N 8900.417


National Policy

Effective Date: 4/21/17



Cancellation Date: 4/21/18


Custom Data Collection Tool for All Part 121 Certificate Holders Using Computerized Weight and Balance Programs


1.    Purpose of This Notice. This notice announces the availability of the Safety Assurance System (SAS) Custom Data Collection Tool (C DCT) titled Cargo Loading Schedules, Manifests, and Weight and Balance Programs. Aviation safety inspectors (ASI) can use the C DCT when performing surveillance on Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 certificate holders/operators.

2.    Audience. The primary audience for this notice includes part 121 principal inspectors (PI). The secondary audience includes Flight Standards Service (AFS) headquarters (HQ) personnel who approve and/or review certificate holder operations specification (OpSpec) authorizations.

3.    Where You Can Find This Notice. You can find this notice on the MyFAA employee website at Inspectors can access this notice through the Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) at Operators can find this notice on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) website at This notice is available to the public at

4.    Distribution. The following offices will receive this notice:

    AFS divisions located at FAA HQ in Washington, DC;

    Regional AFS offices at the branch level; and

    All part 121 certificate-holding district offices (CHDO).

5.    Background. Due to the ever-changing global cargo environment, certificate holders are using complex computerized Weight and Balance (W&B) systems to determine weight, center of gravity (CG), and weight distribution limitations. A certificate holder’s W&B program may contain several computerized systems that affect the W&B of the aircraft for flight with programs that reside with freight forwarders and interlining offices. Some of these systems are sophisticated programs using computerized charts, Excel spreadsheets, computer applications, hand-held devices, or a desktop computer. Examples of programs that you may find are:

    Programs or software that develop load manifest;

    Programs or software used to determine how to load the aircraft (e.g., load plan or Excel listing unit loading devices/station weights);

    Centralized load planning programs;

    Loading schedule programs;

    Aircraft W&B programs; and

    Electronic programs that provide data to the pilots for flight.

6.    Discussion. We are aware that part 121 certificate holders use different types of computerized W&B systems that reside with a contractor. It is the certificate holder’s responsibility to have policies and procedures in place to ensure that the current W&B programs are available and followed by the contractor. The intent of the C DCT is to gather data on the various computerized W&B programs in use and to ensure that certificate holders are loading aircraft using programs that contain current and FAA-approved data. The FAA’s certificate management team must authorize all computerized W&B programs.

Note:  If an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) is utilized to calculate W&B, an operator must obtain authorization through their PI to update their EFB program. The authorization requirements for an EFB program are found in FAA Order 8900.1, Volume 4, Chapter 15, Section 1, Electronic Flight Bag Operational Authorization Process, and Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 3, Part A Operations Specifications—General, OpSpec/MSpec/LOA A061, Use of Electronic Flight Bag.

7.    Action. Within 90 days of the date of this notice, PIs responsible for authorization and acceptance of part 121 W&B programs must conduct surveillance using the Cargo Loading Schedules, Manifests, and Weight and Balance Programs C DCT.

8.    Disposition. We will not incorporate the information in this notice into Order 8900.1. Direct questions concerning the information in this notice to the Aircraft Maintenance Division, Repair Station Branch (AFS‑340) at (202) 267-1675 or


/s/ John Barbagallo

Deputy Director, Flight Standards Service