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Weight/Balance Issues On Am Eagle ATR's

Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:30 am

I took a day trip the other day BGI-SJU-BGI on an American Eagle ATR72.

On the way back from San Juan to Barbados the check in agent couldn't give me a seat allocation as there were already 48 people checked in and they had to wait to see if any more seats were released.

He told me to go to the gate and wait for my name to be called out. That afternoon a lot of Eagle flights from San Juan to various Caribbean islands had these "weight and balance" issues. Soon requests were being made for passengers to volunteer to be bumped from most departing Eagle flights.

I started to worry that I wouldn't get on the flight so I started to be really nice to the agent at the gate. Soon the passengers with assigned seats were boarded, and the rest of us had an agonising wait.

Eventually most of us were allowed to take the flight which left about 3/4 full.

My question is what are these weight and balance issues that affect ATR's in the Caribbean? Is it weather-related? This seems to happen a lot to Eagle flights.

Is BGI at the limit of an ATR's range (2h15m)?
Will RJ's ever be deployed in the Caribbean?

After a while the flight on an ATR can seem quite long! Having said that, in contrast to my other Eagle flights in the Caribbean, the crew were really nice and friendly both ways.
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RE: Weight/Balance Issues On Am Eagle ATR's

Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:00 am

Just a guess, but they may have had a larger-than-ususal cargo load.

Sometimes that can be more profitable than flying passengers.
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RE: Weight/Balance Issues On Am Eagle ATR's

Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:59 am


I have a good friend who's an ATR72 F/O for Eagle in the Caribbean, based out of SJU. I'll give him a call later and see what's going on.

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RE: Weight/Balance Issues On Am Eagle ATR's

Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:13 am

In December 2003, on a AA-Eagle ATR-42 flight SJU to Beef Is. BVI, I was told for the purposes of take off and until level flight, to take the assigned seat and that I could move later. The flight was only about 50% full and I ended up seated to a full bodied guy and I did later move to a starboard window seat for the view (and it was great!).
As to ATR vs. RJ's, probably:1) they are excelent for use on the shorter runways at many destinations (as turboprops), 2) maybe AA/Eagle partner companies still have long leases on them and 3) ATR's cannot be used much anymore in colder climates due to icing problems (recall the winter crash of an AA Eagle ATR in Illinois a number of years ago). ATR's also have good cargo capacity as well in the way they are configured, probably better than RJ's would be.
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RE: Weight/Balance Issues On Am Eagle ATR's

Sat Feb 18, 2006 6:11 am

Thanks for the replies, guys. I don't know a lot about operating aircraft etc, but as a layman it seems to me that American Eagle should be able to operate their routes with the aircraft that are up to the range and other local conditions.

It was pretty annoying to not to have a seat allocation at check in on my return as I was only on a day trip and I had a confirmed reservation.

I was disappointed not to be able to check in online. Also I found that there was no means of entering my One World FF number when I made my booking, so I had to call their reservations number after making the booking.

Does anyone know how old the ATR's are the American Eagle operate in the Caribbean?
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RE: Weight/Balance Issues On Am Eagle ATR's

Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:33 pm

They mainly do it beacuse of ferry fuel. Fuel in SJU is usually a lot cheaper than down island.

As for RJs in SJU, I highly doubt it, as said earlier neither the ERJs or CRJs have the cargo capacity to come close to what the ATRs have. Also they'll be even more weight restricted than the ATR because of the Higher Max Landing weights and shorter flights.

As for the ages of the ATRs, the oldest 72-202 N270AT came online 12/91 and the oldest 72-212a(500) came online 7/97.

I reject your reality and subsitute my own
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RE: Weight/Balance Issues On Am Eagle ATR's

Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:45 pm

Is BGI at the limit of an ATR's range (2h15m)?

ASA frequently flies ATR72s between Montreal, Canada to New Iberia Acadiana Airport in Louisiana for maintenance. The fuel tanks can hold almost 12000lbs of can EASILY make the trip. Now I can't speak for the specs on AE's ATRs and the fuel requirement on your particular trip but one thing for sure about the ATR72s....once you start putting some people and bags on, the amount of fuel that can carry significantly drops to stay within limits...payload issues frequently occured at 4600-5400lbs between ATL-GPT or ATL-PFN or ATL-GNV...It wasn't the landing weight that we often exceeded but the weight was maxed out for takeoff at this level. A full ATR doe not go far...we were bumping people and bags behind constantly on these routes during the summer months...and ASA has never flown an ATR72 on a route that took 2h15m...not even close. That is a LONG way on an ATR.


[Edited 2006-02-18 06:11:54]

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