Weight & Balance

The student should gain a working understanding of aircraft weight and balance, including methods for calculation and aircraft limits for flight, and apply it to various scenarios and configurations.


  • definitions
  • fundamentals
  • tools & charts


  • model aircraft
  • whiteboard and markers
  • aircraft manuals

Instructor actions

Explain the theory and fundamentals of weight and balance in a guided discussion; have the student complete several example scenarios.

Student Actions

Read and complete homework assignment; participate in guided discussion and weight and balance activity.

Completion standards

Student can demonstrate the steps required for balancing an aircraft in a variety of situations.

Teaching outline

  • definition of weight and balance
    • terms and their meanings
  • basic balance theory
    • finding proper empty weight
    • finding cg location
    • maximum takeoff weight – reasons for use or avoidance
  • effects of weight and cg location
    • safety: stability, control, performance
    • efficiency and performance
  • problems and types – comfort with other methods
    • computation
    • graphical
    • tabular