Ever fly with plane overloaded? Experiences?

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by LongRoadBob, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    I figured this might be a subject where folks want to be anonymous, maybe.

    I was just curious, I'm planning on never exceeding the load and do CG etc. on each flight but I was curious about it. Watched a show about outdoorsmen where one guy in Alaska was flying with something resembling a cub, filled to the brim with supplies. Got me wondering.

    Also about changing CG as one flies. Slightly overloaded say, but as one uses up fuel, the CG changes under way, and I guess depends on where the tanks are, but was thinking it might make it go to tail heavy.

    Generally just interested in experiences with this subject.
     
  2. robert lomax

    robert lomax Pre-takeoff checklist

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    just bought 6329R 66 PA 28 Im a plane owner mpg
    I did weight and balance tests for my cherokee, i still havent flown home.
    i did me and camping gear,,, full fuel and no fuel..
    i did it with me and my big best friend,, with no gear and gear, with full fuel, and no fuel..
    as long as i didnt overload the gross weight,, i never got out of balance..
     
  3. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    There's an app for that.
     
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  4. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    I've played with some settings, and also done it manually, but was more interested in actual experiences.
    Like how the elevators handled, problems, etc. or experiences where it was touchy but still ok.
     
  5. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    Controls are heavy and response is sluggish. Acceleration is sluggish. In a taildragger the tail is hard to lift. To maintain normal control on final the landing speed is a little higher. With faster speed and a heavier plane the brakes are less effective. The only way the be heavy and out of the CG envelope is to be aft. That makes the control feel even heavier and the landing speed even higher. Some planes fly very well at or slightly over gross. A Supercub is an example. You can feel the weight in the controls but the plane still performs well. Get a Skywagon over gross and you know it as soon as you leave ground effect. And that's a point to consider. You can get the plane off the ground in ground effect but once you do you're committed. Getting it down safely may not be as easy as you think.
     
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  6. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

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    What goes here?
    As far as your concerns about the CG changing during flight there is a simple solution. When you do your preflight W&B calculation figure it with the fuel you plan on beginning with and again with the amount left when making your planned fuel stop or better yet with empty tanks (worst case scenario). If either one take you outside of the envelope, don't fly without making changes.
     
  7. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I did my first several lessons in an overloaded 152.

    When I learned about W&B, I figured it out and switched to a 172. I was mad as hell that my instructor didn't figure it out first, given that I was a zero time student pilot.

    It climbed slowly, but it was February/March, so it made it. That would have been fun on a hot summer day.

    The 172 sure seemed like a powerful beast after that.
     
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  8. overloaded

    overloaded Guest

    About 25 years ago I moved from Nevada to Alaska, so I packed the Sport like a station wagon. Didn't like the way the plan felt when I took off. Sluggish and the controls were real heavy,stall warning chirping. The takeoff was real flat glad there were no obstacles in front of me. Scared the heck out of me. When I landed for fuel I took about 175lbs out of the plane and mailed it to myself in Ketchikan. The plane handled fine for the rest of the journey. That's one of those Never again moments....:)
     
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  9. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    There is a Learjet story about how they worked for a car manufacturer. They had to fly out and pick up 2000 pounds of parts. Well, they got airborne, and the airplane felt very heavy, but made it to their destination.

    Turns out the jet was loaded with 2000 kilograms!
     
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  10. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    I'd bet that happens quite often, everywhere a 150 or 152 is used for instruction.

    A pair of 180 pound men can put it over the limit.
     
  11. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    I'm not trying to be a test pilot or ferry pilot so no.
     
  12. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    I owned a Cessna 150 for awhile...two adults and full fuel guarantees that it is over gross...by quite a bit actually. Not saying I did it, but if I did, I bet it flew just fine...;) (But exceeding book numbers for takeoff distance, etc., of course)
     
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  13. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Same here. My first flight was in a 152. It was also my last flight, in a 152.
     
  14. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

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    How do you know your instructor didn't know from day one that the plane was overloaded? It's not uncommon to hear of instructors and even examiners looking the other way at minor gross weight transgressions. Your instructor's comfort level with the loading may have simply been greater than yours.
     
  15. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Pattern Altitude

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    I'm not going to go into any great detail here but one time going out of Newark (our nation's armpit) in a Beech 1900 I was pretty sure we were gonna buy that Ramada Inn that used to sit off the end of runway 29. We managed to limp over it somehow - thank you Walter Beech !
     
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  16. citizen5000

    citizen5000 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    W&B is only part half of the issue. Density Altitude is the other half. You can fly a non fully loaded plane in high density altitude and still not have enough runway or climb power to stay in the air.
     
  17. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

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    OP, you're likely to get a bunch of holier than thou responses on this board but the fact of the matter is that out in the real world there are a lot of airplanes that get overloaded on a regular basis (I'm not saying it's right, just saying it happens). I've seen a 172 with so much weight inside that I thought the landing gear was going to break off but it still managed to stagger into the air (barely). I know of a Malibu that I don't believe has made a takeoff in years that was under gross as well.

    The first thing to consider is that the performance charts the manufacturer provided will be of no use. Takeoff distance will be longer, rate of climb will be less. If you overload it far enough you may get the airplane off the ground but may never be able to climb out of ground effect. Hopefully it is cold out and you have a long runway.

    If you manage to get off the ground and fly a while, the airplane will get lighter as you burn fuel. Hopefully you can burn enough that your landing will be under gross and in CG. If it is, no big deal, just land as you normally would. Some airplanes are more sensitive to approach speed at different weights than others and you'll want to account for that. With time you'll figure out what feels comfortable for an approach speed in a given airplane.

    As far as the CG shift with fuel burned, I always do a weight and balance with my departure fuel and zero fuel to see what is going to happen to the CG. Some move forward, others move back. You can usually tell pretty quick if you have a forward or aft CG with where the trim is set and how it feels. With an aft CG the plane will be less stable than it will with a forward CG.
     
  18. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, for one thing, I actually know the instructor.

    Even if you were right, silence on safety matters is even worse.

    I was not offered the opportunity to participate in the decision. The reason was cluelessness, but it's a problem for any reason.
     
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  19. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Yes. In Alaska.

    If the plane is not full on every trip, money is being lost.
     
  20. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

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    I'm not disputing right or wrong. I'm just telling you there are plenty of instructors around who aren't clueless on weight matters, they just willingly bend the rules.

    The problem I see with this is when it comes to the weight and balance lesson. It would be pretty hard to look a student straight in the face when you're telling them not to exceed MGW yet you do it every time you fly with them. That's not leading by example.

    I'd expect that any instructor who isn't completely clueless knows their own weight and can size up a student reasonably accurately to determine if the W&B is going to work or not. For me in a 152, my threshold is 200lbs. Any more than that and we're either going to need to leave fuel behind (not realistic at the local FBO) or take a bigger plane.
     
  21. mulligan

    mulligan Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm sure there is a safety factor built in. I have seen some folks on the tarmac unload and there is no way they made weight. It is probably 25% or do but I'm not going to be the guy to find out the hard way.
     
  22. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    She never asked MY weight. I didn't know the significance of that at the time.

    She's small, but not small enough.

    Nor did I ever see her work through W&B.
     
  23. skidoo

    skidoo Line Up and Wait

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    Weight & Balance.. What's that??? I did most of my lessons in a C-150, including the C-150 aerobat. I got my certificate at 118 lbs :) My instructor was light too. Are students/instructors eating too much these days??

    That said, I now carry a few extra lbs, and have moved to a 182...:)
     
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  24. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    I talked to a guy at oshkosh that was proud of the fact that he flew his 182 400-600lbs over gross. Seemed to have decided that Cessna was wrong about the plane's gross weight.

    The fact is though you put severely increases stress on the wing spar and connecting joints such that they can plastically deform. Not a good idea. This eats into your margin of safety for turbulence.
     
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  25. Rykymus

    Rykymus Line Up and Wait

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    I did, once. I was taking my brother and his wife on their first small plane ride. They sat in the back. I believe I was at about half tanks, and the DA was a bit high. I was only about 20-30 pounds overweight, but the CG was fine. I could have sat on the ground and burned off a few gallons, but we had 10,000 ft runway, and about a 10kt headwind at the time. Nothing but open fields on the upwind. I warned my passengers that if we had trouble getting off the ground, I'd abort halfway down the runway, and take each of them up one at a time. (I even offered to take them up one at a time to begin with, but they really wanted to share the experience together. Both were pretty nervous.) The plane was slow to reach Vr, and I waited until Vr+5 to rotate. Just before rotation, I put in two notches of flaps. That, and the headwind made the plane leap up off the runway like an elevator. Took the flaps down to one notch at 100 ft, and all out at 300ft. Plane handled fine.

    I should note, however, that it was not my first time flying at gross. I had already flown the plane several times at gross, (the first time with my instructor), so I knew what to expect, and had already experimented with strategies to deal with the extra weight. I also spent a lot of time when I first got my plane, comparing real-world performance with book performance, in a number of conditions and weights. So I had a pretty good idea of what my plane could and could not do.
     
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  26. Cpt_Kirk

    Cpt_Kirk En-Route

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    Turbocharged Saratoga. Cold winter day. 6 people. Bags. 70 gallons of gas. About 300 pounds over, very aft CG. Takeoff was a little longer than normal. Climb was a tad bit slower. Pitch was very sensitive in cruise - as in it would get itself into pitch oscillations without physically holding the yoke to stop it. Approach speed, landing, and rollout were all affected.

    These are all things the pilot told me. I have more from others that share similarities to the one above, but the outcome was the same.

    Some airplanes handle weight better than others. Its still not a good idea.
     
  27. Rykymus

    Rykymus Line Up and Wait

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    After the first few lessons, I don't think my instructor ever asked me to do a weight and balance prior to flight, except when we decided to try a low wing one day.

    Personally, I've worked out just about every common loading scenario I might use in my own plane, so I know when I'm close to being out of the envelope. I'm also pretty good at guessing weights, if need be. (A skill left over from my paramedic days.) I still fill out a W&B in Foreflight for every flight, but that's pretty much just in case I get ramp-checked. But if I'm close to being outside the envelope, I do the math by hand to double check foreflight.
     
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  28. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks, and to all of you, and keep me coming!

    That was really good information. Also, as a student, I have been taught to not just do the CG computations for the initial takeoff but for fuel used, and it's easy to see that the CG moves as fuel is burned. I tend to make graph points for takeoff, and regular fuel weight loss per hour, and see the trend.

    But again, I was re interested in hearing real life experiences, and you guys all me through. Thanks!
    Again, keep 'em coming. It's great to have access to experience!
     
  29. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Who would admit on a public sight ,of flying overweight. It's a personal choice,not recommended,give it a try,let us know how it goes.
     
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  30. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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  31. craigh

    craigh Filing Flight Plan

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    I flew at gross for several years, as did the previous owners..... Then we weighed the plane and it had gained 105lbs. :eek: So, I guess it could theoretically take off over gross, but I just cut back the amount of junk I carry or leave a little more air in the tanks.
     
  32. ragedracer1977

    ragedracer1977 Pre-Flight

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    So it was loaded down with 450lbs instead of 2000lbs? I think you might have got it backwards. =)
     
  33. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Are you referring to a specific airplane or airplanes in general?
     
  34. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sounds like the Ernie Gann Taj Mahal experience.
     
  35. Cpt_Kirk

    Cpt_Kirk En-Route

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    OP, you can also research how overloaded they flew O-2's (C337 Skymaster) in Vietnam as well as other military aircraft over the years.
     
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  36. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    An airplane flies better a little over gross than it does with no fuel.
     
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  37. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    CEN15FA190. But departing overgross probably gave him enough fuel to make it home. He just.....didn't make it home.
     
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  38. robert lomax

    robert lomax Pre-takeoff checklist

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    just bought 6329R 66 PA 28 Im a plane owner mpg
    You are the backwards one,,, study your Metrics..
    2000 kilograms of car parts weighs,,, 4400 lbs!!
     
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  39. Tantalum

    Tantalum Pattern Altitude

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    I've often wondered about this... if you are below maneuvering speed then wouldn't the wing stall before a critical deforming load was exceeded? At least that's what I've been told, and that the biggest issue is marginal climb, etc

    I've never done it, my phobia is an accident where the NTSB finds some bone headed thing like WB or stall spin on final...
     
  40. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    While it's true you have more inertia which would make it harder for you to get knocked around in turbulence, when you do experience G force it's going to be a LOT harder on the airframe. I think normal category aircraft are rated for up to 3.8G at max gross weight. If you exceed this the plane is then only good up to significantly less G force.