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Toolkit:Safety and Justice/Consequences 8/Overloaded

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Overloaded

PJ-SUN on the ocean bottom.PNG
Operating in the Dutch Caribbean, the pilot of a Britten Norman Islander took on passengers for a full load of his aircraft. The load-sheet reported precisely the maximum take-off weight. During the flight, one of the engines stopped. Instead of flying to the nearest airport, the pilot thought he could reach his destination airport on one engine. However, the aircraft was overloaded because it was company customary to estimate the weight of the passengers at 167 lbs per person.

As it turned out, this was a routine underestimation. Even if the aircraft was overweight, the pilots put in the maximum take-off weight in the papers to formally stay (or would appear to stay) within regulations.

The aircraft crashed in the sea. All passengers escaped and survived. The aircraft sank to the bottom of the ocean. The pilot, most likely rendered unconscious because of the impact with the water, was killed.