In December 2014, we installed a new Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) on both of our 182Qs. The “Fresh Pick” STC from Trolltune increased the maximum gross takeoff weight (MGTOW) from 2950 to 3100 pounds, with no added parts and no modifications to the airframes. How? Cessna certified the later 182R model to a 3100 pound MGTOW, and Trolltune invested in a multi-year FAA engineering, flight test, and certification program to prove that the P and Q model 182s were similar enough to justify the MGTOW increase.
Note that this does not increase the maximum gross landing weight, which remains 2950 pounds. Preflight planning for the 182s when operating at takeoff weights above 2950 pounds will need to account for fuel burn to ensure that normal operations will land at or below 2950 pounds. This will normally not be a concern for flights two hours or more in length. In an emergency situation, the aircraft can be safely landed overweight; the main gear alignment will just need to be inspected by an A&P before the aircraft is returned to service.
Where the Fresh Pick STC will really come into its own is for long trips with three or four people on board. Many of our members fly with their families, and the extra 150 pound capacity will make available flights that would not have been possible without it.
Consider a family of four flying to Denver in N96418. This is a 600 NM trip, about 4.5 hours with no winds. Planning at 13.5 gallons per hour leaves a very comfortable two hour fuel reserve. Pilot and spouse weigh 180 and 142 pounds. Their preteen daughter weighs 80 pounds; their teenage son weighs 145. They plan to stay for a long weekend, so each have packed a 30 pound roller bag.
Without this STC, the full-fuel payload of N96418 was only 602 pounds. With 322 pounds of pilot and significant other up front and 120 pounds of luggage in the baggage compartment, this only leaves 150 pounds of payload for the rear seat. To make this trip, they need to lose 75 pounds. They could coordinate with the previous pilot to fill the tanks 13 gallons low, but this cuts no-wind reserves to one hour; with typical westerly winds, they’d need to make a fuel stop in Nebraska. Otherwise, people or bags will have to be left behind.
With the STC, the full-fuel payload is 752 pounds. Not only can the whole family legally fit with full tanks, but they have 75 pounds to spare — they could still make this trip when the kids are a few years older. An astute reader will notice that the aft CG limit above 2950 pounds is a bit tighter than at lower weights, but only presents challenges for a few loading situations (lightweight pilot, empty copilot seat, and a lot of weight in the back) — it isn’t problematic for most reasonable loads.