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Work in progress:Aircraft Hold Loading Risks

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Article Information
Category: Ground Operations Ground Operations
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: Air Pilots The Honourable Company of Air Pilots


This article describes the risks, associated with loading of aircraft holds and the possible consequences of mis-loading. It also contains examples of aviation occurences where the loading has been a contributory factor.

Principal Hold Loading Risks

The principal risks associated with loading of aircraft holds are as follows:

  • Holds are not loaded by the loading crew in accordance with the Loading Instructions provided - and the Load Instruction/Report Form is not amended to reflect these changes.
  • Where the loading has been different to the original Loading/Report Form and the Loading/Report form is updated, the last minute change (LMC) has not been correctly applied to the original loadsheet calculations and checked for mass and balance limits.
  • The load is not secured or restrained appropriately
  • Unauthorised items are loaded (e.g. dangerous goods).
  • Aircraft structure (or propeller blades if applicable) is damaged by unintended impact from mechanised loading equipment. Such impacts may go unnoticed by the loading team or in some cases is noticed but not reported. This may happen when the load team can see no apparent damage so consider reporting the impact unnecessary. Where the aircraft structure is formed using composite materials, all impacts must be reported. While evidence of significant damage to a metal structure is usually clearly visible, this is not necessarily true for composite materials. Although the skin may appear to be undamaged, the core of a composite structure may have deformed or have been significantly weakened.

Consequences of Mis-loading

  • Aircraft Hold Damage during flight

Accidents and Incidents

Loss of Control

Runway Excursion


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Further Reading