were in the first place... Perhaps I just come from a heavy family, but my father never weighed less than 180 lbs. withOUT his luggage (he's 6'1") and I now weigh 230 lbs. withOUT my luggage (yes, I'm... obese, but I can still fit in a single seat without difficulty.) With my luggage I've got to be close to 300 lbs.!

All I have to say to the FAA is one word...
DUH!


redngold



Up, up and away!
User currently offline747-451 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 2417 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2015 times:

Well, what would you expect with a McDonald's kiosk in the terminal  Smile

User currently offline777guy From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 492 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2014 times:

Ask any passenger who has been stuck in the center of three seats if Americans are getting fatter.  Yeah sure Of course we are and that is the truth.

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