Number 291
December 2003
A Monthly Safety Bulletin from The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 189, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189

Overweight and Out of Balance

Feeling a bit heavy? Got weight in the wrong places? If it's a personal problem, you can blame the holidays. But, if it's an aircraft issue, the culprit is likely to be a weight and balance error. At best, overloaded or improperly balanced aircraft experience degraded performance and handling. Large errors can result in the loss of stability and control.

Running the Numbers

This B737-300 flight crew did not follow up on the first clue that the load numbers were off. As the Captain reported, it took five more clues and a firm landing to confirm their suspicions.

Heavy Baggage

Failure to account for the additional weight of passenger's "heavy" bags can have a significant effect on the performance and control of smaller aircraft. In the first of two ASRS reports that address this matter, a Jetstream 41 crew wisely delayed their departure because of suspicious indications.

This ERJ 145 Captain's report on a heavy baggage incident was the subject of a recent ASRS Alert Bulletin.

An Alarming Takeoff

After making mistakes that almost led to an accident, this C172 pilot generously shared the experience through ASRS. It would be a mistake not to heed the lesson.

Holiday Hints

mistle toeHoliday pressures can affect concentration and judgement. Three ASRS reports offer some valuable lessons about this seasonal syndrome.

Just after an airport "turnaround" (from south to north oriented runway operations), this A310 flight crew was given clearance to cross an active runway enroute to the assigned runway. The Captain picks up the story as they approached the hold short line of the intermediate runway.

Several reports in the November 2003 Callback (#290) addressed the problem of unplanned flight into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). Another report on this dangerous practice offers a timely lesson: Don't let the pressure to get home for the holidays cloud your judgement.

Holiday fatigue and haste contributed to this private pilot's runway incursion.

From the Maintenance Desk

ASRS continues to receive reports concerning B767 wheel spacers. (see Callback #282, March 2003). The following two reports shed some light on possible causes for spacer problems on the nose gear.

According to the air carrier's maintenance manual, wheel spacers are required on both the internally and the externally threaded B767 nose gear axles.

ASRS Recently Issued Alerts On...
 B737-800 In-flight fuel leak
 Foreign airport ILS identifier chart error
 A320 released with disconnected brakes
 Portable Breathing Equipment canister fire
 ERJ 135 cockpit seat movement on takeoff

November 2003 Report Intake
 Air Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots
 General Aviation Pilots