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Weight and Balance Changes

Inspector guidance on approval of aircraft weight and balance (W&B) control programs for aircraft operated under Parts 91, 91K, 121, 125, and 135 is being extensively revised by the FAA.  The revision will bring it into line with our changing society, the agency said.  According to the draft guidance, which has been released for comment through April 27, principal operations inspectors are to notify operators that they should update the programs in accordance with the latest advisory circular on W&B control programs, AC 120-27F, and submit them for approval.

The FAA released AC 120-27F last year, updating guidance on how to develop and receive approval for a W&B control program, including information on the use of average estimated weight programs for passengers and baggage.  This was needed because, over time, the information contained in earlier versions of AC 120-27 along with W&B control program approvals and acceptances had become outdated.  As an example, the FAA said the survey program and approval procedures did not reflect weights currently observed throughout the world.

Previous versions of AC 120-27 published standard average weights for persons, based on Center for Disease Control (CDC)/National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) surveys, and for baggage directly.  However, the agency said this approach could not keep pace with CDC/NHANES weights based on changing passenger behavior.  The updates still use CDC/NHANES data and still provide the option of using weights, but provides updated recommendations of how to incorporate standard average passenger crewmember and baggage weight into authorized W&B programs.