Flight school simulator shows effect of heat on planes

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(Source: ASU) (Source: ASU)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

How does this extreme heat affect planes?

On the ASU Polytechnic Campus in Mesa, there’s a building that houses high-tech aviation simulator equipment.

We asked aviation instructor Mike Hampshire to demonstrate how a plane performs in cool temperatures versus extremely hot temperatures.

He said as a pilot he can tell when there is a reduction in engine performance due to extreme heat.

Marc O’Brien, aviation program chair explained the technical aspect of the performance difference.

“When you increase the temperature the air density decreases and that translates to reduced engine performance, longer take off rolls before you can get airborne and then reduced climb performance as well,” said O’Brien.

Hampshire used the simulator to perform two takeoffs. All the speed and altitude settings were the same, the only difference was the first take-off was set at 32 degrees, the second at 120 degrees.

“For me from flying the airplane, I could tell that it was taking much longer to get to altitude than it did on the first attempt,” said Hampshire.

The ASU experts said pilots and dispatchers calculate before every flight whether the aircraft meets the appropriate parameters for flight.

“Some makes and model of aircraft might top out at a particular temperature,” said O’Brien.

Extremely hot temperatures come into play during initial takeoff and climb. But a plane’s decreased performance can also be critical if a plane loses an engine on takeoff or if a pilot is forced to abort a landing.

“It would take some time to get the aircraft back into a climb rate to perform,” said O’Brien.

Landing distances could also increase with higher temperatures.

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