Flight Turns Back Because It Was Literally Too Hot to Land

The temperatures in Phoenix are breaking records, and I learned something new.  Apparently, once it gets above a certain temperature outside, you cannot guarantee the integrity of the plane upon landing.  So United flight 6186 was turned back due to the 120 degree weather outside.

phoenix airport

According to ABC13:

United flight 6186 — operated by Mesa Airlines — departed from Bush Intercontinental Airport at 2:30pm and was minutes away from landing at Sky Harbor Airport when the flight crew notified passengers it would be turning back around because of the weather.

Phoenix broke a hot-weather record set nearly 50 years ago on this date, hitting 117 degrees amid a heat wave boiling parts of the Southwest. It is illegal for planes to land or take off once the temperature hits 120 degrees because of the effects the heat have on airplane equipment.

The plane flew back to Houston, and United scheduled an extra flight for the next day to cover everyone on that flight.

I’m not completely sure why it flew all the way back to Houston rather than diverting somewhere else.  My guess is since they knew they weren’t going to be able to land (and it wasn’t a temporary situation), so there was a better chance of people having housing there?

I’m not sure, but 120 degree temperature is crazy.


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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One comment

  1. So, only one flight was affected at PHX? I saw this one earlier on the news but kept guessing we would see more as the local news providers picked them up. My guess is they had the choice of circle with potential for diversion or return when they decided over El Paso to turn around. The regional carrier seemingly preferring to turn around instead of going ELP, ABQ, TUS or another nearby alternate closer and with the chance to maybe land.

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