If all of the passengers of an airliner, such as an A320, all moved to the front of the plane, like this, would it have the potential to cause the same result, (i.e. a change in aircraft pitch, potentially causing an incident at low altitude)?

  • $\begingroup$ I do know that I've been on a regional jet (like a CRJ, if I remember correctly), with about 15 people and they didn't want us to move around (switch seats) until after takeoff. I've also been reseated on a fairly empty flight with the reason being "weight and balance." I'd imagine that it could cause a shift in pitch if the airplane wasn't re-trimmed, but it probably varies by airline, and what their cargo load-out is as well. $\endgroup$
    – Canuk
    Jul 16 '18 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Canuk Interesting. An A320 weighs about 83,000kg, so I find it unlikely a 60 - 80kg shift in weight would do anything, but if that was 100 people... maybe an 800kg shift could do something...maybe. $\endgroup$
    – Cloud
    Jul 16 '18 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I kind of thought they just didn’t want us all switching seats. There were only about 15 pax if I recall... $\endgroup$
    – Canuk
    Jul 16 '18 at 6:53
  • $\begingroup$ There was a JetBlue flight some 10 years ago landing with their nose gear failed at hardover steering angle. I believe they asked passengers to sit as aft as possible before landing, so they could unload the nose. $\endgroup$ Jul 16 '18 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ For weight and balance calcs on an airliner the passenger seats are broken up into segments called zones, each one making up a number of seat rows. There will be a minimum number of bodies required in each zone. It will be enforced at departure because centre of gravity issues are most acute during rotation and liftoff. Once airborne it's not too a big deal unless a lot of people started to concentrate at one end of the other and the FAs would then intervene using their authority to force you to your assigned seat if necessary. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jul 16 '18 at 12:23