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After the last passengers and baggage are loaded onto the aircraft, the pilot in command is given a form called load & trimsheet which shows the passenger/baggage distributions, total weights and cg positions. The form can be prepared manually or by a computer program by the authorized ground staff. This form has the wet signature of the ground crew coordinating the flight and the pilot in command on it and these signatures ensure that the form is legal.

My question is about the process of sending this legal form to the cockpit of the aircraft via ACARS. When the form is transmitted to the aircraft via ACARS, is it still considered to be a legal document without wet signature on the form?
How is this process run by airlines?

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When the loadsheet arrives to the aircraft via ACARS it has to be acknowledged and printed. This is accomplished by the flight crew by selecting the proper screen and pressing the respective button or LSK on the MFD (Multi-Function Display for latest Boeing models) or in the MCDU (Multi-Function Control Display Unit for Airbus).

Along with the acknowledgement sent back to the system, goes the timestamp. Legally, this action is considered the wet signature. Then the sent ACARS form is printed in the aircraft printer, so the crew has a backup copy of the loadsheet containing in the header the "ACK" confirmation and the same timestamp sent to the system.

Every airline has different policies regarding the format of the loadsheet and even the procedure to accept and correct the values. that sometimes change in the last minute again, but this can give you a generic idea of the procedure.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello Fco, welcome to aviation.stackexchange.com! $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima May 19 at 6:45
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome. Do you know a guide that details the whole process such as how to act when system is not running, how many copies of the form to print, how to do lmc on the form and by whom etc. $\endgroup$ – GolfCharlie May 19 at 7:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! great topics around here and wise readers. $\endgroup$ – Fco May 19 at 7:12
  • $\begingroup$ Hi GolfCharlie, all that is always regulated by the Airline Operations Manual. When the system is not running, the flight dispatcher has to bring physically a printed copy of the loadsheet to the cockpit and get it signed by the captain. Regarding the LMC, there is always a limit that the captain can correct manually without requiring the calculation of a new loadsheet (around 2000 lbs. for medium aircraft and 4000 lbs. for wide body aircraft). This is considering less weight in the LMC, if the weight is more, it has to be calculated and sent again by dispatch. $\endgroup$ – Fco May 19 at 7:20

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