October 2000 Issue

Denalt on the Fly

At the touch of a button, the PDC-100 calculates takeoff data and climb rate. Itís a nice-to-have gadget but hardly indispensable.

[IMGCAP(1)] Worrying about how density altitude saps aircraft performance is a little like your mother reminding you to take your galoshes to school. Most of the time, it didnít matter but when you needed the boots, you really needed them.

Our guess is that most flat lander pilots donít have to worry much about density altitude computations, either. Even in the heat and humidity of high summer, most of us operate off long enough runways or at light enough weights for denalt not to be a serious issue.

At higher weights or at mountain airports, the sanguine attitude wonít wash. Every year, there are a handful of wrecks in which pilots ignore the effect of density altitude and assume the...

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