Hard landing ahead as temperatures reach 40°C | Chennai News

Flights into the city have become a bit turbulent with the mercury level touching 40°C in Meenambakkam, which covers the Chennai airport.

The high surface temperature combined with the presence of nearby hills causes a sudden change in the direction of the wind close to the ground, and crosswinds make it difficult for pilots to keep planes steady as they glide toward land. Climbing for a takeoff is challenging because the air is thinner. The lift of the aircraft, caused by the aerodynamic body, is reduced.

However, pilots are trained for these changes and pay attention to turbulence, wind shear and birds when landing on the main runway. “The turbulence can be experienced up to an altitude of 3,000 meters. Planes start to wobble as they descend towards the airport. Often the approach starts quite far from the city, so that the glide is smooth and the aircraft can make a go-around if the crosswind is too strong,” said a pilot.

Safety is given priority over service on board. “The seat belt sign may remain illuminated throughout the journey or shortly after the aircraft begins to descend from cruising altitude. This is to prevent passengers from wandering around as turbulence can strike at any time,” he added.

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While planes are inspected for possible problems due to overheating, pilots take a few precautions. “In Chennai, we prefer the main runway because we get the maximum landing length. It doesn’t mean we insist on using it because the second runway is also safe for landing. But if the main runway is available, that is preferable,” said another pilot.

Airlines are trying to reduce cargo loads to carry more fuel, especially if they go to an airport with a short runway like Trichy. This is to ensure that there is sufficient fuel for a go-around or diversion to another airport.

Air safety expert and former pilot Mohan Rangana then said the main runway should be available most of the time. “Air traffic control is also not allowed to tell pilots to leave the runway shortly after landing, because they then have to brake. This will cause the brakes to heat up.”