Aviation safety issues and actions

Operator helicopter loading practices

Issue number: AO-2018-026-SI-05
Issue owner: Whitsunday Air Services
Transport function: Aviation: Air transport
Background: Investigation Report AO-2018-026
Issue release date: 16 June 2021
Current issue status: Closed – Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the safety action taken by the operator has reduced the risk of this safety issue.

Safety issue description

Although the operator had calibrated scales available for use at two of their check-in locations, they were not routinely used to ascertain actual passenger and/or baggage weights. Instead, the operator's personnel relied on passengers’ volunteered weights (without an additional allowance) and only weighed passengers when the volunteered weights were perceived to be inaccurate.

Proactive action

Action number: AO-2018-026-NSA-059
Action organisation: Whitsunday Air Services
Date: 16 June 2021
Action status: Closed

In January 2019, the operator’s operations manual was updated and required that all items and passengers must be weighed by the company and that these weights will be used on the aircraft load sheet:

2B3.2 Load Control

CAR 235 CAO 20.16.1

The calculation of weights for all passengers and cargo carried in Company aircraft shall be in accordance with this Section. All weights shall be recorded before the aircraft is loaded.

NOTE: All items and passengers must be weighed by the Company and only those weights used on the load sheet.

2B3.3 Passenger Weight

Load calculations for all Company operated aircraft shall be made using actual weights for all passengers and baggage.

The operator advised in February 2021 that the reservation system used by the operator would automatically add an additional five per cent to the body weight provided by the passenger. Also, the operator advised that all passengers are now weighed prior to departure as per its operations manual.

Last update 16 June 2021