Weekend's record heat shouldn't matter to Sky Harbor travelers

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by Steve Bodinet

azfamily.com

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 26 at 6:20 PM

PHOENIX -- On June 26, 1990 America West and other airlines grounded their planes after temperatures soared to 122 degrees. 

The reason? The charts that govern safe take offs for the Boeing 737s America West was then flying only went up to 120 degrees. 

When the record 122 was hit, the airline decided not to fly for an hour, causing long lines of passengers waiting to get out of town.

Bobbie Reid, now a supervisor at Sky Harbor, was working for America West back in 1990.  She says it was so hot that her shoes stuck to the tarmac's asphalt.  

Reid says even though the Boeing 737 was being used throughout the Middle East, where temperatures often surpass 122, this was the first time Sky Harbor was faced with the problem. 

Lt. Col. Scott Griesman of the Arizona Air National Guard says the extreme heat makes taking off and landing a little tricky.  He says the plane needs more speed and more runway to get off the ground and pilots and crew need to stay hydrated when the temperature hits 110 and above. 

But Lt. Col. Griesman says that June day in 1990 was the only time he's ever heard of planes not taking off due to the heat here at Sky Harbor.

The new Air Bus and other state of the art passenger jets U.S. Airways and other airlines now fly out of Phoenix are tested up to 127 degrees so the problem faced in 1990 should no longer keep those trying to escape the Valley's heat grounded.

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