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An Important Message About Flight Safety

The following are excerpts from Transport Canada’s Aviation Safety Letter article, written by John Quarterman, manager of member assistance and programs for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA). It is a timely and vital message that is often overlooked or ignored.

Transport Canada recognized the trend in personal mass (weights), in response to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) recommendations following the crash of Georgian Express Flight 126 on January 17, 2004, and other crashes preceding it. And so on January 20, 2005, Transport Canada updated section RAC 3.5 of the Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM) with new male and female standard weights, including both summer and winter weights. 

The average weight of passengers on Georgian Express Flight 126 using standard weights was 183.3 lbs. (9 men at 188 lbs. and one woman at 141 lbs.). Using actual weights the average passenger weight was 240 lbs. This represents an increase of 56.7 lbs. per passenger from published standard weights.

I recently offered to fly any member of our local EAA Chapter to a fly-in provided we could meet the maximum take-off weight limitation for my Luscombe (with necessary fuel and minimum baggage) of 1400 lbs. To do so the passenger would have to weigh no more than 150 lbs. I had no takers.

Let’s review our Canadian Aviation Regulations, (CAR)

CAR 602.07 states in part:

No person shall operate an aircraft unless it is operated in accordance with operating limitations . . .

CAR 704.32 states in part:

No person shall operate an aircraft unless, during every phase of the flight, the load restrictions, weight and centre of gravity of the aircraft conform to the limitations specified in the flight manual.

TC AIM RAC 3.5 states:

The CARs require that aircraft be operated within the weight and balance limitations specified by the manufacturer. Actual passenger weights should be used, but where these are not available, the following average passenger weights, which include clothing and carry-on baggage, may be used:


Males, 12 yrs. and older - 200 lbs or 90.7 kg.
Females, 12 yrs. and older -165 lbs. or 74.8 kg.
Children, 2-11 yrs. - 75 lbs. or 34 kg.
*Infants, 0 to 2 yrs. - 30 lbs. or 13.6 kg.


Males, 12 yrs. and older - 206 lbs. or 93.4 kg.
Females, 12 yrs and older - 171 lbs. or 77.5 kg.
Children, 2-11 yrs. - 75 lbs. or 34 kg.
*Infants, 0 to 2 yrs. - 30 lbs. or 13.6 kg.

*Add where infants exceed 10 percent of adults 

So just for fun, do a sample weight calculation for your favorite 1960s aircraft with these winter weights for males, and see what it does to the remaining useful fuel and baggage load, and the subsequent CG location.

COPA has evaluated several modern flight-planning packages . . . and all of them offer excellent facilities for turning out accurate weight and balance forms in a snap.

So the bottom line? Do these weight and balance calculations. If you need to arrange a painless computer program to do them, by all means do so. It could save you embarrassment or worse. For more information visit COPA at www.copanational.org.

Ref: AC90-89A

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