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Extreme heat from climate change endangers flight safety

Reporter Vivian Hsiao
Release time:2023/08/17 13:29
Last update time:2023/08/17 13:29
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Extreme heat due to climate change is set to make traveling abroad even more challenging for passengers and pilots.

While multiple factors, such as wind direction, wind speed, barometric pressure, and runway conditions, often contribute to whether a flight can take off, experts reveal that soaring temperatures are now an additional hurdle to overcome. 

 

"Rising temperatures lead to less density," Chaoyang University of Technology's Department of Aviation Technology Associate Professor Alex Lu explained. "Because of this, the amount of air the engine is expected to suck in will become less," he continued, adding that as a result, combustion efficiency will be reduced which affects its the thrust output.

Professor Lu explained that due to the limited generation of lift under extreme heat, planes would require a higher take-off speed, which poses problems as runway lengths are restricted. 

As a result, many flights now impose limits on the number of passengers and allocate luggage per plane, along with shedding fuel to reduce the load. Furthermore, some flights have been rescheduled to later at night to avoid taking off during the scorching heat.
 

Taoyuan Union of Pilots (TUP) President Lee Hsin-yen pointed out that as airlines will ultimately need to consider the impacts to revenue, "postponement of the original schedule is common."

"The flights may be delayed by about 4 hours," she said.

Experts predict that in the next 20 to 40 years, Taipei will experience at least one day with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius every five years. Despite longer international flights departing from Taiwan often being scheduled for nighttime departures, the increasing extreme heat will lead to more delays as the global temperature continues to rise. 
 

The Taiwan Briefing

#climate change#air travel#extreme heat#flight delays#aviation challenges#rising temperatures#engine efficiency#passenger loads#flight operations#temperature impact

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