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12.100 Performance Factors
12.100.2 Describe the general effects of altitude on aircraft performance.
As altitude increases, the air density decreases, which affects the performance of an aircraft in several ways: 1. Reduced lift: The reduced air density at higher altitudes reduces the amount of lift that can be generated by the wings, which can affect the aircraft's takeoff and landing performance. 2. Reduced engine power: The reduced air density also reduces the amount of oxygen available for combustion in the engines, which can reduce engine power and performance. 3. Reduced speed: The reduced air density also reduces the amount of drag on the aircraft, which can allow it to fly faster. However, as the air becomes thinner, the aircraft's speed may be limited by the ability of the engines to maintain the necessary power. 4. Reduced maneuverability: The reduced air density also reduces the effectiveness of the aircraft's control surfaces, which can reduce its ability to maneuver. 5. Reduced range: The reduced engine power and increased fuel consumption at higher altitudes can reduce the aircraft's range. Pilots must take these effects into account when flying at high altitudes and adjust their flight plans accordingly. They must also be aware of the aircraft's limitations at high altitudes and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for safe operation.