How Much Do Helicopters Weigh? (With 20 Examples

In this article, I want to look at some of the most recognizable aircraft and break down their weight and what makes up weight

The curb weight of the aircraft, fuel, passengers and cargo must not weigh more than the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft

The weight of the aircraft must be calculated by the pilot for each flight to ensure that the aircraft is within the limits specified by the manufacturer

These limitations are intended to ensure that the aircraft is able to perform all flight maneuvers and recover and withstand the structural load

Airplane Curb weight Max fuel weight Max payload weight Max gross takeoff weight 00 lb 277,000 kg 560,000 lb 254,000 kg 185,000 lb84,000 kg1 268,000 lb575,000 kgBoeing 747-800485300 lbs220100 kg427400 lb19 4,000 kg 295,000 lb 134,000 kg 987,000 lb 447,700 kg Airbus A340 -500370,000 lbs 168,000 kg 386,300 lbs175,000 kg119,000 lbs54,000 kg820,000 lbs372,000 kgBoeing 777-300ER370,000 lbs 168,000 kg 320,800 lbs 145 500 kg148,000 lbs67 100 kg776,000 lb 352,000 kg Boeing 787-10299,000 lb 135 500 kg 223,500 lbs101500 kg126300 lbs 57300 kg560000 lbs254000 kgBoeing 737-90098500 lbs44700 kg53100 lbs24000 kg44600 lbs20200 kg1 87,000lbs85000kgAirbus A320-10093 900 lb 42600 kg 48 700 lb 22,100 kg 44,000 lb 20,000 kg 150,000 lb 68,000 kg Embraer 1906 3,500 lb 28,800 kg 28,600 lb 000 lb 24,500 kg48, 200 lb 21,900 kg6500 lb3000 kg100000 lb45200 kg Bombardier CRJ90048160 lb 21850 kg19600 lb 8900 kg6075 lb 2760 kg80,500 lb 36,500 kg Bombardier Q40039 300 lb 17,800 kg 11,700 lb 5,300 kg18,700 lb 8,500 kg 62,000 lb 28,000 kg Learjet 7,513,900 lb 6,300 kg 6,060 lb 2,750 kg 2,900 lb 1,300 kg 21,500 lb 970 0 kgCessna Citation CJ410300 lb 47 00 kg5800 lbs2650 kg2 200 lb 1000 kg17200 lb7800 kgBeechcraft King Air B1007100 lbs 3200 kgs 3200 lbs 1450 kgs 0 lb200 kg850 lb385 kg3660 lb1660 kgCessna 206H 2200 lbs990 kg520 lb235 kg1150 lb520 kg36 00 lb 1630 kgSirrus SR222250 lbs 1000 kg485 lbs220 kg950 lbs430 kg3, 600 lbs 1630 kgCessna 172R1700 lbs770 kg380 lbs170 kg560 lbs255 kg2425 lbs1100 kgAll links in this table to Wikipediacom

What do the names of aircraft weights mean?

You may be looking at the table above and thinking the numbers don’t work, because if you take the weight of an empty plane and add up the maximum fuel weight and the maximum payload it can carry, that can well exceed the maximum gross weight of the aircraft

In this case, a compromise between fuel and cargo/passengers is required and this is referred to as payload

Aircraft curb weight (AEW)

This is sometimes referred to as OEW – Operating Empty Weight and is the weight of the aircraft with all equipment on board but no fuel, passengers or cargo

Think of it as if the plane had just left the factory and was waiting to be refueled before being delivered to the customer

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Maximum take-off weight of the aircraft (MGTW)

This is the maximum allowable weight that an aircraft can weigh when it takes off from the ground during take-off

This includes the plane’s empty weight, fuel, crew, passengers and all cargo

This weight limit is set by the manufacturer and is evangelical

Aircraft payload

This is the weight the pilot can put on the plane

Take the MGTW value and subtract the AEW and you get the total usable load that can be put on the plane

This is fuel, crew, passengers and cargo

The bigger the cargo, the more useful the plane can be for its customers!

How fuel, passengers and cargo affect the weight of an aircraft

Every element of weight added to an aircraft must be accounted for, and some elements may be missed in flight and others not so much

There are several scenarios we can look at and for these examples I will use the Astar helicopter I fly as it is very easy for me to calculate the numbers:

Aircraft curb weight: 3,000 lbs Maximum aircraft gross weight: 4,961 lbs Maximum aircraft weight with fuel: 1,000 lbs Aircraft payload: 1,961 lbs

Scenario #1: All fuel and no cargo or passengers

This would be in flight when I’m done and back to the hanger after dropping the passengers and their cargo:

Scenario #2: Full passengers and 200 pounds of cargo

Aircraft empty: £3,000

Aircraft empty: £3,000

Pilot weight: 185 lbs

Pilot weight: 185 lbs

Passenger weight: 950 lbs

Payload weight: 200 lbs

Airplane weight with full fuel: 1000 lbs

Airplane weight with full fuel: 1000 lbs

Total aircraft weight = 5,335 lbs (374 lbs OVER MGTW)

Total aircraft weight = 5,335 lbs (374 lbs OVER MGTW)

In this scenario, I would have to unload the weight

Normally, passengers and their cargo must go because they are the ones doing the work, so the fuel must be reduced

Instead of filling the plane’s fuel tank to 100%, I can only fill it to about 60% to keep the plane under MGTW

If you want to know how much fuel modern commercial planes can carry and how much it costs to refuel, check out this article:

How much fuel do airplanes carry?

Because the maximum gross take-off weight of an aircraft is so important that it is listed in the limitations section of each aircraft flight manual

Exceeding any weight in the limitation section renders the aircraft unairworthy

Even the gigantic Antanov AN-225 has a maximum weight limit that the flight crew must adhere to, albeit significantly higher than the Gulfstream G650’s maximum take-off weight!

This trade-off is what pilots do on each flight to ensure maximum fuel efficiency, given the payload the aircraft is expected to lift

Fuel, passengers, cargo – it’s all the pilots can manipulate!

How much do helicopters weigh?

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