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Reasons why summer flights are so bumpy - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Reasons why summer flights are so bumpy

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KTBS summer flying KTBS summer flying
SHREVEPORT, La. -

As summer winds down and the school year approaches, many are taking their final vacations. They're squeezing in one last fling before the school bell rings. For those flying in the summertime, you might notice that it takes longer to get off of the ground. You may also notice that the airplane ride just isn't as smooth as it would be in the fall or winter.

Imagine it, you're on the runway and the airplane starts to roll. It seems like it's rolling forever and you wonder, "are we going to taxi to our destination today or will we be taking off at some point."

It's like trying to spin something through molasses versus water. Of course it's easier to do it through water because the water is less dense. On a typical day, a take off roll will seem like it's taking longer than it should because the air is thinner, or less dense, this time of year. The props and engines of an aircraft try to cut through the air and lift off the ground which is why you may notice that it takes a little longer on the runway this time of year.

Flying can be a mental test for both passengers and pilots. Local flight instructor Daniel Lafon of Tubreaux Aviation has been flying for about seven years and has been a flight instructor for the past three years. He knows all about how summer heat affects the aviation community and those of us who buzz around the country from time to time.

"During the summertime, the sun is heating the ground up a lot more than what we're used to. We can feel that. As the earth gets heated, it heats the air around it and it causes that air to rise. It's just like boiling a pot" says Lafon. "The water in the pot starts to boil and flow up. The same thing is happening in the air. It starts to boil and the air is rising and the rising air is what we call turbulence."

Most frequent flyers are familiar with turbulence which is usually a factor in mountainous areas however we can feel it here too especially during the summertime.

"That heat causes turbulence. No matter how good a pilot you have, they're going to get through some summertime bumps until hopefully you get up high enough where you can get away from that turbulence" says Lafon.

The rising air causes those bumps you feel but think of it as like riding in a boat on a windy day. Imagine each of those waves or swells being the rising heat or turbulence. Each one you hit with the boat will give you a jolt; it's the same as what happens in the air.

Lafon says "that air is hotter so it's less dense and the performance of the airplane is dependent on the density of the air. Whether it's the amount of lift being produced by the winds or the amount of horse power or thrust being produced by the engine itself.

Evening or early morning flights aren't as bumpy because the air has had a chance to cool down a little bit so those flights are more enjoyable.

If you would like to know more about flying or even check out how to become a pilot yourself, just contact Tubreaux Aviation at Shreveport Regional Airport or log on to tubreauxaviation.com.

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