Aviation safety investigations & reports

Weight and balance event - Airbus A330-303, VH-QPJ, Sydney Aerodrome, New South Wales, 6 March 2009

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 6 March 2009, an Airbus A330‑303 aircraft, registered VH-QPJ, was being loaded for dispatch on a scheduled international passenger service between Sydney, New South Wales and Hong Kong. Operational changes prior to the aircraft's dispatch required an adjustment of the planned load, with the load controller electing to offload a pallet of freight originally scheduled for that flight, and substituting it with a lighter pallet in the load management system.

Following the pallet substitution in that system, the load controller did not amend the loading instructions that had been previously issued to the ramp staff loading the aircraft. That resulted in the ramp staff being unaware of the changed loading requirement and the loading proceeded as initially planned.

The discrepancy between the actual aircraft load and operator's load management system was not detected during the completion of the load controller's 'Final Distribution Check' prior to issuing the final load sheet to the flight crew. That resulted in the aircraft exceeding the structural maximum taxi weight by 384 kg and the maximum structural take-off weight by about 884 kg. It also resulted in the flight crew entering inaccurate centre of gravity and zero fuel weight data into a number of the aircraft's systems.

Due to a delay in the notification of the loading error to the operator's relevant departments, the aircraft operated another 10 sectors before maintenance inspections for an overweight taxi were completed.

As a result of this occurrence, the operator implemented several changes to the process for managing load control activities. Those changes included: implementing a procedure to ensure the immediate notification of loading-related incidents and changes to the operating procedures in load control, including the introduction of a read and sign process for important ramp and load control communications; the appointment of a load control standards officer; and the conduct of a training needs analysis for load control officers.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 686KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 566KB]
General details
Date: 06 March 2009   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1501 ESuT   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Sydney Aerodrome    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loading related  
Release date: 22 March 2011   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie  
Aircraft model A330  
Aircraft registration VH-QPJ  
Serial number 712  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Hong Kong, China  
Last update 03 April 2020