what does the airplane load percentage mean

So I am looking at my load in flight and it says “36%” can anyone tell me what that percentage means?

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The load factor is the ratio of the lift of an aircraft to its weight (fuel, airframe, cargo, passengers) and represents a global measure of the stress (“load”) to which the structure of the aircraft is subjected - Google


If you don’t understand that its okay as I don’t either

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36% of load is out of 100% you used 36 of it.
So if you had 100lbs available, and you put on 36 pounds that’s what it means

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It means how much of the percentage of the maximum load of your aircraft you’ve used up. For example on a flight depending on the distance and winds, cargo hold load and pax count.

For example a flight from Paris CDG to Schipol would have roughly 5400kgs of fuel including the required fuel for the flight and extra fuel (in events of go arounds, diversions or holding patterns.)

Then I might have 166 pax (passengers) on my aircraft.

Then possibly 3,200kg of cargo too.

Which means that the total load is 63,504kg (this includes the aircraft weight) which is 60% of the total load.

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Your load is the total weight of all your passenger, fuel and cargo weights as a representation of the max load factor of the plane. For instance if it’s RED, you’re OVER the Max takeoff weight (MTOW) of the plane and will need to get under it to takeoff without issues.

If it’s AMBER, you’re over the Max Landing Weight (MLW) and you’ll again need to get under that weight (usually by burning fuel during the flight) to land without “damaging” the gear or causing structural damage.


If it’s white, you’re A-OK on weights

The weight affects your V speeds for takeoff, approach and landing as well as your time to stop on the runway etc.

Each airline has different seating and so you can get into it by adjusting accordingly. For one example the jetBlue A321 has two configs, one with 200 passengers (All Core) and one with 159 (Mint business class) so I set up two profiles in my simbrief.com fleet with different passenger limits etc.

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You should also use your load factor to calculate your cruise altitude. Here is what I do…

Above 90% : 31000/32000ft
80%-90% : 33000/34000ft
60%-80% : 35000/36000ft
40%-60% : 37000/38000ft
20%-40% : 39000/40000ft
Below 20% : 41000/42000/43000ft

I use this to step climb as well, it works really well

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