United Overweight Plane Takeoff Prompts Changes

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by sobore, Aug 11, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.businessweek.com/news/20...-takeoff-on-computer-glitches-prompts-changes

    A computer breakdown caused a United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) flight to take off earlier this year about 20,000 pounds (9,071 kilograms) heavier than pilots believed, prompting the carrier to add extra checks to ensure accurate weight calculations.

    United sent pilots a weight estimate that assumed the coach section of the Boeing Co. (BA) 737-900 was empty when it was full, according to three people familiar with the incident who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak about it.

    While the pilots, who didn’t catch the mistake, had difficulty getting the jetliner airborne, the plane wasn’t damaged and the flight was completed without incident, one of the people familiar with the event said. The pilots reported the trouble to a United program that encourages employees to identify safety issues, according to another person.

    Read More: http://www.businessweek.com/news/20...-takeoff-on-computer-glitches-prompts-changes
     
  2. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    Wow, that's scary. Math is important.
     
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  3. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I'm glad they filed an ASAP report but what bothers me is that the pilots didn't check the Flight Management Computer that the passenger weight was off by a lot. There's a separate line in the FMC for that.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  4. talkerfly

    talkerfly Silver Member

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    It's a good thing it didn't turn out badly. If it was a short runway it would have been another LEX incident.
     
  5. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    The DL LEX incident, if that is what you are referring to, involved pilots using an incorrect runway.
     
  6. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    You would like to think that the estimated weight would be detailed, ie:

    First class passengers: 15,000
    Economy: 20,000
    Baggage: 50,000
    Total: 85,000

    So that a 0 would stick out like a sore thumb.
     
  7. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    It does have that breakdown on the dispatch release however the flight management computer only has one line for PAX weight.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  8. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    I think it is is kind of scary, assuming coach was in fact full, with 153 seats, they only weigh each passenger at 134lbs. Seem pretty light for America these days.:oops:

    EDIT: I may be remembering incorrectly, but doesn't PAX weight also include hand luggage as well?
     
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  9. Steve GadFly
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    Steve GadFly Gold Member

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    On the little cesna flights that bounce around Florida (TPA-SRQ....etc.), they ask you to hold your hand luggage and get on a scale before boarding. That's always fun :rolleyes:
     
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  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Much more fun then finding out that the plane is too heavy to get off the ground. :-:
     
  11. global_happy_traveller
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    global_happy_traveller Silver Member

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    This is a bigger mistake than the 4 miler
     
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  12. bungalow1225

    bungalow1225 Active Member

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    I accompanied a friend recently to check in for a commercial flight in a Cessna 402 (I think), and she was mortified when the ticket agent asked her, "How much do you weigh?" She had nothing to be concerned about re: her weight, but it was a surprising question to hear.
     
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  13. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I don't mind them asking, but I'd rather they weigh people in case people estimate (or lie) optimistically. I always overestimate when I'm asked (round up 5 lbs).
     
  14. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    They usually account for each passenger at 150 LB at an estimate.
     
  15. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Yeah, well, I haven't weighed that little since I was anorexic at age 15. (My build is such that I am anorexic, by body fat, at that weight.)
     
  16. Steve GadFly
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    Steve GadFly Gold Member

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    true true!
     
  17. talkerfly

    talkerfly Silver Member

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    I recently flew HNL-JHM on Mokulele Airlines on a Cessna Grand Caravan. At check-in, you stand on the scale with your carry-on luggage. I was delighted to see that I had lost 20 pounds over the last year! :)
     
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  18. mtlfire

    mtlfire Gold Member

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    I don't remember what Mayday episode it was, but there was one where the crash was attributed to underestimating just how much the average person weighed. I remember them changing the rules after that one.

    But logically it has to include an amount for carry on luggage as well.
     
  19. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Any airline which uses that number is in violation of the FARs.
    [​IMG]

    That's from a 2005 revision to the FAA rules; they are slightly higher than the 2004 numbers.
     
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  20. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    I'm really surprised that the pilots didn't catch this error..

    20.000 pounds is a lot for a 737, even a 900 and as these guys are used to what the numbers usually are, it should raise an eyebrow.
     
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