Now that the new weighing process is in place, the next weighing of your aircraft will be its last ‘routine’ weighing. It’s therefore really important to weigh it carefully and get it right. See TIL 012 issue 5 on the website for the exciting details.
With respect to timings, in general the next weighing is due 5 years after the last weighing (under the old procedure). However, for aircraft whose last weighing expired on or after 1 August 2014 (and before the 31 December 2016), the next weighing can be delayed until the end of 2016.
Example 1: aircraft last weighed 30 April 2012; next weighing due 29 April 17.
Example 2: aircraft last weighed 30 April 2011; next weighing due 31 December 2016.
Example 3: aircraft last weighed 30 April 2010; next weighing due 31 December 2016.
Example 4: aircraft last weighed 30 April 2009; weighing overdue!
Note that under the new weighing system there is no penalty for weighing your aircraft early.
So what has changed?
Calendar based reweighs are no longer mandated – however the BMAA does still recommend weighing at least every 10 years (5 years for wooden & composite airframes).
· Clarification of empty weights – Basic Empty Weight (aka Zero Fuel Weight) & Actual Empty Weight:
o Basic Empty Weight (aka Zero Fuel Weight) – All existing airframes are accepted as is, new airframes still need to demonstrate compliance, but this can be done by calculation.
o Actual Empty Weight – The empty weight of the aircraft in its flying or operational state. This weight can be greater than the basic empty weight. This weight includes all additional non-essential components fitted, such as spats, GPS, radio, seat covers, baggage hammock, etc. Critically for 3-axis types this is the point at which balance is also checked.
· Annual Review – The Inspector is now tasked with checking that the aircraft weight and balance report is up to date at each inspection (including placarding). It is important that all weight changes are accounted for as and when they occur. If the Inspector is dissatisfied with the state of the weight report a reweigh may be the best cause of action.
· Spreadsheet – A new weight and balance spreadsheet has been produced. Macros have been removed and the calculator has been tested on Apple and Android devices. The report has a new inventory section, which must be used to record all items fitted at the time of weighing.
Information and documentation for the permit renewal and weighing process can be found in the Aircraft Technical section of the BMAA website, or by clicking here. There is additional information about the inspection and check flight process here.
Please contact the BMAA tech Office should you require any clarification.
Knowing the weight and CG of an aircraft before each flight is hugely important. The change away from a routine five yearly weighing does not change that fact or reduce its importance. Know your weight, check your C of G.