Climbing Into Thin Air
How does an airport suddenly go from being 2,000 feet to more than a mile high? Barring a “Hollywood-style” seismic event at your airport, the answer is density altitude; in other words, how high an aircraft “thinks” it is. When density altitude is high as a result of temperatures above standard at a given altitude, the air is less dense than normal. As a result, your aircraft will perform as if at a higher altitude with degraded climb performance and acceleration, which are two important factors on a hot, humid day with a short runway and 50-foot pine trees looming at the end. Check out “Climbing Into Thin Air” in the July/August issue of FAA Safety Briefing for more information on this important topic.
Produced by the editors, FAA Safety Briefing, http://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/