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During preparation for take-off the flight crew received an ACARS load sheet message with the note "PRELIM" on the header. Five minutes later, the ground staff provides a paper copy of the load sheet with the note "FINAL" on the header. The Commander realizes that there are differences between the masses on the paper copy and the ACARS message. Which statement below is correct?
  • A
    The Commander shall call ground staff and ask for clarification.
  • B
    The Commander shall ignore all previous load sheet documents and prepare a new one manually.
  • C
    The Commander shall use the ACARS load sheet, because that is more accurate than the paper copy of the load sheet.
  • D
    The Commander shall use the paper copy because it is the final version of the load sheet.

According to IATA Aiprort Handling Manual (AHM) 518, the loadsheet must be headed either "PRELIM" or "FINAL" to prevent from any confusion.

Also, according to CAT.POL.MAB.105 Mass and Balance Data and Documentation:

b. Where mass and balance data and documentation is generated by a computerised mass and balance system, the Operator shall verify the integrity of the output data.

c. The person supervising the loading of the aircraft shall confirm by hand signature or equivalent that the load and its distribution are in accordance with the mass and balance documentation given to the commander. The Commander shall indicate his/her acceptance by hand signature or equivalent.

d. The operator shall specify procedures for last minute changes to the load to ensure that:

1. any last minute change after the completion of the mass and balance documentation is brought to the attention of the Commander and entered in the flight planning documents containing the mass and balance documentation;

2. the maximum last minute change allowed in passenger numbers or hold load is specified; and

3. new mass and balance documentation is prepared if this maximum number is exceeded.

A new load sheet is required for every take-off. A duplicate of the load sheet is held on the ground and the original is taken by the Commander. If the documentation is sent by datalink, Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), a copy of the final documentation must be kept on the ground.

The Operator is responsible for producing mass and balance documentation before each flight, specifying the load and distribution so that the Commander can determine that the mass and balance limits are not exceeded. Also, the Operator must specify for Last Minute Changes (LMC) to the load. If the LMCs are in excess of the pre-determined maximum value, the new mass and balance documentation must be prepared.

The person who prepares the loading documents must be named on them and the loading supervisor must sign them to confirm that the load and its distribution are in accordance with the mass and balance documentation. The Commander accepts the documentation as correct by signing it.

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