More than 49 flights are cancelled in Phoenix, Arizona. The reason – too hot for planes to fly.
Dozens of flights have been cancelled at Sky Harbor airport because of the high air temperature. The weather forecast for the US city suggests that the temperature on Tuesday could reach 49C. That is higher that the operating temperature of some planes. But Boeing and Airbus whose operating systems are supposed to sustain higher temperatures (about 52C) are still flying to Boston, Chicago, Denver and other scheduled destinations.
The cancelled planes were expected to fly to short destinations as Flagstaff, Yuma, and Tucson. The flights that will be cancelled were scheduled from 15:00 to 18:00. American Airlines gives their customers the possibility to rebook these flights for free or receive a full refund for cancelled flights.
The reason why planes can’t fly at such high temperatures is in the basic principles of aeronautics. Air gets thinner while it reaches higher temperatures because of the lower density. The lower density doesn’t give enough tension for the aircraft wings and it becomes dangerous for planes to fly.
The problem is not a new phenomena – a 2016 report from the International Civil Aviation Organization had already warned about high temperatures caused by climate change that can have some consequences for flights.