If you’re like us, you’re not too interested in going off the end of the runway. Here are 5 simple steps to understand density altitude, and to make sure you have plenty of runway for your next takeoff.
1) What the heck is density altitude?
Density altitude is a measure of how ‘thick’ the air is, and it’s based on a few factors: atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity.
The technical definition of density altitude is “pressure altitude, adjusted for non-standard temperature.” What that really means is on hot days, the air is much ‘thinner’, or less dense, than it is on cold days.
Why does that matter? It’s a big factor in your airplane’s performance, because when the air surrounding your plane is less dense, it means your wings, propeller, and engine will have a lot less performance, and it will take you more time to get airborne during takeoff.