The built-in Fudge Factor

Heard about the built-in Fudge Factor? Here's the skinny

I've heard mention of the built-in Fudge factor for as long as I've been flying, but I thought it would end with Flight Training and it hasn't. Just about the time I forget about it I'll be having a conversation with another pilot and he'll make mention of it. In flight training, you might understand how an uneducated pilot might buy into it but by the time a pilot is flying commercial you'd think they would have learned.

There is no such thing as a built-in fudge factor. Maybe I should say that again, "There is no such thing as a built-in fudge factor". Even flying HEMS, I still hear the statement from time-to-time and I shudder and shake my head, laugh and say, "there isn't any such thing", while under my breath adding, "you moron". I wonder just how can someone be so foolish as to buy into that line of thinking. Pilot's continue to apply this theory to Weight and Balance as well as many other aircraft limitations.

As a professional, when you hear something like this that doesn't make any sense, you should speak up and at least make them aware that you aren't that stupid. This line of thought causes accidents; maybe not in the immediate future, but it could be a little later when a younger more gullible pilot buys into the theory and overloads his aircraft, or exceeds some other limitation for which he believed the fudge factor applied to.

I wrote another article on fixing stupid that I know problably irritated a lot of pilots, but this is an example of just why I wrote it.

Weight and Balance seems to be the area where this theory is most applied. I have witnessed countless pilots knowingly overload their aircraft betting on this factor. Be aware that fatigue occurs and may go unnoticed for many flight hours or even years. If you don't know anything else, know this: Limitations are hard lines. You may not exceed them intentionally. There is no "built-in" safety net to catch the foolish.