I was reading a reddit post titled ‘When did your “Something is very wrong here” feeling turn out to be true?’ and the top answer was written by an airplane pilot. The pilot was ready to take off but he noticed something wrong with the plane – the nose of the plane higher up than usual while the plane was on the ground. The first officer agreed with him so they checked the weight and balance and everything seemed to be all right on paper.
Then the pilot decided to taxi out towards the runway and see if the wheel struts would go back to their normal positions – they did not. The pilot took the plane back to the gate. More airport workers were called in to check what was wrong. The pilot asked the airport workers to check whether the ballast was on board, even though the paperwork said it was on board. Well, it turns out someone did indeed forget to put the ballast on the plane.
Ballast, according to Wikipedia, is “removable or permanently installed weight in an aircraft used to bring the center of gravity into the allowable range.” As you can see, ballast is pretty damn important. If a plane’s center of gravity is off by even the slightest margin, it will become difficult to control and likely to crash. Luckily this disastrous scenario was avoided because the pilot listened to his gut.