Avibridge is seeking funding for an aircraft weight-and-balance system it is developing as a more accurate and safer alternative to the current paper-based load sheet system.

The Bangkok-based company, established by former Royal New Zealand Air Force, Air New Zealand, China Airlines and Thai Airways International captain Geoffrey Ogilvie, has secured the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority as a launch customer to conduct prototype trials, but development funding is needed to take the project forward.

Avibridge needs A$100,000 ($77,500) for software development, A$750,000 for a prototype system and A$1.65 million for start-up and running costs, says Ogilvie. The company is basing itself in Bangkok and is seeking funding throughout Asia after encountering a lack of support and higher costs in Australia.

The current load sheet has too many systemic and analytical errors to be a standalone weight-and-balance system, says Ogilvie, adding that there is a lack of industry awareness of the true risk to large jet operations from load sheet errors. The patent-pending Avibridge system comprises weighing platforms placed in the ground at an airport to check the weight and balance of an aircraft.

As well as the weighbridge, the system includes a display board featuring weight display, date and time, aircraft registration and instruction information. Verification equipment includes an infrared camera and a video camera, and the system also makes use of a wireless network/internet link for data transfer.

Ogilvie claims the Avibridge is the only system that can accurately measure weight and balance, and is suitable for all aircraft. Although on-board weight and balance systems using the flight management system and load sensors in the landing gear exist, few operators use them, he says.

"Nobody knows for sure the true weight or balance of commercial aircraft. They are never weighed or balanced by external means except during a hangar check every few years, and then the aircraft is weighed empty," adds Ogilvie.


Source: Flight International