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What Loads Airplanes Can Carry

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How much and what cargo airplanes can carry differs depending on the situation. Many types of planes have certain features that allow them to carry more weight than others. Certain laws have banned specific items from air shipment as well. By considering and measuring these features and keeping legalities in mind, shipping professionals can determine how much and what kind of freight can be carried via the air.

How Much The Plane Can Carry
Information on how much the plane can carry is usually available via the operating manual. This is, of course, determined by the thrusting power of the vessel and how much it weighs. This weight is subtracted from the total amount that the plane's engines can carry. What is left is what's known as the 'empty weight' or the number of pounds in various items that can be placed on an aircraft for it to fly its course without any difficulty. When calculating how much can be in a payload (the total of objects being shipped) for freight audit and other purposes, however, it's not just the 'payload' that is put into the equation. The weight of any fuel that will be pumped into the plane as well as the pilot and any passengers needs to be calculated as well. Thus, if a certain plane can carry around 160,000 pounds and it weighs about 80,000 pounds and the fuel has a weight of 40,000 pounds, this leaves 40,000 pounds that can be utilized for pilots, passengers and cargo.

Where Certain Items Can Be Placed

All planes have a center of gravity or CG. This is a place near the middle of the plane which pilots and shipping operators can ascertain by examining each particular model's manual. With this knowledge, they can determine where certain products must be placed in the aircraft based on their weights. The amount doesn't necessarily have to be the same near the nose, tail, or on either side of the plane. What matters is that the objects are placed in such a way that stops the vessel from tipping too much to the front, back, right or left.
If the cargo is loaded in an incorrect way, the pilot may have a difficult time controlling his or her flight. When the tail of the plane is too heavy, any issues such as body spinning or engine stalling become very difficult to recover from. If the nose of the plane is too heavy, the aircraft might be impossible to land safely. Thus, if certain items are too heavy or light to fit perfectly with the many other items in specific locations, then they simply cannot be placed on that aircraft.

What Items They Are
These days, cargo-specific aircraft can ship a wide variety of different things. They can ship toys, foods, animals, mattresses, and even cars. However, there are still multiple objects that have been determined as unsafe for aircraft to ship for various reasons. Lithium-ion batteries or anything that contains and utilizes them have been determined as unsafe. This is due to the fact that most aircraft fire safety systems cannot douse the blaze of a fire caused by this particular form of battery and thus the safety of the plane and its crew would be severely compromised. Anything that emits toxic or infectious gasses or substances, such as certain chemicals and medical samples, is also not allowed without many precautions being put into place. If any containers of the substance were to break, the crew of the plane could be in life-threatening danger.

Cargo planes can be an excellent way to ship products from one location to another, but they're not infallible. Their weaknesses should be kept in mind when deciding how to ship their products. If a business or individual needs to ship things that are considered dangerous or of weights that are vastly various, then air shipping may not be the optimal choice.

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Tags: freight