I often have this thought when stretching my legs on a long haul flight: jump up and down in the cabin and see whether the pilots complain. Alone, it is unlikely my weight would have any noticeable impact on the plane's attitude, and I'd likely annoying some flight attendant or passenger around.

But let's say I manage to get all passengers on the flight to cooperate. Everybody jumps up pretty much the same instance (within reasonable human reaction time). Will the pilots notice its effect?

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    $\begingroup$ You'd get a more noticeable and interesting effect, in my opinion, by having everybody walk to the rear as quickly as possible and then crowd there. Then after say, 30 seconds, everybody walk forward and crowd there. Repeat as necessary. When I was flying Fairchild F-27s, we had a very heavy prankster pilot who, when deadheading, would do this. And just on his own, it would force us to retrim. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Jul 18 '18 at 4:43
  • $\begingroup$ @fooot woh I've been on this site for quite a while now and never saw that question! $\endgroup$
    – kevin
    Jul 18 '18 at 14:34

30000 lbs of people leaving and landing on the floors at the same time? They'd notice something.

Physically, the weight of the passengers on the floors would increase a bit as they pushed off and accelerated vertically. Maybe 30000 lbs would increase to 35 or 40000 lbs for a split second, then once everybody's feet are clear, all the passengers are basically in a ballistic arc, so their weight is removed from the floors and the airplane is now 30000 lb lighter for a split second, then they would land and their vertical acceleration would apply maybe 40000 lbs to the floors for another split second, before returning to the steady state 30000 lbs. So I would say it would feel to the flight crew like they hit a very small bump of turbulence, and there were be some kind of dull thud coming from behind from 300 feet landing at once.

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    $\begingroup$ Also, they‘d probably physically notice the shudder in the structure... $\endgroup$ Jul 18 '18 at 5:20
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    $\begingroup$ They'd also hear it as well youtu.be/yjbpwlqp5Qw?t=1m $\endgroup$
    – Adrian
    Jul 18 '18 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ So... I wonder if they did this at take off, could they cause a stall? I've read answers on here about foolish skydive instructors 'pranking' pilots by suddenly moving the team aft to cause stalls $\endgroup$
    – Cloud
    Jul 18 '18 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ @cloud no. It would be equivalent to a minor turbulence encounter. Now if all the pax ran aft and crammed themselves into the back, phonebooth packing style, then it could get exciting for the crew. Re skydivers, if I was a jump pilot and a skydive instructor did that to me, he wouldn't be a skydive instructor any more. Now my dad told me long ago that when he was flying C-47s in Burma in WW2 his kicker crew would move forward and aft on the trip home to change the airplane' $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jul 18 '18 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Cloud that story is pure BS. Besides the crazy irresponsibility of it, the obvious clue is "tailgate". Airplanes with cargo ramps don't have "tailgates"; they are "ramp doors" or "cargo ramps" something similar. You have a tailgate on a pickup truck. Only someone who has never been near one in the first place would say tailgate. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jul 18 '18 at 15:02

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