In order to weigh an aircraft and calculate its empty weight and empty weight center of gravity, a technician must have access to weight and balance information about the aircraft. Possible sources of weight and balance data are as follows:
- Aircraft Specifications—applies primarily to aircraft certified under the Civil Aeronautics Administration, when the specifications also included a list of equipment with weights and arms.
- Aircraft Operating Limitations—supplied by the aircraft manufacturer.
- Aircraft Flight Manual—supplied by the aircraft manufacturer.
- Aircraft Weight and Balance Report—supplied by the aircraft manufacturer when the aircraft is new, and by the technician when an aircraft is reweighed in the field.
- Aircraft Type Certificate Data Sheet—applies primarily to aircraft certified under the FAA and the Federal Aviation Regulations, where the equipment list with weights and arms is a separate document.
The document in Figure 4-11 is a Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) for a Piper twin-engine airplane known as the Seneca (PA-34-200). The main headings for the information typically contained in a TCDS are included, but much of the information contained under these headings has been removed if it did not directly pertain to weight and balance. Information on only one model of Seneca is shown, because to show all the different models would make the document excessively long. The portion of the TCDS that has the most direct application to weight and balance is highlighted in yellow.
Some of the important weight and balance information found in a Type Certificate Data Sheet is as follows:
- Center of gravity range
- Maximum weight
- Leveling means
- Number of seats and location
- Baggage capacity
- Fuel capacity
- Datum location
- Engine horsepower
- Oil capacity
- Amount of fuel in empty weight
- Amount of oil in empty weight