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Altitude and Flight

in Weather Theory

FlightAltitude affects every aspect of flight from aircraft performance to human performance. At higher altitudes, with a decreased atmospheric pressure, takeoff and landing distances are increased, as are climb rates.


When an aircraft takes off, lift must be developed by the flow of air around the wings. If the air is thin, more speed is required to obtain enough lift for takeoff; therefore, the ground run is longer. An aircraft that requires 745 feet of ground run at sea level requires more than double that at a pressure altitude of 8,000 feet. [Figure 11-9]. It is also true that at higher altitudes, due to the decreased density of the air, aircraft engines and propellers are less efficient. This leads to reduced rates of climb and a greater ground run for obstacle clearance.

Figure 11-9. Takeoff distances increase with increased altitude.

Figure 11-9. Takeoff distances increase with increased altitude.

 

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