Weighing an aircraft is an important task that is performed regularly throughout aviation maintenance organizations worldwide.
The weight and center of gravity of an aircraft have a significant impact on the stability and performance during the operation of an aircraft. If the aircraft is too heavy, it may have trouble getting off the ground. If the aircraft is not properly balanced around its center of gravity, it will likely be harder to control during flight. Either of these scenarios will create a safety concern when the aircraft is in use.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that an aircraft must always have a current weight and balance report available and on file. Any changes made to the aircraft during regular or unforeseen maintenance events, such as the installation of new avionics or repainting of the aircraft, requires an accurate weighing of the aircraft and the center of gravity to be recalculated. Due to other factors that can change the weight of an aircraft, many owners opt to have their aircraft weighed on a regular basis, at least once every 3 years.
Platform Scales for Aircraft Weighing
The use of platform scales is one of the most common methods to weigh aircraft. Platform scales provide an easy to use and dependable way to accurately weigh all types of aircraft including commercial passenger airliners, business jets, general aviation aircraft and even helicopters.
Platform scales are the scale of choice for many maintenance shops that may not have the appropriate jacks for the many different types of aircraft in the industry. All that is required is the ability to place the aircraft onto the platform. Platform scales are generally lightweight which makes them easily portable when needing to be transported between aircraft.
Platform scales are used by placing them on the ground or hangar floor and positioning the aircraft so that the tires sit on top of the platform. The aircraft can be positioned on the platform by either using ramps and a tug, or the aircraft can be placed on jacks, as during regular maintenance events, and lowered onto the platform. Electronic load cells placed within the platform will sense the weight that is applied to the top of the platform and send its electronic signal to the digital display, which will indicate the aircraft weight.
Platform scales are available in many weight ranges and sizes. Platform scale capacities should be determined based on the nominal aircraft weight and the overall size chosen based on the tire size of the aircraft. The platform needs to accommodate the entire footprint of the tire for the scale to indicate accurately. The information in the aircraft manufacturer’s maintenance manual should always be referenced to ensure that the correct capacity and sized platform is used.
Platform Scale Calibration
All types of scales used in the aviation industry require periodic calibrations to ensure that they are maintaining their stated accuracies. At a minimum, aircraft platform scales should be calibrated every 12 months, depending on their use. Scales that are used often or are subject to harsh conditions should be calibrated more frequently.
The calibration consists of placing highly accurate standard weights on the platform and comparing the scale’s display to the weight applied. Four or five different weight values will be used to ensure that the scale is reading accurately throughout its full capacity.
has the capability to calibrate a variety of platform scales in a wide range of capacities. Our knowledgeable technicians can calibrate the scales on-site at your facility to make it convenient for you and save the costs associated with shipping the scale for calibration. For more information on calibrating platform scales or many other types of aircraft GSE equipment, contact e2b calibration.
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e2b calibration is an ISO/IEC 17025 ACCREDITED calibration and repair laboratory providing a full scope of NIST TRACEABLE calibration, test, and measurement services for AEROSPACE equipment. Services are provided in a climate-controlled, state-of-the-art laboratory with ON-SITE SERVICES, and local pick-up and delivery available on request. A cloud-based document and ASSET MANAGEMENT PORTAL provides customers with instant access to certificates of calibration, asset information, and reports.