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Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:41 am
by UK_Dispatcher
On certain aircraft types or certain configurations of aircraft, it can be necessary to use ballast in order to correct the aircraft's CG.

I was wondering what solutions different airlines use, what the certification requirements are (if any) and whether there are companies out there who can provide ballast solutions to airlines.

Any information would be appreciated.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:49 am
by CosmicCruiser
We use either unusable fuel or a ballast pallet.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:19 pm
by KingAir200
A lot of regional airlines use either sandbags or rubber planks.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:19 pm
by 474218
I have seen lead ingots and steel I beams.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:21 am
by dairbus
Sandbags are the most common form of ballast where I worked but in a pinch I have also used cases of sodas and bundles of in-flight magazines.  


I have also seen some airlines use bags with filled with lead shot.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:34 am
by tb727
I'm only familiar with freighters but on the Zantop Electras I remember looking up there and seeing a pallet with a big plastic container they could fill with water for ballast. On the 72 we have our pretty heavy flyaway kit up in the forward part of the front belly pit and sometimes use fuel but that's rare because we usually need it and you can't burn ballast fuel. Brake assemblies and spares work too if you have the room.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:15 am
by johnclipper
At ABX, there were "C" containers filled with cement as ballast.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:47 am
by 747m8te
Airlines ive worked for usually use sand bags...mostly this has occured on ferry flights, or flights with really light passenger loads, some aircraft just cant fly empty, and need extra weight distributed for the best CG for the aircrafts trim! the Embraer 170/190s are known for this.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:16 pm
by FlyASAGuy2005
We use to have sandbags but did away with them. They were very messy and the weight was never right because we would have a spill and no one would say anything to have them refilled but rather just tie the bag back up. We now use what looks like rubber dumbbells each weighing 50lbs I think.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:34 pm
by CanadianNorth
Round here it's rarely needed, but on the HS748 when they are empty they tend to be front heavy, so for training flights and the like we keep a couple boxes of old chains, retired bottle jacks, etc, and strap those in the aft baggage area. If they are ferrying out for a longer trip like a fuel haul or something then a box of oil, couple spare tires, some tools, and a few other bits and pieces like that usually does the trick.


CanadianNorth

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:19 am
by Dalmd88
I hate the sand bag route. On the MD80 when the aft bin is inop ballast is used back there instead of bags. Usually it is inop due to a damaged aft floor panel. Before you fix it you have to move all these leaking sand bags. The bin tuns into a beach sometimes. Making that panel sucks enough without adding the sand element.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:22 am
by Dufo
In Saab 340 cargo we use 25kg sandbags and/or 5gallon water tanks. Not more than two are needed in the rearmost compartment though, usually not even that.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 7:50 pm
by HAWK21M
Depends on the load required.....Sandbags for larger loads,unserviceable tires for smaller loads.
regds
MEL.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:06 pm
by airtran737
On the MD-11F with the FAK in the bulk and the EFAK in the nose we have to take a minimum of 26,000 lbs of ballast in the upper aux to make her trim out. If we can't get the EFAK moved from the aft to the forward which is very common when flying for the military, then it takes about 54,000 lbs of ballast fuel to trim her out. The MD-11F is an extremely tail heavy bird, even on a normal flight we shoot for a -30 on the index unit to get her optimum CG. I prefer the 747F, which I work 90% of the time, but have chosen to go back to the MD-11F for the rest of the month. The 747 doesn't need ballast on ferry flights

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:18 pm
by AA737-823
On the aircraft that I'm familiar with, we use sand in 5-gallon plastic bottles. Each bottle weighs about 60 pounds.
Keeping it in plastic bottles eliminates the mess left behind by simply using leaky sand bags.

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:05 pm
by bjorn14
A bit OT but are their computer programs to figure out weight & balance or do ailines still use paper & pencil like I did in the old days?

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:47 pm
by KingAir200
Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 15):
A bit OT but are their computer programs to figure out weight & balance or do ailines still use paper & pencil like I did in the old days?

Depends on the airline. I would guess all major airlines do electronic weight and balance. NW did and DL does. A lot of regionals also do it electronically, but there are a few that still do it manually.

[Edited 2010-09-06 10:49:26]

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:09 am
by Zkpilot
A lot of aircraft have permanent ballast fitted (often in the overhead bins etc). As you can guess this is not ideal as every kg of weight being carried around = increased fuel burn = increased $$ not to mention less payload.
This is due to how the aircraft is configured internally (galleys, Lavs, seats, etc etc).

RE: Ballast - Airline Solutions?

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:03 pm
by twal1011727
Quoting DALMD88 (Reply 10):
On the MD80 when the aft bin is inop ballast is used back there instead of bags

Additionally, Delta removed the fwd airstairs for weight savings ; Unfortunately, this normally makes it necessary
to add sand on light pax flts or ferry flts.
There must be a hanger or storage compartment somewhere that has 117 MD88 airstairs stored in them.

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 8):
We use to have sandbags but did away with them.

Really.... is that why we have 5 pallets(50 bags each pallet) of 50lb sand bags here in MLB.
They are only needed on the dreaded CRJ-200s.

KD