The primary purpose of aircraft weight and balance control is safety. A secondary purpose is to achieve the utmost in efficiency during flight. Improper loading reduces the efficiency of an aircraft from the standpoint of ceiling, maneuverability, rate of climb, speed, and fuel consumption. It can be the cause of failure to complete a flight, or even to start it. Possible loss of life and destruction of valuable equipment may result from overstressed structures or from a sudden shift in cargo and consequent change in flight characteristics.

The empty weight and the corresponding CG (center of gravity) of all civil aircraft must be determined at the time of certification. The manufacturer can weigh the aircraft, or he can compute the weight and balance report. A manufacturer is permitted to weigh one aircraft out of each 10 produced. The remaining nine aircraft are issued a computed weight and balance report based on the averaged figures of aircraft that are actually weighed. The condition of the aircraft at the time of determining empty weight must be one that is well defined and can be easily repeated.