airport weight limits

KnightwhosaysNi

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Many smaller airports out there have weight limits based on single/double wheel etc. I have noticed that at some airports with a single wheel weight limit of 12500#, that there are a/c that are heavier than this at the airport. Are these always purely structural limits, or are these pilots getting around this somehow? Maybe they are just ignoring it or are not aware of it. I am in the Excel and have some trips coming up to some smaller airports with this 12500# single wheel limit, and am trying to determine if these airports are technically usable. (our empty weight is 13000#)
 

501261

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I think it's a situation where most people aren't aware of the limit:eek: . Unfortunately you see it happen all the time. Try to stay away from it, but you know what's going to happen if the boss's buddy constantly takes his Excel into that weight limited runway?
 

corp_da20_guy

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Good luck at finding a true definition or ruling on that one. We too have run into this issue. Several airports we have made plans going into only publish a single wheel weight. If after we talk to the airport manager, we still don't have any hard weight restriction numbers then we go elsewhere. Our big concerns were: (1) If there was an incident/accident will the insurance company still cover even though published data didn't show we were able to meet the restrictions (2) What can the FAA do if we went in anyway.

We went as far as calling our underwriter...they had never been asked about the topic. I talked with someone in the FAA that deals with airport engineering...they said it was basically up to the airport to allow us to operate there - they could ask us not to come back. We asked someone in the FAA in operations - didn't have an answer. Have asked numerous airport managers...still no clear cut answer from them either. The only thing I have run across is Advisory Circular 150/5335-5 dated 6/15/83 entitled Standardized Method of Reporting Airport Pavement Strength - PCN.

I have talked with some folks who manage larger airplanes with conservative flight departments and their answer was all about managing with all the known data. If it doesn't look like the weight restriction can be met...simple don't go there. One more interesting thing is especially with the larger aircraft (G's, GLEX, etc) maybe the runway weight restriction can be met but finding data on taxiways and ramps...well that is another can of worms. I do know there has been at least one incident of a GLEX breaking a storm water runoff drain as it taxied over it...just food for thought.

But either way...we haven't been able to find a real clear cut answer on the subject. Fly safe!
 

HawkerF/O

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Less than a week ago, fltplan.com came out with Runway Weight Bearing #s. The data can be found on the airport information page. It has exactly what you are looking for.
KnightwhosaysNi said:
Many smaller airports out there have weight limits based on single/double wheel etc. I have noticed that at some airports with a single wheel weight limit of 12500#, that there are a/c that are heavier than this at the airport. Are these always purely structural limits, or are these pilots getting around this somehow? Maybe they are just ignoring it or are not aware of it. I am in the Excel and have some trips coming up to some smaller airports with this 12500# single wheel limit, and am trying to determine if these airports are technically usable. (our empty weight is 13000#)
 

340drvr

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doh!......never mind, maybe it's time for new glasses.
 
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mobie

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CJ-3 comes to mind
340drvr said:
This is a bit off the track, but I've often wondered, are there any/many over-12,500 aircraft that only have single-wheel main gear? I can't think of any, other than "vintage" stuff like DC-3's, etc.
 

FL420

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This past summer and fall we operated a B757 for a political candidate into a number of airports that had never hosted an aircraft that large or heavy. I quickly learned to go to the airports page at airnav.com to check the weight bearing capacity of the runways. Never found any published info. on taxiways though. In one instance, the client wanted to go into LUK. We were able to convince them CVG would be a much better choice.

Years ago, an F-4J from Miramar landed at LAX(and that's a whole other story.) He was fine parked on an asphalt ramp at landing weight(~37,000#) but when refueled for the trip to Whidbey Island in Seattle(~49,000#,) he sank into the asphalt when he began to taxi. The sun had heated the asphalt considerably since he landed. He was supposed to fly non-stop to Whidbey so there was a lot of "splaining to do, Lucy" to the Skipper.

Incidentally, most runways are thicker and stronger in the landing zone than in the middle to accommodate the increased force of the aircraft landing over the reduced force of the aircraft rolling out.

Also incidentally, a number of airport(as opposed to runway) weight limits are based on political rather than engineering considerations. Some local airport operators adopt weight limitations as a way to discriminate against larger aircraft to mollify nearby voting residents without "technically" violating FAA airport aid agreements.

Re: the original question. Your best source of information will be the airport manager. Call ahead.
 

semperfido

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sort of related story-- year approx 1990- airport, MRY. our new G4 was being towed by FBO. crew was in hotel. asphalt gave way under main wheels and it sunk down to rest on wing---ouch! CEO was not a happy camper. after a crane/airbag op the plane was flown to LGB gear down for inspection. a little paint and it was good to go. :)
 

stratman560

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We operate a C560 (single wheel) and have had this happen to us before and we opted for a different airport. I use the airnav.com weight limitations for planning purposes. Some airports, it seems, are quite capable (lengthwise at least) to handle jet traffic but cant handle the weights. Worst one comes to mind was a 4000x60' concrete runway that was only certified to 6000 lbs single axle. I used to work for an engineering firm that conducted concrete compression testing on FAA projects. The FAA are very particular about the break numbers on runway. Most city street projects take a 14 and 28-day break. Meaning we take two samples from the mix trucks and cast them in a cyliner. When they solidify we split them from their cylinders with special tools, they set in a cure tank submerged in water for those days, are dried off, and are put on a hydraulic compressor for break numbers. Federal projects take a 3, 7, 14, and 28 day break and even the slightest deviation from the specified numbers can spell disaster for the contractor. This very rarely happens because we also do an aggregate test at the mix plant to make sure the proper proportions of aggregate are in the mix to assure the proper break limits. However we have had an FAA taxiway project fail once before and I believe they tore out the affected section and repoured it. I am not sure what underwriters, FAA, etc. would give you for guidance but from an field technicians point-of-view, the FAA has their requirements for strength spelled out very clearly for the contractors and the engineers who assure the concrete meets specs., so any guidance you get on weight limitations on a runway I would take very seriously.
 

Golfnut

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Heres another one

I am looking to take a King Air 350 in to a Runway that has only a single wheel weight capacity published of 18000. The 350's MGW is 15000 but is double wheel. Does anyone know if we would be legal, I am going to call the airport manager but I figured I would also ask here. Thanks.
 

ultrarunner

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Originally Posted by 340drvr
This is a bit off the track, but I've often wondered, are there any/many over-12,500 aircraft that only have single-wheel main gear? I can't think of any, other than "vintage" stuff like DC-3's, etc.


Every straight-wing Citation beginning with the C-550.
 

LJ45

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hmmmmmmm....

12,500 per wheel x left and right main gear for a total of 25,000 lbs for single tire? or 12,500 total per left and right single tire main gear?

Which one?
 

LJ45

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example!

Weight LimitsSingle Wheel: 32500 lbs.
Double Wheel: 42000 lbs.
Double Tandem: 61000 lbs.
I don't think the 61000 lbs is total aircraft weight more like total gear weight.
If so, what kinda of Double tandem 61000 lbs aircraft exsist?

So... my thinking is if the say 12,500 lb per wheel that is 12,500 on each side of the aircraft for a total of 25,000 lbs.

Any one have the answer?
 

G4G5

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The FAA limit is one thing but what you need to keep in mind is that IF you take an airplane into that airport WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL. You can be held accountable by the airport manager or whatever governing agency (town, state, pvt, whoever) controls the airport for damages. The FAA may never catch you or care but the airport mgr will come after you, if you bring an over weight aircraft into his airport and damage a rwy or taxi way.

They can come back to you at a later date and say, "our rwy needs to be repaved, rebuilt, repaired because you brought in an aircraft over our weight limits. It's going to cost you $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and their is not a thing you can do about it.

So you may want to consider that. Typically mgt companies or individual owners don't care about your ticket but when you tell them that they can be held accountable for the damages. They tend to ask, "what's the next closest airport.

I ran into this at JZI last year, my boss saw a couple of G4's in there and wanted to take his G5 in there. I called the airport mgr and he said NO WAY, we don't want you here and if you bust up my rwy, you will pay for it's repair. Even though the AFD tells me I could have done it (the weight limit is around 60K off the top of my head). We went into CHS.

Saratoga WY is another one that comes to mind. This place has no other airport near by,so I had to get approval.
 

FL420

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Some good info. can be found here:
http://www.gecgr.co.cu/infoconst/bvirtual/carreteras/ingles/0226.pdf

As I understand it, the weight limits published are operating gross weight of the aircraft, not weight per wheel or weight per strut.

For example, if you were operating an aircraft with a max. certificated gross weight of 70,000# with two wheels on each strut into an airport with a published two wheel weight limit of 65,000#, you could legally operate on that runway if your actual gross weight was kept at or below 65,000#.
 

earhart

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FL420 said:
Years ago, an F-4J from Miramar landed at LAX(and that's a whole other story.) He was fine parked on an asphalt ramp at landing weight(~37,000#) but when refueled for the trip to Whidbey Island in Seattle(~49,000#,) he sank into the asphalt when he began to taxi. The sun had heated the asphalt considerably since he landed. He was supposed to fly non-stop to Whidbey so there was a lot of "splaining to do, Lucy" to the Skipper.

Many, many years ago in a Navajo I got sunk in French Lick, KFRH (sounds like a porn movie) and we had to be towed out by the courtesy car!
 

stratman560

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earhart said:
FL420 said:
Years ago, an F-4J from Miramar landed at LAX(and that's a whole other story.) He was fine parked on an asphalt ramp at landing weight(~37,000#) but when refueled for the trip to Whidbey Island in Seattle(~49,000#,) he sank into the asphalt when he began to taxi. The sun had heated the asphalt considerably since he landed. He was supposed to fly non-stop to Whidbey so there was a lot of "splaining to do, Lucy" to the Skipper.

Many, many years ago in a Navajo I got sunk in French Lick, KFRH (sounds like a porn movie) and we had to be towed out by the courtesy car!

Yeah, French Lick......home of Larry Bird.
 
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