Officials from the US FAA have proposed a $2.5 million penalty against US regional American Eagle Airlines for operating flights without ensuring the weight of baggage was properly calculated.
FAA alleges between January and October of 2008, American Eagle operated 154 passenger flights in which baggage weights listed on aircraft cargo load sheets did not match data entered into the carrier's electronic weight and balance system.
The entry of the erroneous data into the weight and balance system results in incorrect computations for a particular aircraft, says FAA. The improper calculations can potentially lead to faulty calculations for the proper control settings and reference speed necessary for safe takeoffs and landings, the agency adds.
FAA also states once the situation was brought to American Eagle's attention, the company operated at least 39 flights without correcting the problem.
Data in the Flightglobal ACAS fleet database show American Eagle operates a mix of 30- to-50-seat Embraer ERJs and 70-seat Bombardier CRJ700s.
Weight and balance calculations were cited as a factor in the investigation of a fatal crash involving an Air Midwest 19-seat Raytheon Beech 1900D on takeoff from Charlotte on 8 January 2003. After the crash FAA launched a weight and balance review of small regional carriers.