Browse Standards ARP5486
WIP 2012-01-17

Air Cargo Pallets - Utilization Guidelines ARP5486


Air cargo pallets and their cargo restraint nets constitute aircraft Unit Load Devices, defined by industry standards and airworthiness certified based on Technical Standard Order (TSO) C90c in accordance with the requirements of NAS 3610. This guarantees their design to be intrinsically safe for flight on board compatible aircraft types. However, actual flight safety also requires these certified pieces of equipment to be properly used: numerous occurrences have demonstrated a certified ULD can nevertheless jeopardize flight safety if loaded or restrained in an inadequate manner.

Accordingly, this ARP aims at providing recognized industry standard methods to achieve the best attainable level of safety when preparing air cargo pallets for loading on board aircraft, taking into account the requirements to be met as a result of the ULD's airworthiness certification requisites, the general requirements expressed in the aircraft manufacturers Weight and Balance Manuals, as well as the various potential areas of concern identified based on experience.

This ARP therefore provides recommended practical means of compliance with flight safety objectives, intended to be available as a common base for carriers as well as shippers and cargo handling agents when establishing their own in-house publications and staff training programs.

This ARP assumes any air cargo pallet prepared shall, prior to release for loading on board an aircraft, be inspected and found satisfactory by competent, suitably trained personnel responsible for checking it meets all applicable flight safety requirements.

This ARP shall not, under any circumstance, supersede the requirements of applicable airworthiness regulations (see FAR Part 25) or the aircraft manufacturer's Weight and Balance Manual.

Field of Application:

This ARP is intended to apply to any airworthiness certified air cargo pallet built up from either a single or a number of pieces of commercial cargo, intended to be loaded on lower, main or upper deck of a civil transport aircraft, whether a freighter or a passenger carrying aircraft.

Its field of application includes all pallets prepared within ground premises, whether at a shipper's facilities or an airport cargo warehouse, including those intended to be loaded into the aircraft in a ""floating'' (i.e., not fully system restrained) position requiring tie-down onto the aircraft's structure instead of the pallet's tracks.

Its provisions may not entirely apply in the event of ""pre- embarked'' pallets, i.e., pallets loaded empty into the aircraft to be used as a floor on which cargo is later brought and palletized inside the cargo compartment. In such a case, it pertains to the operator to identify and implement the applicable criteria.

This ARP is not intended to apply to air cargo pallets prepared for military transport aircraft, and does not take into account any specific criteria for military aircraft. Nothing, however, precludes it being used for guidelines in this case, it pertaining to the military operator to identify and implement any additional applicable criteria.

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