Extreme heat delaying flights, but don’t blame just the SWFL sun

27 July 2023

Extreme heat delaying flights, but don’t blame just the SWFL sun

FORT MYERS, Fla. — As hotter temperatures continue along the Southwest Gulf Coast and other parts of the country, weather conditions like extreme heat can delay or even cancel certain flights.

Data from flight tracker Flight Aware on Wednesday showed a total of 25 delays at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), but did not specify the cause.

Captain Dennis Tajer, a pilot for American Airlines for more than three decades, said heat can definitely play a role in delaying flights.

“Once the temperature gets into the triple digits, the upper 90s, that’s when we start to look at aircraft performance,” said captain Tajer.

On Wednesday Southwest Florida temperatures were in the low 90s but feeling like over 100 degrees outside.

Captain Tajer told Fox 4 areas outside of Florida create even tougher circumstances when it comes to flying a plane.

“We may be limited coming out of say Phoenix or Las Vegas ..pick a hot destinations out there the air is less dense so the engines don’t perform as well, and the same with the wings actually,” said captain Tajer.

Captain Tajer said those states where the air is less dense are connected to the areas with higher elevation.

That’s good news for Florida fliers, since the average elevation for the Sunshine State is only 100 feet above sea level.

“Just because the elevation isn’t high in Florida, you have got a lot of other catalysts,” said captain Tajer.

One of those catalysts, Tajer said — thunderstorms.

“Especially in Florida, those storms, you should see from the flight decks, sometimes you can see it from the ground they are actually rising at a rate that s like 6,000 feet per minute… that is faster than an airplane can climb,” said captain Tajer.

Captain Tajer said for passengers this summer, there are some challenges ahead if the heat continues.

Captain Tajer told Fox 4 when faced with delays, he shared with us the same message he recently gave to his passengers.

“I said ‘Folks, this is your captain. I’m right up here, we are going to be a few extra minutes because we have got a lot things to take care of because of the conditions out there. We are gonna get outta here as quickly as possible, but we won’t do it until its safe,” said Tajer.


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