Warm Temperature Operations


  • With the warm weather of spring and summer brings good weather, so too does it bring a flurry of pilots who've hibernated in their hangars most of the winter

Warm Temperature Operations:

  • Beware of changes to aircraft performance and increased traffic

Thermal Activity:

  • As the temperature increases, particularly over uneven terrain, thermals will develop
  • While thermals in the context of aviation are most often associated with gliders, they can still impact powered aviation
  • Turbulence can develop and, if significant enough, warrant a pilot report


  • With warm weather comes higher humidity
  • High humidity increases the density altitude
  • Increased density altitude decreases aircraft performance

Takeoff Distance:

  • Landing distance increases as temperature increases due to decreased engine performance/higher density altitude

Landing Distance:

  • Landing distance increases as temperature increases due to higher density altitude requiring increased power, higher TAS, and therefore more inertia to dissipate


  • Avionics can easily overheat when exposed to warm temperatures
  • When relying on avionics, even electronic kneeboards, consider (and know how to use) paper backups

Pilot Performance:

  • Warm weather brings sweaty conditions whereby pilots must replenish water lost to sweating that would otherwise lead to dehydration


  • During warm water operations, to avoid turbulent, unstable air and maximize aircraft performance, it is usually best to fly before it gets warmest (mornings) and when the air is cooling (evenings)
  • Always consult the aircraft's Pilot Operating Handbook for special procedures and limitations (such as length of time operating on the ground) regarding hot temperature operations
  • For more information, reference AIM, Paragraph 7-2-3, Altimeter Errors and AIM TBL 7-3-1, ICAO Cold Temperature Error
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