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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:21 pm   #1
 
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UAL 872 aborted takeoff today due to overweight loading.

I was on UAL 872 today on the SFO-DEN leg. TSA was doing additional screening at the gate when we boarded. We left the gate about an hour late and we had started our takeoff roll when the pilot cut power and slammed on the brakes. He immediately came on the intercom and said that we were "overweight" and that we were returning to the gate to remove baggage. Sounded really fishy to me. Anyone know what happened? In all my years of travel, I've never seen this.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:33 pm   #2
 
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The TSA sometimes does checks at the gate.

Also, pilots sometimes abort a takeoff. If the plane if overweight then that could cause serious problems. Unload some weight, take off. In the time I have been flying I have been on multiple planes that had weight issues.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:36 pm   #3
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cjsnell, welcome to FlyerTalk. I'll move this to the United MileagePlus forum for more discussion. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz and United.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:41 pm   #4
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Perhaps move this to the Pilot Q&A forum?
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:48 pm   #5
 
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Could have been a weight and balance issue. There have been a few times that I can remember where pilots realized that the cargo had been distributed incorrectly and had to return to the gate to have it reshuffled.

Last edited by mlx52; Aug 5, 12 at 10:55 pm.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 10:57 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnitedFlyGuy View Post
The TSA sometimes does checks at the gate.

Also, pilots sometimes abort a takeoff. If the plane if overweight then that could cause serious problems. Unload some weight, take off. In the time I have been flying I have been on multiple planes that had weight issues.
Does the plane have any actually detectors for weight (besides anything that would be calculated based on the distribution of the fuel)? Weight and balance is done by calculation as best I know.

I suppose the pilot could have figured out that the plane's performance on the roll was lacking, but even then it seems strange to that he'd be able to attribute it to weight so quickly.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 11:24 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnitedFlyGuy View Post
If the plane if overweight then that could cause serious problems. Unload some weight, take off. In the time I have been flying I have been on multiple planes that had weight issues.
The airplane does not have a built-in scale.
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Old Aug 5, 12, 11:28 pm   #8
 
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Lay off the sourdough!

Maybe one of the passengers ate too much Ghirardelli before they got on the plane?
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Old Aug 5, 12, 11:35 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnitedFlyGuy View Post
The TSA sometimes does checks at the gate.

Also, pilots sometimes abort a takeoff. If the plane if overweight then that could cause serious problems. Unload some weight, take off. In the time I have been flying I have been on multiple planes that had weight issues.
Isn't it a bit late to be doing that on the take-off roll? That said, I have had a pilot power down during the take-off roll, extend the flaps, then power up and take off.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 1:40 am   #10
 
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This one doesn't make sense to me. There is more to this story, I guarantee it.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 3:41 am   #11
 
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This happened to me long ago on a UA DC-10 going SFO-HNL or LAX-HNL (it was a reward ticket, so it doesn't show up on my MP archive printout ). We took off after returning to the gate and doing some unloading. I don't recall any other time I've had an aborted takeoff.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 5:29 am   #12
 
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Summer take-offs in DEN can be a problem: an airplane needs a longer runway -- or less weight -- compared to an airport that's at a lower altitude or lower temperature. And it was hot yesterday in Denver. The same plane with same weight might well have been able to safely take off from an equally-long runway at, say, SFO or BOS.

It's possible that the pilots had decided that they needed to reach a certain speed at a specific point during their take-off roll, and that they hadn't attained that speed when they reached that runway checkpoint.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 5:42 am   #13
 
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I've had a number of times where there were weight and balance issues but the pilot caught it at the gate not as he began the take-off. In fact, in Dubai we were about 10,000 pounds over weight given the take-off pattern, temperature and wind at the time. But, we caught that at the gate. Seems odd the pilot didn't catch at the gate. Maybe alumniumdriver can chime in on this one...
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Old Aug 6, 12, 6:08 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clubord View Post
This one doesn't make sense to me. There is more to this story, I guarantee it.
Makes perfect sense.

I guarantee it.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 6:44 am   #15
 
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UA & CO load planning is done differently, but typically, you are to have all of your final weights prior to pushback so any problems can be rectified at the gate, not at the runway. And if he was overweight, when he is punching in the numbers that were given to him at the gate, he would have known then that he was overweight, not at the runway.
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Last edited by CALMSP; Aug 6, 12 at 7:11 am.
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