Phoenix, Arizona, is currently facing one of its hottest summers in recorded history, and apparently some airplanes can't stand the heat. Dozens of flights were cancelled out of Sky Harbor International Airport on Tuesday because some of the planes were physically unable to fly in temperatures over 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately for Phoenix residents, and anyone else hoping to travel through the city's airport, that's exactly how hot it was on Monday — and the temperature is expected to climb up to 120 degrees, according to the Arizona Republic.
American Airlines alerted customers over the weekend that over 40 American Eagle flights scheduled to depart from or arrive in Phoenix between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. local time on Monday and Tuesday afternoon — during peak temperatures — would be cancelled, allowing customers the option to request a refund or change travel plans for no additional fee. The reason, of course, is because of science.
A Boeing spokesperson told CNBC that this all boils down to a plane's ability to take off in above-average temperatures. While planes won't melt in extreme conditions, they may not be able to get off the ground because hot air is less dense than than cool air. The hotter the temperature, the harder it is for a plane to get enough air beneath its wings to lift it.
American Airlines stated that this led to the cancellation of flights carried out by aircraft models like the Bombardier CRJ aircraft, which is used in shorter routes. Some of the airline's bigger jets, however, have maximum operating temperatures of 127 degrees and remained unaffected by this week's high temperatures.
The National Weather Service has issued an "excessive heat warning" for south-central and southwest Arizona, and this has had a negative impact on more than just flights. Residents, who are accustomed to triple-digit weather, are reportedly waking up at the crack of dawn to do yard work, and are taking their mind off the heat with some pretty unconventional methods.
My new hobby: "tempspotting," going around looking for signs malfunctioning in the Phoenix heat. Actual temp when photo taken: 114 degrees. pic.twitter.com/UaGYDLncdj— Russ Wiles (@azmoneynews) June 20, 2017
if ya'll are wondering how Phoenix residents are handling the heat rn: pic.twitter.com/84mVROoksq— Paola 🌙 (@pllopez42) June 19, 2017
The National Weather Service has described the heat wave as “rare, dangerous, and very possibly deadly." The agency is advising Phoenix residents to re-schedule outdoor activities, stay hydrated, and keep a close eye on elderly neighbors.
On average, Phoenix temperatures for this time of year are generally between 105 and 110 degrees. A National Weather Service meteorologist told The Washington Post that the city's temperature has only reached above 120 degrees three times in recorded history.