Small aircraft loading

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B.Cub
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Small aircraft loading

Post by B.Cub »

What is the best advice you've heard for loading cargo/baggage into small a/c (DHC2, C206, C180 and the like)?

What is the most awkward thing you've ever had to haul and how did you do it?
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C-FDPB
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by C-FDPB »

Try to load the bulk of the load under the wing in the center of gravity. Use float hatches when able. Keep in mind how far you're flying and fuel burn with belly tanks for c.g. if you're in a dhc. Wont affect things too bad. Flown lots of stuff on the inside and outside. Lumber, boats, canoes, windows, etc. On the float. One of the worst was an extendable ladder. Produced all sorts of drag and was a bit of a pain. All the best. Keep it within your ability.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by TailwheelPilot »

1. Keep it within weight and balance limits.

2. Tie it down.

For full loads, loading denser items forward, bulkier items rearwards is a pretty good philosophy for small planes. With light loads you may find loading rearward flies better or is easier to load, depending on type.

Not all airframes of the same type are the same. CGs can vary a lot, as can weights, on similarly equipped planes. In my (very limited) experience operators do not always consider these differences among planes of the same type in their fleet (or when they buy a plane).
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by ayseven »

Bullwinkle's head would barely fit in the C206. One of the more interesting customers I had, even though the rest of him was in wooded boxes in the back. Guns pointed towards the tail, unloaded. Check this before loading.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by valleyboy »

Flying things like snow machines, small fridges in a bvr crossways with both rear doors removed. Don't go too long an item because obvious reasons.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by North Shore »

All of the above points.

Oddest thing I ever flew was a dead wolf that had sat outside in -20C for a few days. paws were straight down, head and tail straight out. Loading him in a 185 was like getting a table around a tight corner! :lol:
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by ayseven »

It is funny how nonchalant I was through all that, even though I am an animal lover.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by valleyboy »

Had a super cub show up at the dock in Red Lake with a bear sitting in the back seat. I think he was even wearing a hat :smt040
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by rigpiggy »

DB in a bag 172, in flight gases caused it to sit up. Family was not amused
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by Redneck_pilot86 »

valleyboy wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:26 am
Had a super cub show up at the dock in Red Lake with a bear sitting in the back seat. I think he was even wearing a hat :smt040
I flew two live grizzly cubs out of the bush once. Did they ever stink.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by goldeneagle »

Redneck_pilot86 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:03 am
I flew two live grizzly cubs out of the bush once. Did they ever stink.
I had regular customers back in the early 80's, flew them almost every weekend for two years, out to the cabin friday afternoon, back to big smoke sunday afternoon. They had a parrot, and the only place it would sit quietly in the airplane was on the yoke in front of me. Get it on the yoke in front of me, it would look ahead and sit quietly for the whole 45 minute flight. I'm sure the other side would have worked too, but, plane didn't have dual controls.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by tractor driver »

Portable saw mill as external on DHC-3T.
Draggy as hell.
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mr.aviation
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by mr.aviation »

best advice I could give is heaviest stuff as far forward as you can get it. Put light stuff at the back and that will lock the other stuff from shifting back. If it is not a full load then ropes and nets work well. Take advantage of float compartments (although you almost always forget you put something in there) and put beer under the seats. As for the weight and balance if it is on floats look at the back of the floats but also the spreader bar. If the spreader bar is close to water and back of floats are under you are heavy but ok. If the back are under but the spreader bar is far up you are aft c of g. If the plane is on wheels and is nose wheel such as a 206/ 182 you can lift up on the prop and how much force it took and if it will come back down after you lift up will tell you if your aft. Tail wheel loaded you wont be able to lift the tail even if its OK. I have never had a plane be to nose heavy loaded unless its an external load. I have only ever had them be nose heavy empty and on bigger float planes. Biggest piece of information is just put as much weight as far forward as you can and you will be good.
As for some of the worst stuff to fly I have been told ladders and trusses are scary to fly. Apparently the rungs create a huge amount of drag and can blanket the tail.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by PilotDAR »

As for the weight and balance if it is on floats look at the back of the floats but also the spreader bar. If the spreader bar is close to water and back of floats are under you are heavy but ok.
You're okay, if you've done a reasonable weight and balance calculation, and found yourself to be in limits. Otherwise, you might not know for sure. How the airplane is floating is going to be an inadequate explanation if something goes wrong - and things go wrong because of poor loading.
I have never had a plane be to nose heavy loaded unless its an external load.
I have, several 182 amphibians. The worst was only made compliant because a lighter MT prop was installed. It was still necessary to make some aerodynamic alterations to make it fly right at the forward C of G limit.

Sure, a plane will get airborne, and fly out of limits. However, when you notice that it's flying wrong because it's out of limits, it's going to be too late to make it right. If too far forward, you may have trouble flaring to land. At best, adding a bunch of power might get the nose up. Too far aft, and if you approach a stall a little ball out, it's likely to spin, and be unrecoverable.

I did spin testing on a modified 185 landplane, which was errantly loaded 2 inches behind the aft limit - it was really messy to recover from the spin.

For all the screwed up things I have seen in aviation, errors in W&B top the list.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by Redneck_pilot86 »

mr.aviation wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:00 pm
best advice I could give is heaviest stuff as far forward as you can get it. Put light stuff at the back and that will lock the other stuff from shifting back. If it is not a full load then ropes and nets work well. Take advantage of float compartments (although you almost always forget you put something in there) and put beer under the seats. As for the weight and balance if it is on floats look at the back of the floats but also the spreader bar. If the spreader bar is close to water and back of floats are under you are heavy but ok. If the back are under but the spreader bar is far up you are aft c of g. If the plane is on wheels and is nose wheel such as a 206/ 182 you can lift up on the prop and how much force it took and if it will come back down after you lift up will tell you if your aft. Tail wheel loaded you wont be able to lift the tail even if its OK. I have never had a plane be to nose heavy loaded unless its an external load. I have only ever had them be nose heavy empty and on bigger float planes. Biggest piece of information is just put as much weight as far forward as you can and you will be good.
As for some of the worst stuff to fly I have been told ladders and trusses are scary to fly. Apparently the rungs create a huge amount of drag and can blanket the tail.
Its possible to load an Islander too nose heavy. They'll still fly, but you run out of trim and need considerable force with full flap on landing.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by valleyboy »

Like everything else it has become far more complicated and people think that if you use your "gazintas" the math will never lie. I get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing people buy into this (we are talking small aircraft). I actually flew the first 5 years of my career never knowing what the gross weight of the aircraft I flew. We worked with "standard" loads and log book was always "W/L" We also had far better control of W/B because we carried no seats. People sat on their gear and we could always control the balance. I'm not saying it was right but that was what it was. Standard loads, fuel and pilots were not factored into it and on floats the proof in the pudding was if it would get on step and on skis one knew the aircraft well enough to load so it flew. These aircraft are small and it does not take too much to load them within c of g. The first time for me w/b came into play for me when moving from a bch18 to a DC3 and now it was a whole new world. Even started to think about engine out performance. We flew the Bch as if it we a single engine and engine issues was immediate landing. One would never try to fly single engine on a loaded bch18. Few have tried and unfortunately paid the ultimate price.

I guess the point of all this rambling is that doing the math is not always accurate, people do make mistakes, back it up with common sense and visual clues. On the herc we could always check the balance looking at the front air stair and it's height above the ground when down. Even on large aircraft a visual is always good.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by bronson »

Do a W&B for a couple of typical loads and see how they come out. The a/c will fly best right on it's aft c of g.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by mr.aviation »

PilotDAR wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:44 pm
As for the weight and balance if it is on floats look at the back of the floats but also the spreader bar. If the spreader bar is close to water and back of floats are under you are heavy but ok.
You're okay, if you've done a reasonable weight and balance calculation, and found yourself to be in limits. Otherwise, you might not know for sure. How the airplane is floating is going to be an inadequate explanation if something goes wrong - and things go wrong because of poor loading.
I have never had a plane be to nose heavy loaded unless its an external load.
I have, several 182 amphibians. The worst was only made compliant because a lighter MT prop was installed. It was still necessary to make some aerodynamic alterations to make it fly right at the forward C of G limit.

Sure, a plane will get airborne, and fly out of limits. However, when you notice that it's flying wrong because it's out of limits, it's going to be too late to make it right. If too far forward, you may have trouble flaring to land. At best, adding a bunch of power might get the nose up. Too far aft, and if you approach a stall a little ball out, it's likely to spin, and be unrecoverable.

I did spin testing on a modified 185 landplane, which was errantly loaded 2 inches behind the aft limit - it was really messy to recover from the spin.

For all the screwed up things I have seen in aviation, errors in W&B top the list.

I have never seen someone do an accurate W+B in the float industry flying for hire. Everyone looks at the floats to see how it is sitting. Alot of floats have a ledger line on them or people know what rivet to stop at. Not saying its right im just saying I have never seen someone break out the pen and paper or the wheel before they get in.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by mr.aviation »

Redneck_pilot86 wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:08 pm
mr.aviation wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:00 pm
best advice I could give is heaviest stuff as far forward as you can get it. Put light stuff at the back and that will lock the other stuff from shifting back. If it is not a full load then ropes and nets work well. Take advantage of float compartments (although you almost always forget you put something in there) and put beer under the seats. As for the weight and balance if it is on floats look at the back of the floats but also the spreader bar. If the spreader bar is close to water and back of floats are under you are heavy but ok. If the back are under but the spreader bar is far up you are aft c of g. If the plane is on wheels and is nose wheel such as a 206/ 182 you can lift up on the prop and how much force it took and if it will come back down after you lift up will tell you if your aft. Tail wheel loaded you wont be able to lift the tail even if its OK. I have never had a plane be to nose heavy loaded unless its an external load. I have only ever had them be nose heavy empty and on bigger float planes. Biggest piece of information is just put as much weight as far forward as you can and you will be good.
As for some of the worst stuff to fly I have been told ladders and trusses are scary to fly. Apparently the rungs create a huge amount of drag and can blanket the tail.
Its possible to load an Islander too nose heavy. They'll still fly, but you run out of trim and need considerable force with full flap on landing.

use less flap and carry more power and speed. I have flown a few planes that are nose heavy empty just not loaded. All of them I just take less flap and keep the power in to add more air over the tail.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by rigpiggy »

C207 load it until the tail drops, if it comes up when you get your butt in the pilots seat youre GTG
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by PilotDAR »

Not saying its right im just saying I have never seen someone break out the pen and paper or the wheel before they get in.
Well... I was glad I had when I was ramp checked by TC at the dock in Yellowknife after I pulled up in the 185. I had all of my paperwork, including a written W&B for the flight, and my cargo was tied down, and TC was happy. I have been told by another pilot, that he was ramped at that dock before departing, and actually violated for not having a W&B prepared.

Yes, there are times I fly planes I know, knowing that they are not at gross, and within limits, so I'm not trying to say that I write out a W&B every time, I don't. But, if in doubt/it's a new plane to me/it's an uncertain load/ I need to make the every most of the airplane's capability, I'll do a written W&B.

For the benefit of those pilots who choose not to exert the effort to renew their skills in doing a W&B, when I'm doing an approval which involves W&B, one aspect will be a reality check - will this mod allow the plane to be easily loaded out of limits? If so, I will take additional action to reduce the risk of the airplane being loaded out of limits, which has included my declining approving the mod.

I repeat that an airplane will fly a little out of limits, but if you bugger up your flying, it might be unrecoverable - you'll be lucky if you live to explain how you misloaded the plane, 'cause the TSB will figure out that you did....

In the information age, with all kinds of software which makes it so easy, why are people making posts intimating that a W&B calculation is not needed, when there is doubt about the plane being loaded within limits?
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by Redneck_pilot86 »

mr.aviation wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:59 pm
Redneck_pilot86 wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:08 pm
mr.aviation wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:00 pm
best advice I could give is heaviest stuff as far forward as you can get it. Put light stuff at the back and that will lock the other stuff from shifting back. If it is not a full load then ropes and nets work well. Take advantage of float compartments (although you almost always forget you put something in there) and put beer under the seats. As for the weight and balance if it is on floats look at the back of the floats but also the spreader bar. If the spreader bar is close to water and back of floats are under you are heavy but ok. If the back are under but the spreader bar is far up you are aft c of g. If the plane is on wheels and is nose wheel such as a 206/ 182 you can lift up on the prop and how much force it took and if it will come back down after you lift up will tell you if your aft. Tail wheel loaded you wont be able to lift the tail even if its OK. I have never had a plane be to nose heavy loaded unless its an external load. I have only ever had them be nose heavy empty and on bigger float planes. Biggest piece of information is just put as much weight as far forward as you can and you will be good.
As for some of the worst stuff to fly I have been told ladders and trusses are scary to fly. Apparently the rungs create a huge amount of drag and can blanket the tail.
Its possible to load an Islander too nose heavy. They'll still fly, but you run out of trim and need considerable force with full flap on landing.

use less flap and carry more power and speed. I have flown a few planes that are nose heavy empty just not loaded. All of them I just take less flap and keep the power in to add more air over the tail.
There are only 2 flap settings in the Islander - 25 degrees for take-off and 56 degrees for landing. There is no feasible way to stop them between these settings (pulling the breaker will do it, but the breaker panel is not easily accessed and not something your focussed on short final). As you can imagine, there is a significant difference in the landing distance required between these two settings. The same with speed - even 5 kts fast will significantly increase landing distance. 10-15 kts fast and take-off flap and it simply won't land. They're pretty impressive little machines.
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Re: Small aircraft loading

Post by PilotDAR »

I have flown a few planes that are nose heavy empty just not loaded. All of them I just take less flap and keep the power in to add more air over the tail.
If it is necessary to use flap setting other than those specified in the flight manual, you're doing it wrong, and correct what is wrong, before you continue to fly it wrong.
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