Density Altitude in the Summer Heatwave

With many of us taking trips across the country, taking note of weather extremes is part of the planning.

AOPA Air Safety Institute issued an ASI Safety Alert for the Mountain West region of the United States. Temperatures have been reaching 15 to 20 degrees above normal!

ASI notes that “density altitudes and thermal turbulence will be significant factors for pilots flying in this region. Some backcountry airfields should be considered inaccessible for most aircraft types. Pilots at all airfields in the region will notice a substantial degradation in aircraft performance.”

ASI recommends:

  • Do not fly in the region before first confirming high density altitude performance for your aircraft.
  • Fly only in the early mornings, preferably before 10:00 am.  Carefully monitor outside air temperature.
  • Be aware of the combined effects of thermal and wind turbulence exacerbated by the mountains that can make flying uncomfortable and aircraft control more demanding.

To learn more about density and pressure altitude with downloadable cheat sheets, click here , and watch AOPA Air Safety Institute’s The Triple H Effect video.