UA735WL
Topic Author
Posts: 252
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:08 pm

Fully Loaded Airliners

Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:18 pm

Hi folks!

I recently an article about the Cessna 185 in which the author praised the airplane for being able to take off with full fuel tanks and all four seats occupied- something fairly uncommon in the world of airplanes, largely because the weight required to strengthen the structure reduces efficiency on flights where the airplane is lightly loaded and the capacity isn't needed. I assume that this translates to larger airplanes as well, but then got to thinking about how manufacturers often offer increased MTOW variants of airplanes.

So my question is this- are there any airliners that are capable of being fully loaded (not necessarily to MZFW, but with all seats occupied and bags for all pax)and then taking off with full fuel tanks? I *think* that a 160k MTOW MD-88 with -219 engines and no aux fuel capacity (39.5k lbs of fuel total) is capable of this...but I'm not sure if this is actually a configuration that exists (not sure if all 160K Maddogs have aux tanks).

I'm also wondering if there are any airliners that offer a higher MZFW option in conjunction with a higher MTOW? I remember hearing something about MZFW in regard to the A359 ULR but can't remember the specifics.

-Jonas
"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions" -Tex Johnston
 
mikejepp
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:47 pm

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:30 pm

Though I don't have an answer for your question (and I'd like to know if there are any, too!).... fun fact....

At the other end of the scale, the lighter MTOW A330-200s (such as the 233T ones), with standard furnishings and max fuel load are usually right about at MTOW.... they can carry roughly 0 payload.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:01 pm

I can’t think of an example, even very few bizjets can fill the tanks and the seats. Jets have a much larger fuel fraction than do small piston engines planes, mostly for range, but also to account for that fuel consumption.



Gf
 
SteelChair
Posts: 654
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:37 am

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:07 pm

757-200 is the most "overbuilt" performer that I can think of.....hard to max it out when operating from long runways. Big wing and engines, narrow low capacity fuselage (compared to widebodies)
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:41 pm

Just using Wikipedia weights, you’re probably right on a 2-class 757. OEW of 130,000; payload around 41,000 and 75,000 of (full) fuel equals 246,000 on a MTOW of 255,000.

GF
 
OldAeroGuy
Posts: 3517
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 6:50 am

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:40 am

The 777-300ER comes to mind.

In Boeing brochures, circa 2006 with the Boeing spec OEW for a marketing 3 class interior with 365 pax and bags, the airplane could be loaded with full fuel. The resulting takeoff weight would be less than the MTOW of 775k lb (351.5t). In performance engineer parlance, the airplane was fuel volume limited.
Last edited by OldAeroGuy on Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
crownvic
Posts: 2328
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:16 pm

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:03 am

I bet the CV-580 and possibly the Electra can do it...
 
OldAeroGuy
Posts: 3517
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 6:50 am

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:52 am

The 777-200LR without auxiliary tanks is even more fuel volume limited. With an MTOW only 9k lb less than the 777-300ER, It carries at about 60 fewer passengers (+12k lb less payload) and is over 30 ft shorter (50k lb less OEW). The 777-200LR full passenger ZFW is about 62K lb less than the 777-300ER ZFW.

With the same fuel tankage as the -300ER, a full passenger -200LR will have a takeoff weight about 62K lb less than a -300ER. While the -300ER is slightly fuel volume limited, the -200LR without aux tanks is extremely fuel volume limited.
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
CATIIIevery5yrs
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:40 am

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:31 am

A320-200, no ACT’s installed.

One flight that stands out was an early 2018 west bound transcon with very strong headwinds. We left full in the back and we didn’t leave any bags or cargo. The fuel tanks were topped off, which with the conditions that day came out to 42,400 lbs of fuel.
 
slcguy
Posts: 272
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:09 pm

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:19 am

CATIIIevery5yrs wrote:
A320-200, no ACT’s installed.

One flight that stands out was an early 2018 west bound transcon with very strong headwinds. We left full in the back and we didn’t leave any bags or cargo. The fuel tanks were topped off, which with the conditions that day came out to 42,400 lbs of fuel.


Sounds like a rare event. A full A320 west bound transcon bucking strong winter headwinds is notorious for needing tech stops for fuel. SLC gets a lot of them. Nine to twelve in one day is not uncommon. One evening we had six at one time (JetBlue and Virgin America) hard standed just waiting for the fuel trucks and FD to move from one aircraft to the next. Guess this is a little different than the original post about full payload and max fuel and more about the range of the aircraft. Very common though especially if west coast weather is bad requiring more reserve fuel for holding and/or diversions.
 
spacecadet
Posts: 3287
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:05 am

OldAeroGuy wrote:
The 777-300ER comes to mind.


Can confirm and it's obvious if you think about it. These are the planes used on routes like JFK-NRT, which I fly often. That route is 6,731 miles, which is not much less than Boeing's stated range for the type of 7,370 miles. Add in required reserve fuel and you're probably pretty close to max effective range (especially when factoring in headwinds). So you've got pretty close to a full fuel load, if not a full fuel load. And I've flown that route on that plane plenty of times with a full cabin. I've never experienced a payload limitation as I did once or twice even when 747's were used on this route.

You can *feel* it when you're in a fully loaded 777-300ER on takeoff. Extremely powerful plane taking off extremely heavy. It's like doing a 1/4 mile drag race in a Saturn V rocket.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
747Whale
Posts: 557
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:39 pm

UA735WL"
I recently an article about the Cessna 185 in which the author praised the airplane for being able to take off with full fuel tanks and all four seats occupied- something fairly uncommon in the world of airplanes, largely because the weight required to strengthen the structure reduces efficiency on flights where the airplane is lightly loaded and the capacity isn't needed. [/quote]

I'm not sure what you're trying to say, but all aircraft are designed to be capable of being flown to the published gross weight. There is no additional weight required to strengthen the structure; it's acceptable from its empty weight to max gross, no additional strengthening needed.

The issue with the Cessna 185 is an example of useful load with full tanks; it has a gross weight high enough and an empty weight light enough, and the performance to fill the tanks, and the seats. There's not a lot of room left for baggage. The 185 is a wonderful performer, by the way. The Cessna 206 is known as a flying truck, for the same reason. In most light airplanes, if the seats are filled, one is often reducing fuel to stay within gross weight, or one is reducing passenger and or fuel load to allow for necessary performance. This may be takeoff distance or climb performance.

[quote="UA735WL wrote:
So my question is this- are there any airliners that are capable of being fully loaded (not necessarily to MZFW, but with all seats occupied and bags for all pax)and then taking off with full fuel tanks?


Passenger flights operate relatively light, compared to the same aircraft when operated in a cargo capacity, which often take off at gross.

There is seldom need to carry full fuel; the minimum necessary fuel is generally carried, given fuel reserve requirements, to make a given flight. Fuel costs money, passengers and cargo generate revenue. Any extra fuel requires a higher fuel burn just to carry the extra fuel. Tankering fuel isn't efficient, and is wasteful.

When seats and cargo are filled, no more fuel than necessary will be carried, unless an economic reason exists for tankering the extra weight; typically only in the case of fuel availability or cost at a destination. Generally to fill tanks will mean a reduction in payload, and thus revenue.

Cargo operations typically operate at gross much of the time, reducing only if revenue cargo isn't available or the trip length requires enough fuel to require a reduced payload. Limitations can also include takeoff performance, and on short legs, landing performance.

Typical planning will look at a leg and determine the maximum weight that can be carried, then look at the payload to determine what's expected or requested for the leg, then look at the fuel needed to move it. If insufficient fuel is available within the weight restriction and payload for a given weight limitation (which may be less than gross weight due to runway length, climb requirements, etc), then payload must be reduced until the necessary balance is found.
 
UA735WL
Topic Author
Posts: 252
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:08 pm

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:40 am

747Whale wrote:
UA735WL wrote:
I recently an article about the Cessna 185 in which the author praised the airplane for being able to take off with full fuel tanks and all four seats occupied- something fairly uncommon in the world of airplanes, largely because the weight required to strengthen the structure reduces efficiency on flights where the airplane is lightly loaded and the capacity isn't needed.


I'm not sure what you're trying to say, but all aircraft are designed to be capable of being flown to the published gross weight. There is no additional weight required to strengthen the structure; it's acceptable from its empty weight to max gross, no additional strengthening needed.

The issue with the Cessna 185 is an example of useful load with full tanks; it has a gross weight high enough and an empty weight light enough, and the performance to fill the tanks, and the seats. There's not a lot of room left for baggage. The 185 is a wonderful performer, by the way. The Cessna 206 is known as a flying truck, for the same reason. In most light airplanes, if the seats are filled, one is often reducing fuel to stay within gross weight, or one is reducing passenger and or fuel load to allow for necessary performance. This may be takeoff distance or climb performance.

UA735WL wrote:
So my question is this- are there any airliners that are capable of being fully loaded (not necessarily to MZFW, but with all seats occupied and bags for all pax)and then taking off with full fuel tanks?


Passenger flights operate relatively light, compared to the same aircraft when operated in a cargo capacity, which often take off at gross.

There is seldom need to carry full fuel; the minimum necessary fuel is generally carried, given fuel reserve requirements, to make a given flight. Fuel costs money, passengers and cargo generate revenue. Any extra fuel requires a higher fuel burn just to carry the extra fuel. Tankering fuel isn't efficient, and is wasteful.

When seats and cargo are filled, no more fuel than necessary will be carried, unless an economic reason exists for tankering the extra weight; typically only in the case of fuel availability or cost at a destination. Generally to fill tanks will mean a reduction in payload, and thus revenue.

Cargo operations typically operate at gross much of the time, reducing only if revenue cargo isn't available or the trip length requires enough fuel to require a reduced payload. Limitations can also include takeoff performance, and on short legs, landing performance.

Typical planning will look at a leg and determine the maximum weight that can be carried, then look at the payload to determine what's expected or requested for the leg, then look at the fuel needed to move it. If insufficient fuel is available within the weight restriction and payload for a given weight limitation (which may be less than gross weight due to runway length, climb requirements, etc), then payload must be reduced until the necessary balance is found.


Hi 747Whale!

Your point about how full tanks are rarely necessary is well taken- that's what I was trying to communicate in the OP. As I understand it, the rarity of actually needing full tanks is why most airplanes *aren't* designed to be able to take full fuel with all seats occupied- the structural strengthening needed to allow for full tanks and seats adds weight and makes the airplane less efficient in instances where it's not necessary (which, as you've pointed out, is most of the time- that's the strengthening I was referring to in the OP).

I was actually surprised to find out that the 185 is able to accomplish such a feat- neither the light twin I fly now or the trusty 172 I did my private in have a big enough useful load to actually tank up and put four butts inside, so I figured that maybe a.net might know a few examples that buck the norm.

slcguy wrote:
Sounds like a rare event. A full A320 west bound transcon bucking strong winter headwinds is notorious for needing tech stops for fuel. SLC gets a lot of them. Nine to twelve in one day is not uncommon. One evening we had six at one time (JetBlue and Virgin America) hard standed just waiting for the fuel trucks and FD to move from one aircraft to the next. Guess this is a little different than the original post about full payload and max fuel and more about the range of the aircraft. Very common though especially if west coast weather is bad requiring more reserve fuel for holding and/or diversions.


To be fair, it was never actually stated that they made it all the way out west without stopping- just that the airplane departed with full tanks and a full cabin.

On a different note, I'll bet a lineup of transcon A320 diversions in SLC would make for some pretty cool pics... :bouncy:
"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions" -Tex Johnston
 
747Whale
Posts: 557
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Fully Loaded Airliners

Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:12 am

UA735WL wrote:

Your point about how full tanks are rarely necessary is well taken- that's what I was trying to communicate in the OP. As I understand it, the rarity of actually needing full tanks is why most airplanes *aren't* designed to be able to take full fuel with all seats occupied- the structural strengthening needed to allow for full tanks and seats adds weight and makes the airplane less efficient in instances where it's not necessary (which, as you've pointed out, is most of the time- that's the strengthening I was referring to in the OP).

I was actually surprised to find out that the 185 is able to accomplish such a feat- neither the light twin I fly now or the trusty 172 I did my private in have a big enough useful load to actually tank up and put four butts inside, so I figured that maybe a.net might know a few examples that buck the norm.


It's not an issue of strength or structure. It's an issue of performance. More structure and strengthening the airframe isn't required to enable full tanks and payload; it's performance. There comes a point when the flight becomes inefficient enough and the fuel burn increased by so much that the economic benefit has hit a point of diminishing returns.

When talking about passenger aircraft, the weight of a full load of passengers isn't really that great; passenger aircraft operate at light weights compared to the same aircraft hauling all freight, even with the lower cargo full (which it usually is). More fuel could be carried to take the aircraft to gross weight, but there's usually no benefit. Only a penalty.

I routinely flew the 172 on tours at high density altitude with all seats full, including takeoffs and landings inside the Grand Canyon in the summer. I towed banners with a 172 (and a 150). There are a lot of light airplanes that can be loaded up and safely flown, but one must always look past normal operations to the consequences of what happens when things don't operate normally. That light twin will lose an engine sooner or later; at a given weight and ambient temp, what's the single engine service ceiling? What's the terrain below?

It's not a lack of strength, but an issue of performance.

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