8900.1 CHG 608


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Section 1  Safety Assurance System: Evaluating a Certificate Holder/Applicant’s Weight and Balance Program


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A.    Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS). For Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 91 subpart K (part 91K) and 125, use the following PTRS activity codes:

1)    Avionics: 5328.
2)    Operations: 1338.
3)    Maintenance: 3328.

B.    Safety Assurance System (SAS). For 14 CFR parts 121 and 135, use SAS automation and the associated Data Collection Tools (DCT).

NOTE:  Reporting will be done in Sections 2 and 3 of this chapter.

3-3967    OBJECTIVE.

A.    Purpose. This section provides information on a certificate holder/applicant’s Weight and Balance Program (WBP).

B.    Contents. This chapter consists of the following sections:

    Section 1: General information regarding the evaluation of WBP.

    Section 2: Guidance for principal operations inspectors (POI).

    Section 3: Guidance for principal maintenance inspectors (PMI).

3-3968    GENERAL.

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A.    Certificate Holder’s WBP. The WBP is comprised of aircraft weighing, passenger and baggage (standard average, survey, or actual weights), and cargo operations. Weight and Balance (W&B) control is a shared responsibility of the assigned principal inspectors (PI). All PIs must work closely together in order to achieve safe, complete, accurate, and compliant programs. The certificate holder/applicant’s WBP can be (1) an independently controlled document that includes all the instructions and procedures for W&B control, or (2) included as a controlled part of another manual(s).

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B.    Delineation of Responsibilities. Table 3-127, Delineation of Responsibilities, provides an overview of the responsibilities between the aviation safety inspector (ASI) disciplines and aircraft certification. This overview is not a comprehensive list. Its intent is to display the overlap, and specific areas of discipline responsibility in relation to elements of W&B, airplane limitations, and cargo operations. Direct responsibility is determined by which PI approves or accepts the manual.

Table 3-127.  Delineation of Responsibilities



Aircraft Certification

Control of Weight and Balance (W&B): weight distribution of cargo, passengers, baggage, fuel on board aircraft.

Aircraft conformity inspections with type certificates (TC)/ Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) and supplements.

Approval of TC/STC instructions for continued airworthiness (ICA), Aircraft Flight Manuals (AFM), Weight and Balance Manuals (WBM), including associated supplements that are necessary to meet 14 CFR part 91, § 91.9(a) operating limitations (including loading) revisions.

Training of flightcrews and other operational personnel: cargo buildup, loading, supervising loading, hazardous materials (hazmat), load manifest, cargo loading system (CLS), and W&B limitations.

Training of personnel: hazmat, aircraft markings, minimum equipment list (MEL), continued airworthiness of CLS and unit load devices (ULD), aircraft weighing, and center of gravity (CG) calculations.


Ground handling: use of equipment.

Ground handling: condition and serviceability/condition of equipment.


Cargo scales and weighing process.

Incorporate into the inspection and maintenance program.


CLS operations and configuration of cargo compartment.

Proper application of CLS, replacement and repair of components in the MEL.

Define the CLS (per TC/STC) and associated operating limitations.

Operator following ULD compatibility per TC/STC and damage limits.

ULD continued airworthiness, damage limits, serviceability, and return to service.

Define approved list of ULD for each airplane (per TC/STC).

Pallets and restraint devices (nets, straps, ropes, etc.): usage and operating and serviceability checks.

Pallets and restraint devices (nets, straps, ropes, etc.): airworthiness standard/limitations, serviceability, and damage limits. Repair facility follows Technical Standard Order (TSO) repair instructions and ICAs for repair of restraint devices.

TSOs for products (e.g., pallets, nets, straps).

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Table 3-127.  Delineation of Responsibilities (Continued)



Aircraft Certification

Cargo handling: includes cargo acceptance, cargo buildup, cargo weighing, cargo staging, special handling of cargo, hazmat, and cargo transport to and from aircraft.



Cargo loading: includes loading cargo aboard aircraft, cargo loading supervision, load verification, securing, and restraint calculation.

Cargo loading: inspect to ensure cargo compartments are placarded and incorporated into the inspection and maintenance program.

Ensure each cargo compartment has placards. Define operating limitations (including loading limitations).

Operational checks, inspection of installation and use of:

    Nets (9G and intermediary),

    Smoke barriers, and

    Smoke detectors.

Installed nets (9G and intermediary), smoke barriers, smoke detectors, inspection/installation procedures, and incorporation in the maintenance program.

Approve ICAs for TSO nets or other specific nets and smoke barriers.

Ensure all contracts are complied with when using contracted entities for freight forwarding, interlining, and other vendors (for cargo buildup, loading, preparing load manifest, etc.).

STCs to include integration of ICAs into the maintenance program, including any aging aircraft program limitations and inspection adjustments.


Authorize A-series OpSpecs associated with the Weight and Balance Program (WBP). Accept operator WBP in conjunction with the principal maintenance inspector (PMI) and principal avionics inspector (PAI).

Authorize D- and E-series OpSpecs associated with the WBP. Accept operator WBP in conjunction with the principal operations inspector (POI).


Load manifest: including documentation, load verification, W&B calculations, not exceeding operating limitations, notification to pilot in command (PIC) of hazmat in accordance with 49 CFR part 175, § 175.33.



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Table 3-127.  Delineation of Responsibilities (Continued)



Aircraft Certification

Anything related to station operations providers and vendors (including auditing) that are not associated with repair stations.

Anything related to maintenance providers and repair stations including vendors and auditing (e.g., authorized vendor list).

Airworthiness Directives (AD), Certificate Maintenance Requirements (CMR), and participation in the Maintenance Review Board (MRB).

Approval and/or acceptance of documents and/or manuals related to the subjects in this column is performed by the POI.

Approval and/or acceptance of documents and/or manuals related to the subjects in this column is performed by the PMI and/or PAI.

Approval and/or acceptance of documents and/or manuals related to the subjects in this column is performed by the Aircraft Certification Office (ACO).

C.    Program Authorization.

1)    The POI is responsible for authorizing all “A” series operations specifications (OpSpecs) related to W&B control.
2)    The PMI authorizes the aircraft’s weighing procedures and is responsible for authorizing the “E” series OpSpec.

NOTE:  The WBP and its authorizations are a shared responsibility of the assigned POI, PMI, and PAI. All disciplines, including cabin safety inspectors (CSI) and dispatch safety inspectors (DSI) and Cargo Systems Program Managers, must work closely together in order to achieve a safe, complete, accurate, and compliant WBP authorization.

D.    Program Authorization Process.

1)    Authorizations/Approvals by the POI. To authorize the OpSpec, see Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 3. See Volume 3, Chapter 47, Section 2 for manual review, approval, or acceptance.
2)    Authorizations/Approvals by the PMI. To authorize the OpSpec, see Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 6. See Volume 3, Chapter 47, Section 3 for manual review, approval, or acceptance.


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A.    TC and Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) Issuance. When the FAA approves the design of an aircraft, it issues an approved TC and TCDS. The TCDS includes all pertinent specifications for the aircraft. The W&B information is available in the TCDS under “Data Pertinent to All Models.” The TC may refer you to the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) that contains the W&B procedures.

1)    The AFM must be furnished with each airplane and must contain the information required by 14 CFR part 25, §§ 25.1583 through 25.1587. The AFM contains Operating Limitations specific to the airplane, including loading instructions necessary to ensure the loading of aircraft within the weight and center of gravity (CG) limits, and to maintain the loading within these limits in flight. The W&B control and loading document that is incorporated by reference into the AFM is commonly referred to as the WBM and is part of the Operating Limitations for the airplane.
2)    The certificate holder/operator manual must contain methods and procedures for maintaining the aircraft weight and CG within approved limits. When certificate holders/operators develop operational methods and procedures, they must not exceed the Operating Limitations of the AFM, including the WBM and instructions contained in it. Certificate holders are required to comply with the Operating Limitations under part 91, § 91.9(a).
3)    In accordance with 14 CFR part 21, § 21.41, the Operating Limitations are included in the TC. Therefore, modifications that change the Operating Limitations require an amended or STC. Revisions to the AFM are approved as supplements by the cognizant aircraft certification office (ACO).

B.    Certificated Aircraft Information. A certificate holder/applicant must know certain information before it can properly weigh an aircraft and compute its empty weight center of gravity (EWCG). The FAA furnishes this information for every certificated aircraft in the TCDS or aircraft specifications available to all certificate holders and is available at: http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/Frameset?OpenPage.

NOTE:  The certificate holder’s equipment list that comprises the Basic Operating Weight (BOW) of the aircraft must be validated to ensure that it is current.

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A.    Submitted Program. The certificate holder/applicant must submit procedures by which it can show that all aircraft are properly weighed, loaded, and will not exceed approved W&B limitations during all operations. These procedures must be part of a controlled manual system that includes all instructions and procedures for maintenance, operations, and cargo handling. The W&B control procedures (including cargo operations control manual) must:

1)    Include company procedures and instructions for completing forms used in aircraft weight control and aircraft loading. The submitted information should include mathematical justification for loading provisions or schedules.
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2)    Indicate the source of the data used to develop the program. This data may come from the manufacturer’s W&B documentation referenced from the TCDS, the AFM/Rotorcraft Flight Manual (RFM), and STC information.
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3)    Contain the duties, responsibilities, and authority for flight, ground operations, maintenance, and management personnel.
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4)    Identify the training requirements for flight, ground operations, maintenance, and management personnel.

NOTE:  Weight should be a consistent measure, either pounds or kilograms. If both pounds and kilograms are used, procedures must include a method of conversion to ensure accurate weights and measures are used in the calculation of aircraft W&B.

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B.    Unusual or Complex Programs. If the certificate holder/applicant proposes an unusual or complex W&B program, or if that program is substantially different from the W&B document or approved AFM/RFM, request assistance from the Air Transportation Division and the Aircraft Maintenance Division.

C.    Evaluation by Flight Standards (FS) Cargo Focus Team (CFT) for Parts 121 and 135 Certificate Holders. The CFT will conduct evaluations of the WBP using the SAS Certificate Holder Evaluation Process (CHEP). These CHEPs may be conducted solely by the CFT or jointly with the Safety Analysis and Promotion Division. See Volume 10, Chapter 8, Section 1 for details of the CHEP procedures. This ensures the air carrier has addressed all policies, procedures, methods, and elements involved in the transport of cargo and in their WBP.

1)    SAS Design Assessment Data Collection Tools (DCT). A Custom DCT or a combination of DCTs are available to assess the design of the certificate holder’s WBP.
2)    PI Determines and Implements Corrective and Follow-Up Action. The PIs determine and implement follow-up actions in response to Design Assessments completed during the evaluation.


A.    Aircraft Weighing/W&B Documents.

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1)    Review the manufacturer’s maintenance program in the Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM), aircraft service manual, Advisory Circular (AC) 43.13-1, Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices—Aircraft Inspection and Repair, Chapter 10, and/or AC 120-27, Aircraft Weight and Balance Control.
2)    Verify that the W&B weighing information in the aircraft’s WBP document and AMM include current W&B information such as:

    Empty weight and EWCG limits;

    Weighing the aircraft;

    Configuration control;

    Weighing schedule; and

    Personnel training.

B.    Aircraft Loading and Operation/W&B Document.

1)    Review the manufacturer’s program documents for cargo loading, W&B control, and Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM)/Rotorcraft Flight Manual (RFM).
2)    Verify that the W&B information in the loading and operation W&B control document and AFM includes current information, such as:


    Loading graphs;

    CG envelopes;

    Loading schedules;

    Index tables;

    Load manifest; and

    Personnel training.

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A.    General. A significant number of U.S. certificate holders participate in the CRAF program. The DOD established this program to provide a rapid, organized system to augment the airlift capability of the DOD aircraft during emergency situations. The CRAF program encompasses both passenger and cargo operations. Certificate holders who participate in the CRAF program commit a specified number of aircraft and crews to meet DOD requirements in the event CRAF is activated by the DOD. In exchange for this commitment, certificate holders may be awarded DOD contracts, also called military charters. Both CRAF and military charters are regulated under part 121 requirements.

B.    Deviations. Waivers, deviations, or exemptions are not automatically given to certificate holders participating in the CRAF program. Title 14 CFR part 119, § 119.55 provides the regulatory basis for a certificate holder to petition for a deviation when performing operations under a U.S. military contract. A certificate holder that has a contract with the U.S. DOD’s Air Mobility Command (AMC) must submit a request for deviation authority to AMC. AMC will review the request, then forward the carrier’s consolidated requests, along with AMC’s recommendations, to the FAA for review and action. Unless granted a deviation by the Administrator under § 119.55, all operations supporting the DOD are considered commercial airlift operations and conducted under applicable 14 CFR regulations.

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NOTE:  Certificate holders conducting DOD operations, including CRAF, are regulated under 14 CFR requirements, and must use their WBP.

3-3973    TASK OUTCOMES. Task outcomes will be completed in Sections 2 and 3 of this chapter.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-3974 through 3-3984.