MESA, Ariz. – An Arizona State University aviation instructor said heat makes a difference when flying and can lead to hazards in emergency situations.
Days were heating up with the mercury just one degree shy of 110 Tuesday, and people in the Valley may be considering flying off to cooler temperatures.
ASU aviation instructor Michael Hampshire said the issue came up in an emergency situation.
“You can fly at hotter temperatures. That’s not a problem,” Hampshire said.
Hotter weather means thinner air, so taking off takes longer than usual.
“If you lost an engine on takeoff you don’t climb with the safety margins that you want,” Hampshire said.
Since it would take your pilot longer to get the jet up in the air, the jet could run out of runway during takeoff if things don’t go as planned.
Hampshire said the cutoff varies depending on the aircraft.
“It can vary aircraft to aircraft, but anything probably over 110, 115, you can start getting into issues with different aircraft,” Hampshire said.
12 News reached out to several commercial airlines to see whether they have a cutoff for flying in extreme heat.
American Airlines grounded dozens of flights last June as temperatures barely missed 120 degrees.
Southwest Airlines sent the following statement:
"We fly the 737-700, 737-800, and 737 MAX aircraft, and they are designed to safely operate in extreme temperatures. During extreme heat, we can safely takeoff by evaluating and adjusting factors such as the weight onboard the aircraft and runway length needed to properly flight plan."
Hampshire said the problems pilots may face when flying at higher temperatures were similar to those they may run into when flying at higher elevations like in Flagstaff or Prescott.