There are many ways to work out an aircraft weight and balance before flight, ranging from pen and paper to sophisticated computer programs. Many of us are carrying iPads around in our flight bags, so why not make use of this device to do the math? It’s convenient and easy.
Using a spreadsheet app from Apple called Numbers ($10 in the App Store), you can create a spreadsheet for your aircraft that will allow you to quickly perform this repetitive task (Numbers is Apple’s version of Microsoft Excel). After installing the app on your iPad, you’ll want to create a custom spreadsheet using your aircraft’s specific numbers.
To help get you started, we created a simple spreadsheet for a Cessna 172R Skyhawk. Click the link below from your iPad; when the sheet opens up in Safari, choose “Open in Numbers” at the top right:
Once you do this, the file is automatically transferred and saved into the Numbers app. The other option is to download the file to your computer, and then manually sync the file over using iTunes. Check out this article for more information on file transfers.
With the C172 spreadsheet open in Numbers, you’ll next want to edit the Basic Empty Weight values based on your particular airplane. This sample spreadsheet has all the formulas entered, so you just need to enter the appropriate weights and fuel quantity numbers under the weight fields. Every cell is editable, so it’s easy to make any other changes as necessary to customize it for your airplane.