It’s too hot to fly!
I got a call yesterday afternoon. The caller wanted to know if I was doing any more tours that day. A lot of people think that Flying M Air has a helicopter tour schedule. They don’t realize that we do tours on demand, by reservation.
Although I’d done a tour early that morning — for some smart passengers who understood that when I say “the earlier, the better,” 7 AM is a good time — I had nothing booked for the afternoon. I didn’t want anything booked for that afternoon. It was over 100° out (in the shade) and my helicopter doesn’t have air conditioning. Even with all the doors off and flying 500 feet above the ground, it would still be over 100° in the cabin in the sun. So I told the caller that we were done flying for the day. That it was just too darn hot. That we didn’t fly after 10 AM in the summer months and would be available after 8:30 AM on Monday.
She sounded a little disappointed and I’m not sure if she’ll call back. But I’m not so desperate for revenue hours that I have to put myself through hell just to make a few bucks. And, frankly, I don’t think my passengers would have enjoyed it much, either. Summer thermals tend to make things bumpy and uncomfortable.
An interesting side note here: Silver State Helicopters, which operates flight schools in the Phoenix area, won’t fly when the temperature exceeds 104°. They say it’s because the performance charts only go that high — the same reason that was used to close down Sky Harbor one day when the temperature reached 124° years ago (I believe jet performance charts go up to 50° C while Robinson’s go up to 40° C). I’m not terribly worried about that. Performance can be extrapolated and it isn’t as if I’m going to operate at max gross weight. But it also isn’t as if I want to operate when it’s that hot.
I really do need to get out of here for the summer.