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Watch out for the woes of high density altitudeWatch out for the woes of high density altitude

Watch out for the woes of high density altitude

When the temperatures start pushing 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, that 2,500-foot runway you typically have no trouble flying out of suddenly might not be long enough for your takeoff roll.

Hot summer days equal high density altitude, which means aircraft performance will decrease with the less dense air, the takeoff roll will eat up more runway, and the rate of climb won't be so hot. The propeller can't get as big of a "bite" out of less dense air because the air molecules are spaced farther apart, and that results in lowered aircraft performance. Check out AOPA's density altitude subject report for tips on safe flying in high-density-altitude conditions. Remember to run weight-and-balance calculations and check your aircraft's performance charts before each flight.

June 27, 2006

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